10 Best Ways to Lose Weight After a C-Section

10 Best Ways to Lose Weight After a C-Section

Figuring out how to regain your pre-pregnancy body is a common anxiety with new mothers. You've been through a lot. You gained weight, and then you lost it. You lived through soreness, heartburn, and exhaustion.

Your body goes through significant changes during pregnancy and again after childbirth. Weight gain is an obvious hurdle to bounce back from. And it's no surprise that cesarean deliveries tend to be more demanding than natural births.

The former involves an incision to the abdominal wall and uterus, which is no walk in the park. Because of this, you can expect healing and getting back to your pre-pregnancy weight to take some time, but don't fret. Pregnancy weight loss after a c-section is within reach with the right mindset and these actionable tips.

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Babies take a lot out of us—physically, emotionally and mentally—and although they bring us a huge amount of joy and fulfillment as we adjust to life with them in our arms, the process can be draining at times. It's important that we learn how to take care of ourselves after giving birth so that we have more energy for our babies.

While some of these pieces of advice can be implemented before the baby arrives, others will require some time.

Let's get into these 10 tips.

10 Best Ways to Lose Weight After a C-Section

How to lose belly fat after c-section - How long does it take to lose baby weight?
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#1 Eat Healthy

It should come to no surprise that an effective weight loss plan will start with a healthy diet. You must eat wholesome foods that fuel your body, so you can begin losing weight after pregnancy.

Now is not the time to restrict your calories — your body needs the energy to recover from c-section surgery and nourish your baby. The basic idea here is to eat a wide variety of healthy foods that fill you up without over-consuming calories (which will depend on many factors).

Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, protein, and fats, and avoid overly processed foods. Processed foods tend to lean high in unhealthy fats and sugars, and are difficult for the body to digest.

Reach for whole grains, dark leafy greens, eggs, lean meats, low-mercury seafood, and high-fat dairy products with no added sugar to help you with milk production and fuel you with energy for exercise.

Here's a shopping tip to making sure you go home with less processed junk — shop outside the grocery isles.

The walls of the grocery store tend to stock fresh produce, meats, and dairy, while the isles have foods that require preservatives and extra processing to increase the shelf-life.

Need some meal advice to help you plan your day? We've got you covered.

Breakfast:

  • Avoid filling up on pastries (croissants, muffins, danishes) or cereals for breakfast. They tend to be high in sugar and carbs, which can spike your insulin levels, leading to an eventual energy crash and can perpetuate sugar cravings.
  • Try to include unprocessed foods from the five food groups. If you're opting for yogurt (a favorite breakfast food), look for brands that don't add any extra sugar.
  • If you need a bit of sweetness, use fresh or frozen fruit or sweeten with a bit of honey.

Lunch:

  • Your lunch, like every meal, should be nutritionally balanced.
  • Protein and fats are naturally satiating, meaning it will keep you feeling full for longer to avoid mindless snacking between meals.

Dinner:

  • Healthy doesn't mean it needs to take a lot of time.
  • Prepare your own nutritionally balanced freezer meals that are preservative-free — soups, casseroles, quiches, and side vegetables are all freezer-friendly and quick to serve.
  • Salmon is one of the best sources of proteins for breastfeeding moms because it's chock-full of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a form of omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3 DHA is especially vital for breastfeeding mothers because it's critical for the growth and functional development of the brain and nervous system in infants.

While eating right and exercising are two of the most important parts of losing baby weight, they're also two of the hardest. After all, you've probably gained some pounds during your pregnancy and now you have a newborn to care for—and while that adorable little bundle is a great reason to get up early, it's also an excuse to stay up late.

Going from the time when you were pregnant and free to eat what you wanted to the time when you have a baby is difficult, because everything has changed. It's not just about what food is available anymore; it's about how much time you have and who might be hungry at any given moment. But there are some things that have remained constant: eating right is essential to losing weight, but it's also one of the hardest parts of the process.

And it doesn't help that there are so many conflicting articles about nutrition for new mothers—some say that breastfeeding means you don't need as many calories; others say you can never eat too much protein or fiber again. While this isn't one of those articles, we can all agree that it's hard to figure out what's best when there are so many opinions on the subject.

Coincidentally, eating a healthy diet will help with the next "weight loss after baby" tip.

How long does it take to lose baby weight - Weight loss after c-section vs natural birth
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#2 Breastfeed the Baby

Did you know breastfeeding helps with weight loss after pregnancy?

This is because your body burns around 500 extra calories to produce milk with life-sustaining nutrients — vitamins, fats, proteins — for the baby.

How long does it take to lose weight after a c-section?

Regardless of whether you've had a natural birth or delivered via c-section, you can expect to lose weight in as little as a couple of months after delivery if you breastfeed. Most healthy newborn babies are ready to breastfeed as early as an hour after birth.

Studies have shown that breastfeeding mothers shed more weight quicker than mothers who don't, especially during the first three postpartum months.

Breastfeeding also triggers the release of the hormone, oxytocin, which causes the uterus to contract. This contraction helps the uterus shrink back to its pre-baby size, effectively making your belly look and feel smaller.

Of course, there are many other benefits of breastfeeding your baby, including strengthening your baby's immune system, aiding in growth and development, and it's easier for your child to digest over formula.

To go back to our first tip, make sure you're eating a balanced healthy diet so you can produce the best milk for your baby.

Breastfeeding is an amazing way to nourish a child, but it takes some work. Some mothers find it easy and can do it without any discomfort whatsoever, but for others, it can be emotionally and physically draining. One of the biggest factors in how breastfeeding goes for a mother is the diet she follows -- what she eats directly affects the quality of the breast milk she produces. So, in order to give your baby the best start possible, limit your caffeine intake, avoid high-mercury seafood, and avoid smoking and drinking alcohol while breastfeeding.

How to lose weight after c-section delivery - losing weight after c-section
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#3 Start Exercising

Before we talk about exercising to lose weight after pregnancy, it's advisable to wear postpartum underwear — or, better yet, a supportive post-pregnancy girdle for your workouts.

A high-quality post-pregnancy girdle squeezes everything around your belly in tight to support your abdominal and back muscles during your exercises.

Now, let's get to the part about why this is the best tip for losing pregnancy weight after a c-section.

There's simply nothing better than physical movement and training as far as weight loss is concerned — but be mindful of how your body feels. C-section deliveries require more time to heal. Typically, exercise should be avoided in the first six to eight weeks after giving birth — but it doesn't mean you shouldn't get moving.

You can start by going for short walks. You'll start by walking short distances at first, and gradually build up to the point where you're walking at least 30 minutes three times a week. This might mean going for 5 minute walks 4 times each day or walking for 20 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. You'll have to go at your own pace—there's no shame in taking your time getting there! Walking after abdominal surgery prevents blood clots and speeds healing. Before you start your walks, check with your doctor to make sure they're okay with it.

After speaking with your doctor, and you no longer have any pain from your c-section incisions, it's safe to start with low-impact exercises such as yoga, low-resistance bands, the elliptical, pilates, swimming, or light jogging.

What's the best exercise to lose weight after a c-section?

As you gradually rebuild your strength in your body over time, you may increase the intensity of your workouts. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are excellent for burning calories to lose extra belly fat after a c-section delivery, and HIIT workouts don't take much time out of your day (20 - 45 minutes). After all, you need to make the most out of your time with a new baby in the house.

Exercising with Diastasis Recti

Diastasis recti, a condition in which the abdominal wall separates and allows the abdominal muscles to move away from each other, is a common pregnancy-related issue that affects many women. Diastasis recti is most commonly seen as a bulge or pouch in your lower abdomen and can sometimes lead to lower back and pelvic pain. Since it occurs due to the stretching of the connective tissue between the left and right side of your rectus abdominis (the abdominal muscle) during pregnancy, it can also be caused by heavy lifting or obesity in non-pregnant adults.

Diastasis recti occurs when the abdominal muscles (the 6-pack muscles) separate from the center, weakening your core. The condition also increases your risk of back pain and incontinence, and can make it difficult to lose weight after pregnancy because you're not supporting your midsection properly.

Although in many cases a diastasis will correct itself after birth as you regain strength in your core, it could also require surgery to repair. Even if it does self-correct, women sometimes develop bulging or protruding abdomens that need to be repaired surgically through either a tummy tuck or an umbilical hernia repair. If you've experienced severe pain during pregnancy or notice large gaps in your abdominal muscles postpartum, talk to your doctor about whether you should schedule an appointment with a specialist for an evaluation.

Getting rid of this extra pouch on your stomach after a c-section can be challenging, since you may be dealing with stitches. Before you get back to exercising, get the green light from your doctor, and start with gentle core exercises.

Wearing a c-section corset immediately after surgery and during exercises can help mitigate pain from diastasis recti and help support the surrounding muscles in the core while you regain strength.

#4 Limit Unhealthy Eating

This may be an obvious tip — but sometimes unhealthy foods are hidden in plain sight and can be disguised as healthy options.

The goal is not to stop indulging in delectable desserts. Because that's unachievable and unrealistic. Instead, try to reduce consumption. Candy, ice-cream, cookies, and cake are obvious junk foods that are abundant in calories, sugar, and saturated fat.

Fruit juices, flavored yogurt, granola, diet foods are marketed as healthy, but they can contain a lot of hidden calories, extra sugar, carbs while offering minimal nutritional value.

Fruit juice, for example, is an excellent source of vitamin C — however, it's packed with sugar and lacks the fiber from the fruit. The fiber balances the fructose (sugar) by helping slow the absorption. Without it, you may as well eat spoonfuls of sugar.

When it comes to losing weight, being selective of where your calories come from is a must. You need to maintain a certain number of calories to fuel for your body for both breastfeeding and exercise — overconsumption will lead to weight gain.

Unfortunately, processed food and sugar perpetuate a vicious cycle.

The more you indulge in unhealthy food, the more often you crave it. To avoid sugar and carb cravings, reach for food high in healthy fats and protein. Fat and protein are naturally satiating, meaning it will keep your body feeling full for longer. When you feel full, you avoid snacking where you're more prone to give in to these unhealthy choices.

Weight loss after c-section - How to lose belly fat after c-section
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#5 Remain Hydrated

Regardless of whether you've just given birth or are only looking to lose weight, hydration is key to losing belly fat.

Dehydration is often behind the scenes when we feel food cravings emerge. The body often confuses thirst for hunger, making you reach for food over water. This can lead to consuming more calories than you need in a day, delaying your fat loss goals.

Hydration becomes so much more critical when you're breastfeeding to nourish the baby. One way to know that you're sufficiently hydrated is to have a peek at your urine when you use the washroom. If your pee is dark, you definitely aren't drinking enough water.

Use a water bottle with measurements, so you can track your progress throughout the day.

But not everybody likes to drink so much water. In that case, don't hesitate to jazz up your beverage with natural flavors.

You can add lemon, lime, or fresh mint to the glass of water — You won't believe how delicious cucumber water tastes! Other options include brewing tea or eating fruits and vegetables high in water like lettuce, celery, cucumber, and watermelon.

If you find you're not seeing the results you want with your c-section weight loss goals, try drinking more water and increasing your electrolytes to stay hydrated.

Electrolytes are essential salts and minerals that the body needs to maintain the balance of fluids in our system. If you don't replenish your electrolytes via a balanced diet or oral supplements, you can feel dehydrated or experience several other symptoms of electrolyte imbalance.

Coconut water, fruits like bananas and avocados, and dairy products contain high amounts of potassium that helps the body retain water and is involved with many other vital bodily functions.

How long does it take to lose baby weight - Is rapid weight loss after c-section possible?

# 6 Don't Skip Meals

Sometimes, we believe that in order to lose weight we must reduce the amount of meals we eat. This is absolutely false. It is extremely important to eat several meals during the day to keep your metabolism active, which will help you lose weight after delivery. With these small tips you can safely achieve your goals:

Don't skip any meals. With a new baby, many new mothers forget to eat. This is very dangerous because if you don't eat your energy will be affected and that instead of helping you lose weight can cause the opposite.

Eat 3 to 5 small meals a day. Instead of eating 2 or 3 large heavy meals during the day, divide your meals into small meals.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; always eat it. Surprisingly, it is one of the most common meals that new mothers tend to skip.

Snacks are great for keeping you energized before you get to your next meal. We recommend choosing snacks that have fiber and protein. This will help keep you satiated and energized until your next meal. It is best to have 2 of your 5 meals as snacks.

Weight loss after c-section - How to lose weight after c-section delivery

#7 Perform specific exercises

After a cesarean section you will probably have to take some time to recover and will not be able to exercise for a while. However, as you recover, you can perform low-impact exercises that will help you burn calories without overexerting yourself like when you go to the gym.

When performing these exercises, it is important to remember to start slow and listen to your body. It is also important to stay hydrated by drinking water or other non-caffeinated beverages when doing any type of physical activity.

As your body continues to heal, you can then work up to more strenuous exercises like running or taking an aerobics class at the gym. By waiting until your body has recovered at least partially before getting back into intense exercise, you reduce the risk of injuring yourself again and also prevent yourself from putting unnecessary strain on an area of your body that is still healing.

Walking

A benefit of this exercise is that you can join other moms so that you can motivate each other to do it and support each other in your weight loss after a cesarean section.

Walking is one of the best exercises because it is easy on your muscles and joints which makes it great after surgery. Walking is also a good form of exercise because it gets your heart rate up so you can still get the benefits of exercising even if you are just beginning to get back into exercise after delivery.

If possible, try walking around the block with your baby in their stroller. You can also walk around indoors with either an exercise machine such as an elliptical or treadmill.

Stretching

Stretching is one of the most beneficial exercises for health. It will help you with all the muscles in your body. Not only that, but stretching can help you lose weight and have a fit body. One of the reasons why stretching has gained popularity among people is because it can be done at any time of the day and in any place you want. When you stretch, you are making your muscles to become elastic again so it will make your body feel lighter, stronger and more flexible. Also, it will give your muscles extra energy that can burn more fat when you are doing other activities like working out or jogging.

Of course, if you are not used to stretching regularly then it is going to be hard for you to commit to doing it daily. However, there are many benefits that could push you to do this every day once you learn about them. Some people say that stretching is just for relaxing or for warming up before exercising but that is not true at all. Stretching is actually an exercise itself and it can help improve your overall health in many ways. For example, if you have overworked your muscles and they are sore, stretching will help reduce the pain while improving your muscle strength at the same time.

Losing weight after c-section - How long does it take to lose baby weight after c-section?

#8 Avoid Processed Foods

Some processed food contains various chemicals and substances that are not entirely healthy for our body. Many times, we are unknowingly consuming extra sugars or even fats. So, how do we make sure that we are eating the healthiest food possible?

One way is to look at the ingredients of the food that you consume on a regular basis. If you notice any words or additives that you don't immediately recognize, don't be afraid to look them up.

Processed foods are not inherently bad for you! It's just like anything else we consume – moderation is key. Eating too much sugar or fat can lead to weight gain and risk factors for heart disease. The same goes for processed foods – if you eat too much or too often, you may increase your caloric intake without realizing it. This can lead to weight gain over time which can increase your risk of heart disease as well as other health risks such as diabetes.

In addition, when breastfeeding your baby, you will be giving him/her better quality milk since our body absorbs everything we consume. The more natural our food is, the more quality nutrients we will have in our body.

How long does it take to lose baby weight - Weight loss after c-section vs natural birth

#9 Find Motivation

When we try to improve our habits, it is very common that soon after we start we give up. It is important to stay motivated during the process so that you are able to be consistent and adopt new eating and exercise habits. The first step is to think about why you want to make this change. You may want to lose weight, look better or feel better about yourself. Or maybe you want to be healthier and have more energy. Whatever your reason, write down your goals and keep them somewhere that you will see them everyday.

When you reach a goal, celebrate! Reward yourself with something that makes you happy—a massage, a manicure, a night out with friends—it will help reinforce your new habits by making them more fun and enjoyable.

After having a baby, it is very easy for your attention and care to be focused on the new baby. However, you should keep in mind that your health and care are also important. Find a motivation like a dress you want to wear or that trip to the beach you want to take later.

#10 Be patient

One of the reasons why it is difficult to lose weight after a cesarean section is not seeing the results in a short time.

As new mothers are recovering from surgery, it is important to remember that losing weight after a C-section takes as much time and effort as it does to gain weight. It is also very important to remember that the body changes during pregnancy and requires some time to get back into shape. After pregnancy, it can be difficult to lose weight because of the excess skin that has grown during pregnancy and the extra fat around your abdomen.

While it's great that you're taking control of your eating habits and exercising, please don't put too much pressure on yourself by setting a deadline for weight loss. The key to losing weight is to make healthy changes day-by-day, following a nutritious diet and working out regularly. Take your time and go at your own pace. Enjoy each meal and your exercise routine, and you'll see that before you know it, you'll be on your way to a healthy weight loss.

Takeaways: How To Lose Weight After C-Section Delivery

Many women struggle to lose weight post-pregnancy, especially if you've had a c-section delivery, which often has a longer recovery period. The best pieces of advice are about building healthier habits to sustain your weight goals, and it involves understanding what your body needs to heal and nurture your new baby.

Tips such as eating healthy, limiting junk foods, and staying hydrated are actionable before giving birth and can help you with fat loss success after delivery. However, you'll see the most results once you start exercising again. The key to all of these steps is consistency.

C-sections are major abdominal surgeries and should not be taken lightly. It's important to know that a woman who has just given birth should wait at least six weeks before starting any sort of diet or exercise plan. You may have heard that you can start exercising right away postpartum, but doing so could cause further harm to your body and slow down your recovery time from surgery. The best thing for a new mom to do is rest, eat well and take care of her new baby—this will help her lose weight naturally over time.

What's the Difference Between a Postpartum Girdle and a Normal Girdle?

A postpartum girdle can be worn after you deliver your baby. It supports painful areas such as your abdomen, pelvis and back. The purpose of a postpartum girdle is to help you heal after pregnancy. Some women even wear them for a few months before they give birth, in order to help the abdominal muscles prepare for the stress of childbirth and recovery after birth.

After pregnancy, your abdominal muscles have been stretched out from nine months of pregnancy and childbirth. In most cases, it takes nine months to a year to recover from your delivery, depending on how you take care of yourself.

Always talk to your health care provider when starting to exercise. If you’ve had an uncomplicated pregnancy and vaginal delivery, you can usually begin light exercising a few days after giving birth. If you’ve had a c-section or complicated pregnancy follow your doctor’s order.

If you are breastfeeding, its recommended that you wait at least 2 months before you begin dieting. A healthy diet with daily exercise will help you lose weight after pregnancy.

Bellefit Girdles are designed to support your core after you give birth. Since they are compression girdles, with the help of a healthy diet, breastfeeding and exercise, the girdle will help you lose weight as it also helps with water retention and swelling.

Yes, you can wear your Bellefit during exercise, however, it truly depends on your personal preference and comfort.

Some women like to take it off to exercise and then put it back on after exercising/showering so there is no downtime as a result of having to hand wash and dry the garment.

Sometimes removing the garment to exercise for 30 minutes results in less downtime versus having to wait 2-3 hours for the typical drying time.

Remember not to machine wash or dry your Bellefit girdle.