Reducing belly fat after pregnancy is a challenge most women face. Between nursing the baby, sleepless nights, and planning for the future, new mothers must also take care of their bodies and mind. While there is nothing wrong with post-baby belly fat, if it is bothering you, we can help. After all, that squishy round tummy may cause you to feel that you may never be able to lose belly fat. But fret not – the right exercises, diet, and lifestyle changes can help you get back in shape quicker. Barbara Kovalenko, Nutrition Consultant, says, “With proper diet and exercise, the stomach can become flat after pregnancy. However, this process takes time and patience, as the body takes time to heal and recover from pregnancy and childbirth.” Check out the following 10 tips for dealing with postpartum weight loss. We also discuss why your belly still looks slightly bloated and how you can reduce that. Scroll down!
In This Article
Why Do I Still Look Pregnant?
Here are the reasons you might still look pregnant.
- Think of your belly like a balloon. As your baby grows, your belly slowly stretches. Now, when your baby comes out, the balloon doesn’t pop. Instead, there’s a slow release of the air inside the balloon. And if you have noticed, balloons tend to hold up a little air even when they are shrunken and most of the air is out.
- After your baby is born, the hormonal changes in the body cause the uterus to slowly shrink back to its pre-pregnancy shape. But it takes 7-8 weeks for the uterus to come back to the normal size.
- The extra food that you have consumed during your pregnancy to nourish your baby gets stored in the form of fat. And as you know, belly fat is stubborn – it will take time and proper care to shed that fat.
How Long Will It Take My Tummy To Shrink Back?
It rarely happens that a new mom’s tummy shrinks back to normal in just a few days. For most new mommies, it takes a few months to shrink back to normal. Unfortunately, some mothers do not lose the pregnancy pouch. Don’t be alarmed because if you stay active, have nutritious and healthy food, and follow a few good tips, you will be able to reduce the mommy belly quickly. So, let’s find out what you should do to reduce belly fat after pregnancy.
10 Best Tips To Shed Belly Fat After Pregnancy
1. Breastfeed Your Baby
Breastfeeding not only helps build your baby’s immunity but also helps you lose the baby fat and reduce the post-pregnancy belly. It does so by accelerating the shrinking of the uterus (1), (2). Talk to your doctor and start breastfeeding to get rid of that belly pooch.
One of the simplest forms of low-impact exercises, not just after childbirth, but in general, is walking. It does not seem like much at one go, but when you are recovering from the frequent body aches, headaches, and soreness, it is particularly beneficial. Moreover, the fun part is, your little one could be your companion. Spending the evenings taking a gentle walk in the park is a wonderful idea. Carrying your baby in a front pack is a good idea too. Once you gain control over your body, you can make the necessary changes. Track your recovery with regular visits to the doctor and proceed accordingly.
3. Get Good Nutrition
Many women make the trivial yet disastrous mistake of skipping their meals or replacing a proper meal with dietary supplements post childbirth. It is crucial that you maintain your diet to produce enough milk. It should be enriched with micronutrients that help maintain the metabolic cycle of the newborn’s body and ensure proper postnatal development. Trust the nutritionists and doctors when they say you need your energy. Have green leafy veggies, other colorful veggies, lean protein, fiber-rich foods, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, spices, and green tea, and increase your water intake to flush out the toxins.
If you want to lose that stubborn belly fat after childbirth, you have to sneak in at least 20-30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise and strength training. Do it when your baby is fast asleep. Workout when your baby is sleeping. Do crunches, push-ups, planks, tricep dips, high knees, spot jogging, jumping jacks, lunges, squats, jackknife, bicep curls, tricep extensions, Russian twists, leg raises, etc. To treat diastasis recti (a condition when six-pack ab muscles separate because of stretching during pregnancy), core abdominal workouts may help in reducing the separation, within the first six to 12 months following the delivery. But first, you must talk to your doctor to know if there are any kegels or abdominal exercises that you must avoid.
5. Practice Anulom-Vilom
The Vedas and the Puranas glorify the benefits of yoga and its contribution to the regulation of body functions. Yoga gets its target organs extremely right, and thus yields results. Anulom-vilom is a breathing exercise that involves drawing air from your diaphragm and holding it in your abs. The regular rhythmic contractions involve considerable tightening (during inhalation) and relaxation (during exhalation), which help in toning your upper and lower abdomen. Maintain a straight posture, and as you begin to feel stronger, increase the time for which you can hold the air. It also improves digestion by increasing peristalsis or gut movement. It improves mental stability and helps in stress management.
6. Get Rest
Not resting enough causes toxin build-up in the body, which causes inflammation. When the body is in a continuous state of inflammation, it causes the fat receptors to move to the central region. And the fat molecules get stored in the belly region (3), (4). With a newborn in the house, it can get a little tricky to get proper sleep, but take as much rest as you can. In fact, it is even more necessary for a C-section recovery.
7. Avoid Extreme Diets
Sometimes, new moms panic and slip into depression post-childbirth. And to get back in shape, they take extreme measures and go on diets, like portion control diets, that make them malnourished and ultimately affect the baby’s health. Starving yourself will never help; it will only make the situation worse. Talk to a dietitian to find out what, how much, and when you should eat to lose the flab quickly.
8. Relieve Stress By Practicing Meditation
A newborn baby is quite a handful, and for a few months, you will not be able to do things that you love (such as painting, reading a book, etc.) to help relieve your stress. So, it is best that you practice meditation – it will help you focus, minimize the background noise, release the negative energy from your system, and improve your sleep quality. And most importantly, you will not disturb your baby’s sleep.
9. Try Belly Wraps
Like body wraps for total body weight loss, belly wraps or maternity belts may help tuck your abs and accelerate the process of the uterus shrinking back to its original size. This is one of the most old-fashioned ways of reducing belly fat, though there is a lack of scientific evidence to suggest its efficacy. However, research suggests that belly wraps may help improve posture and reduce back pain (5). What you have to do is wrap your midsection with a piece of soft cloth. Make sure it is not too tight or too loose. However, you can also use the maternity belts available in the market. You could also go for waist trainers, shapewear, and compression garments to shrink the uterus back to its normal size. Talk to your doctor before wearing the belt, shapewear, or wrapping your tummy with a soft cloth.
Tara Gitau, a blogger, shares that she started using a medical-grade belly binder six weeks postpartum. She wrapped it around her belly for 3 months regularly, even sleeping with it on, and only removed it while showering. Regarding the outcome, Tara writes, “The belly binder didn’t help me lose weight but it did help bring my muscles back together and my belly looks like it did pre-pregnancy (i).”
10. Go For A Full Body Massage
A massage can be very effective when it comes to losing body weight without having to sweat it out at the gym (6). Get a massage that will target your belly and help reduce the tummy fat. It will release and distribute fat in the body and improve metabolism, thereby helping you get rid of the baby fat. Get a massage every week to see best results. However, while there is some evidence to suggest that massage therapy helps in weight reduction in individuals with obesity, further studies are needed to support the efficacy of targeted massage for fat loss. Acupuncture could also be used to regulate hormonal balance and increase metabolism postpartum to aid in weight loss.
We discussed some simple tips to reduce belly fat after pregnancy. Let’s delve deeper into the different types of belly fat in the next section.
Types Of Belly Fat
Belly fat is categorized into two main types based on its location and characteristics. They are as follows:
- Visceral Belly Fat
Visceral belly fat is stored around the internal organs and deep in the abdomen. It is considered harmful and often referred to as active fat because it influences how hormones function in the body. It contains many inflammatory and immune cells, and is insulin-resistant (7).
- Subcutaneous Belly Fat
This type of fat is found under your skin and is not strongly linked with the risk of any disease in particular (8). However, it may cause love handles due to fat retention.
Infographic: 5 Sure Shot Ways To Reduce Belly Fat After Pregnancy
Exercise, diet, and a healthy lifestyle can help you lose stubborn belly fat that you develop after pregnancy. Though there are several tips to get rid of it, here are the most effective ways to help you lose fat along with improving your health.
Check out the infographic below to learn the sure shot ways of reducing belly fat after pregnancy.
In a gist, belly fat takes time to reduce after you give birth. Remember, belly fat is naturally stubborn, and it takes time and effort to decrease. Moreover, the hormonal and physical changes in your body will take time to get back to their pre-pregnancy form. Follow the tips listed above to reduce belly fat after pregnancy effectively. Also, pair these tips with a healthy lifestyle, daily workout regimens, and a balanced diet to see weight loss results. As you follow these tips, the weight you gained during pregnancy will reduce over a period of time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does lemon water burn belly fat after pregnancy?
According to Kovalenko, “Drinking lemon water itself will not burn belly fat. However, lemon water can aid in weight loss and fat burning as a part of a healthy diet and exercise plan.”
Can hot water reduce belly fat after pregnancy?
Kovalenko says, “Drinking hot water alone will not reduce belly fat. However, drinking hot water as a part of a healthy diet and exercise routine can support weight loss and fat reduction. Hot water can also improve digestion and metabolism, which can have a positive impact on weight management.”
How long does it take for your belly to go down after having a baby?
It takes approximately 6-8 weeks for your belly to go down after having a baby.
Do belly bands work?
Yes, belly bands work by reducing abdominal and back discomfort. However, if you experience any itching, it is advised to stop their usage and consult your doctor.
- The extra food consumed during the pregnancy to nourish your baby gets stored in the form of fat.
- Continue maintaining your diet that includes green leafy vegetables and drinking lots of water to flush out toxins.
- Continue breastfeeding so that the newborn has the micronutrients to support postnatal development, and it may help you lose the baby fat.
- Go for walks and do cardio workouts to keep your body fit and lose stubborn belly fat.
Are you looking to tone your tummy and restore your body’s strength? This comprehensive post-pregnancy exercise video provides step-by-step guidance and motivation to help you achieve your fitness goals. Check it out now.
Personal Experience: Source
i. How I lost the baby weight
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- Effects of breastfeeding on postpartum weight loss among U.S. women
- Changes in uterine size after vaginal delivery and cesarean section determined by vaginal sonography in the puerperium
- Inflammatory biomarkers physical activity waist circumference and risk of future coronary heart disease in healthy men and women
- Sleep Loss and Inflammation
- Effectiveness Feasibility and Acceptability of Dynamic Elastomeric Fabric Orthoses (DEFO) for Managing Pain Functional Capacity and Quality of Life during Prenatal and Postnatal Care A Systematic Review
- Effect of Combined Manual Acupuncture and Massage on Body Weight and Body Mass Index Reduction in Obese and Overweight Women: A Randomized Short-term Clinical Trial
- Subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue: structural and functional differences
- Why Do Men Accumulate Abdominal Visceral Fat?