Your Post-Baby Belly or Postpartum Belly: Why it’s changed after the birth process and how to tone it back? Are you always wondering why do you still look pregnant? Really, it’s weird to see in the mirror after the birth process. The woman in front of the mirror is unbelievable!
You would think that after the birth process you’ll get your pre-baby body sooner but it is not magic that you’ll get it back overnight!
It takes efforts plus time for your body, and especially your post-baby belly, to fully recover from pregnancy effects. Growing a human being inside you is not a joke. During pregnancy your whole body especially the tummy grew day by day.
Why do I Still Look Pregnant?
As your baby grows, your tummy gradually grows like a big and round balloon. Your post-baby belly process starts decreasing but slow and steady.
After delivery, hormonal changes play a vital role to get back your pre-baby body.
Your pregnant body collected fluid during pregnancy. And now continue to decrease and heals swelling and bloating. But it takes near about 2 months to contract your uterus in pre-pregnancy size.
You had collected extra fats to nourish your baby while pregnancy will start to burn off once you start breastfeeding and exercises. But you have to keep patience for a couple of months for noticeable results.
What is a dark line down tummy?
You notice a black dark line below your belly button that is called linea nigra and a web of stretch marks over your belly and thighs.
The linea nigra is due to pigmentation in the skin of tummy muscles. Your tummy skin stretched and separated into maintaining space for your growing baby in the womb. Usually, this dark line faded within a few months after delivery.
You’ll notice a lot of weird changes in your body after giving birth that freaks you but nothing to worry all will set in a few months.
Stretch Marks are caused due to stretching of the body while the baby is growing rapidly in the womb. You have noticed that when you fill the air in the balloon it expands and after your get off the air how a balloon looks like? The same happens in your bodies. Due to stretching, you experience stretch marks on your thighs, tummy, and breasts.
My mom had told me a secret while pregnancy you may feel itching on your tummy. Because it continuously expands. But don’t scratch over your tummy thighs or chest. This helps you not to get stretch marks. When you feel itching than apply some coconut oil or soothing cream over the itching area.
How Long will it take to shrink uterus & post-baby belly?
You have gained a decent weight during pregnancy and after delivery, it will take time to get your pre-baby body shape back and uterus to shrink. You have heard many stories of moms & how they get their pre-baby body shape quickly? But it does not happen with all moms.
Only patience is the key, your tummy has taken nine months to grow and how could it get back in shape in a few days? It will take a few months to get back in your exact pre-pregnancy weight or shape.
Below factors depend on the speed and degree of getting back pre-baby body:-
- What size you had before pregnancy?
- How much weight you gained while pregnancy?
- How conscious you’re about your health?
- You can’t do anything about your genes!
You Can Shed the post-baby belly If:-
- If You gained little weight during pregnancy
- Immediately started breastfeeding after childbirth
- You’re first-time mom
How can You safely lose post-baby belly and help the belly look better?
Breastfeeding may help you in those early months after giving birth. Breastfeeding helps you to burn an extra 300 calories per day to make breast milk. This can vary from mom to mom. You can shed your weight quickly compare to formula-feed moms. There are many breastfeeding myths, be aware of these!
Establish a good breastfeeding station because breastfeeding triggers contractions to shrink the uterus and help to get back shape faster.
Remember one thing that if you eat more than you burn the calories, you’ll put on weight again even if you breastfeed the baby. So eat wisely here is the list of breastfeeding foods and breastfeeding snacks that help you not to gain weight.
It’s fine to lose weight while nursing the baby. Because your body is an amazing machine it can produce sufficient milk on demand and losing weight doesn’t affect milk production.
As a new mom, you need a lot of energy to cope with postpartum depression and you have to look after your newborn baby. So, don’t hesitate to lose weight early. Otherwise, you may feel tired and exhausted. You must wait until your postnatal checkup before starting to lose weight.
Healthy eating and normal routine exercise help you to get back in shape. Below are the guidelines, if you’ll follow, help you to maintain good health.
- Having breakfast on time
- Eating healthy vegetables and fruits a few times a day
- Taking fiber-rich foods like oats, beans, lentils, grains, and seeds, help you to gain good health
- You must take starch-rich foods like bread, rice, pasta or potatoes in the meals
- Always keep high-fat and high-sugar foods like biscuits, cakes, and fast foods with you
- Keep an eye on your mealtimes and how many snacks you eat between each meal?
What else can you do to regain pre-pregnancy belly or body shape?
Exercise must help you to tone post-baby belly by burning extra calories. Start with light exercise like walking stretching even in the first month after childbirth. But don’t go fast, start very slowly but gradually to build up exercise levels.
Pelvic floor exercises are the best for the new moms to tone postpartum belly. These exercises help to get back to pre-pregnancy shape and help you to flatten your mummy tummy. Postpartum must-haves and sitz bath help you better for fast recovery.
After 2 to 3 months when you feel its time to take your baby out for a walk in his buggy. Walking in the natural environment freshen up you and it lifts your mood. You find out there many other new moms with their buggies walking in the local parks.
You may feel your tummy muscles slack. Is this normal?
If you feel your tummy muscles slack, it is because pregnancy overstretched the tummy skin. You also observe a bulgy tummy above and below the belly button. This situation is known as diastasis recti (DR). That means separation.
Tummy has four layers of muscles. The top layer is long and flat muscles running vertically down each side of the abdomen(rectus abdomen). These muscles knowns as the six-pack abs. Diastasis Recti occurs when the two halves are pulled away because of stretching and thinning the connective tissues of them.
Mostly, women experience DR after the birth process. Below are the reasons for the Diastasis Recti:-
- Mom has given birth two or three times
- Cesarean delivery more than one time
- If you stained your tummy muscles during pregnancy through lifting, vomiting or straining while using a toilet
There is no confirmation about gaining weight before pregnancy is the cause for DR. It may if your mother or sister has DR, you’re most likely to have it also.
How to check Diastasis Recti?
If you’re unsure about DR! Below are the tips to check if you have Diastasis Recti or not?
- Lie on the back with bent knees and feet are flat on the floor
- Place your palm on or above your belly button
- Lift your shoulder to look down your stomach. With the help of the fingertips feel the gap between the edges of both muscles, above and below the belly button.
- Now see how many fingers are fitted into the gap of the muscles? Finger width tells you the size of the Diastasis Recti you have!
- But once your muscles get stronger, the gap reduces gradually.
However, if you experience more than two fingers gap, definitely you have DR. Normally, the gap between tummy muscles returns back in few weeks after giving birth. In the case, it is not reduced, and you want to get rid of the diastasis recti then you must see to your health visitor.
Proactive steps to get rid of your post-baby belly
Getting a few light exercises and a healthy diet will help you get back your pre-baby body within a few months. But if you want a flat tummy, you’ll choose the exercises that target your abdominal muscles. But avoid crunches so soon.
post-pregnancy belly exercises or Pelvic tilts exercises are a good way to start off. Do the pelvic tilts exercises to strengthen your abdominal muscles.
- Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent
- flatten your back on the floor
- Tighten your abdominal muscles and bend your pelvis up slowly
- Hold for 10 seconds, repeat it.
you’ll see the results within 8 to 12 weeks. Studies show that core strengthening exercises work wonderfully. According to the American Council on Exercise, New moms can start muscle toning abdominal exercise within 3 weeks after delivery.
Below are a few tummy tightening exercises you can try:-
- Forearm Plank
A good health physiotherapist advised you for specific exercises to make your abdominal muscles fit. If you leave DR untreated, it may weaken your core. And the result is you experience bad back and exercises and other activities make you tired and exhausted.
For this exercise, Position the front of your body with the floor, hold your weight on your forearms and your toes. Suck in your belly and tighten your buttocks. Hold the position or 10 minutes, more or less. Perform this exercise once a day at least.
- Reverse Crunch
Perform this position on a mat. Lie down on your back with your knees bent and your thighs parallel to the floor. Try to touch your chest with your knees and then slowly straight up your legs to their full length. Hold the position for 10 seconds and do 5 sets daily(more or less)
If you are unable to straighten your legs to their full length, it’s alright. Go with touching your chest with your knees, hold the same position for 30 seconds, and let go. This exercise works on your lower abdomen.
- Scissor Kicks
Lie down on your back and straighten your legs. Lift your straight legs slightly up from the ground and cross them up and down until you can! You can also perform this exercise with your legs perpendicular to the ground if that’s possible with you.
Healthy Diet to lose post-baby belly:
You don’t need an out of the box diet to compensate for your postpartum journey & post-baby belly. A normal, healthy diet will do just fine along with exercise to lose the post-baby belly. Of course, you’d have a bigger appetite because you’d be breastfeeding, so don’t miss hunger calls.
Instead, supplement your body with healthy food! 65% carbohydrate, 25 fats, and good amount of protein intake. Eat healthy unprocessed whole grain(brown rice, oats, etc), vegetables, and fruits, these are some healthy sources of healthy carbohydrate.
Lentils, pulses, poultry, dairy for healthy protein and nuts, chia, cheese, avocado for healthy fat content.
Postpartum Compression Belt:
Postpartum compression will hold your stomach and abdomen together to maintain stability after delivery. A compression belt also helps with back pain and C-section. If you went through Cesarean, this compression belt will help you ease the pain and hold it together for you.
It’s alright if you don’t see any major changes in the starting months in your post-baby belly, your body will soon start to get rid of post-baby belly. Until then and that, love and embrace yourself and your baby. Postpartum is a very crucial part of parenting, it helps you to bond with your new soul.
Don’t miss out on this beautiful journey because of stress! Weight can be undone at any point in life but these moments with your baby are too rare and mesmerizing to not live.