Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on birthing your child! Carrying a child for nine months is no easy feat! Our bodies go through so much stress in the space of such little time. You are a warrior!
As mothers, we shouldn’t stress too much about getting our “pre-baby” bodies back, as we are perfect just the way we are.
However, some mothers may feel unconfident with their new post-c-section hanging belly and want to try to get rid of it – that’s ok too!
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In this article, I’m going to give you all the tricks and secrets you need to know to help get rid of your hanging belly after your c-section.
What causes a hanging belly after a c-section?
Over the 40 weeks (on average) of pregnancy, your baby grows incredibly fast. In fact, the average baby is born at 7lb!
Between the extra calories eaten, hips widening, and skin stretching, your body goes through some pretty significant changes.
As a result, it is normal for women to be left with excess skin after pregnancy. In fact, this happens to almost all women. You’re in good company!
The degree to which your stomach will retract and “revert” to your pre-pregnancy body will depend on many factors, including age, diet, and genetics.
For those who have a c-section, a hanging belly, sometimes referred to as “apron belly,” is far more common. This is because the scar created from the cesarean incision acts like a tight band – think of it as a belt – causing the excess skin from the stomach to hang over it.
So now you see why it is commonly known as a hanging belly.
Does the c-section ‘pooch’ ever go away?
Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer here. Indeed, it will decrease for most women.
Still, while some women find it relatively easy to lose the weight gained during pregnancy and for their skin to go back to normal, other women have more troubles or simply are unable to naturally.
It might seem unfair, but some women simply have to work a lot harder to get rid of their pooch, and some may need to resort to surgery.
But remember, self-love is an option! You don’t have to get rid of the pooch, so please do not feel pressure to do so. You’re still beautiful regardless; the pooch is just your battle scar, your love pouch.
How do I prevent my belly from overhanging after a c-section?
Hanging belly prevention is very difficult as so many factors out of your control can cause it during pregnancy and your c-section.
For example, any complications in scar tissue formation may lend to an apron belly forming, which is simply out of your hands.
There are still some things you can do to help prevent hanging belly from occurring, though.
During pregnancy, make sure to moisturize regularly to improve your skin elasticity and minimize stretch marks forming. Many mothers swear by cocoa butter moisturizers that are enriched with vitamin e.
The act of moisturizing also helps to increase blood circulation in the skin around your stomach, keeping the skin healthy and elastic as it stretches.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is vital for repairing your body. As your skin stretches, sleep well help your body to acclimatize to all the changes constantly happening.
Being tired also leads to stress, which is unhealthy for you and your baby growing inside you, so unleash your inner Aurora and become Sleeping Beauty!
Drink a lot of water and eat healthily
Make sure to keep hydrated and eat foods with plenty of nutrients in them.
Food is the building block of new cells, so getting in your vitamins and minerals will help your skin stay as healthy as possible, leaving it more likely to be able to “bounce back” more easily.
Exercise helps circulation, which allows the skin to maintain elasticity.
It can be difficult or uncomfortable to exercise during pregnancy, so opt for something gentle like walking or yoga.
How can I tighten my hanging belly?
Ok, so you’ve had your c-section, you’re back home with your bundle of joy, and you’ve noticed that your belly is hanging. What do you do?
Before tackling your hanging belly, you must let your c-section wounds heal first. After all, you’ve just been through major surgery, and putting stress on the body before it is recovered is a sure-fire recipe for disaster.
Give it at least 6 – 8 weeks before you start anything rigorous, and listen to your body – make sure you are healed enough to start. After that, there is absolutely no rush.
With that said, here are some ideas to help you tighten your post-c-section hanging belly.
Some mothers report that they lost all the baby weight they gained during pregnancy by breastfeeding alone.
Studies suggest one breastfeeding session can burn as much as a one-hour brisk walk! No wonder breastfeeding is renowned for its weight loss properties.
If you are able to breastfeed and feel comfortable doing so, it will help get rid of some of the extra fat that contributes to hanging belly.
Consider using a postpartum support belt
A postpartum support belt is used to support your abdominal muscles as they recover from the c-section procedure. However, by nature, they can also work in a similar way to a corset.
While I don’t recommend using the support belt for weight loss purposes alone, it is an often reported side effect.
If it is something you are considering, consult with your doctor first to ensure it is safe.
Maintain a healthy diet
As I mentioned earlier, food provides the building blocks to a healthy body, which is necessary for healing.
We also know that maintaining a healthy diet is vital for weight loss. And, as the famous saying goes, “abs are made in the kitchen.”
To reduce your hanging belly, make sure you eat a diet rich in nutritious food and reduce your intake of junk food.
Don’t deprive yourself of foods you love, though; every diet has room for a bit of chocolate!
Regular movement is essential for keeping up your metabolism, so your body is efficiently burning fat.
Listen to your body and doctor on how it is healing, and don’t push your body too far too soon, or you run the risk of your incision scars opening.
Start slow and build up as your fitness improves.
And remember, all movement counts, so don’t feel like you need to go to the gym to make an impact. Having a little dance around with your baby will work just fine!
Recent advances in cosmetic procedures have allowed for non-evasive methods to be created in fat loss and skin tightening.
These procedures help burn the excess fat that sits in the excess skin (which prevents it from retracting back in) and helps tighten the loose skin left behind.
These procedures do not have a 100% success rate and are very expensive, starting at around $3500 for a session, so this option will not be realistic for everyone.
Surgery to tighten loose skin
Sometimes, there is just too much loose skin for your body to bounce back from. That’s not your fault – some people just simply have less elastic skin. If you’ve had twins, triplets, etc., you are also more likely to have a lot more loose skin that doesn’t react to natural skin tightening methods.
In these circumstances, if you cannot live with your loose skin, the only option is to get it surgically removed. Usually, this will be done as a tummy tuck, although some surgeons may also recommend liposuction alongside it to get rid of the fat sitting in the loose skin.
Like laser/coolsculpting procedures, loose skin surgery is costly, and if you have another child afterward, there is no guarantee you won’t have loose skin again the next time.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a hanging belly after giving birth, and you should feel no pressure to lose your new mama belly.
However, I completely understand that for some women, having a hanging belly can significantly affect their self-confidence, leading to a strong desire to get rid of it.
The most important thing to remember is to take your time and not push your body further than it can go straight after your c-section.
While you may be in a rush to get rid of the excess skin, it is not worth risking your health and recovery to do so.
I also urge you not to judge yourself based on any other mother’s belly or recovery journey.
Every woman has their own path to walk, and every woman’s body heals at different rates, in different ways.
Embrace the journey, and no matter whether you have a hanging belly and don’t mind keeping it or want to get rid of it, remember that your body is perfect just the way it is!