Congratulations lady! Your body just grew, nurtured, and carried a tiny human being for nine months before the next phase, delivery.
Like many mamas, you likely have a few pregnancy battle scars. You ladies know what we’re talking about; exhaustion, emotional roller coasters, tears, frustration, joy, depression, and the postpartum belly.
First off, don’t be hard on yourself. Your body deserves to be celebrated for all it’s endured. Not to mention, immediate flat bellies are overrated. We should take our time and ease into things and the pace best for our body and lifestyle.
What’s the after-baby belly bulge?
Some of you may have noticed a belly bulge hanging around after delivery. Is it loose skin, belly fat, or what?
It’s a little of it all
You put on weight, which is what you were supposed to do. Your abdominal muscles have stretched out to make room for a baby. The average newborn weighs around 7 pounds (3.2 kilos), and your belly needs that much space.
Meanwhile, the small intestine, colon, and stomach were shifted over to add more space for the baby.
Between the stretching of muscles and weight gain, our body produces hormones to make our connective tissues more elastic and prepare for birth. The itty-bitty bulge is your badge of honor, proud mama!
So, we know how we got it; let’s talk about how to lose it.
How To Lose Baby, Belly Fat
By the end of the first month after a baby’s delivery, it’s likely to lose up to 20 pounds without doing much of anything. It's easy to see how that happens between the delivery, loss of excess fluids, inner parts healing, and shrinking back to their average size.
Around the months and a half mark, the uterus should shrink back to its original size, which causes your belly to flatten down. Be patient to see what, where, and how hard work you’ll have to put in to reach your fitness goals.
Talk to your doctor or OBGYN to ensure your body is ready to perform physical activities like exercises. The recommended wait time after pregnancy and delivery is 6 weeks. At six weeks, it’s advised to check in before planning your fitness routine. Once you get a green light… get it, girl!
Exercise & Diet
Eating healthfully combined with exercise will have your belly back to its pre-pregnancy look within a few months. If you’re aiming for a flat stomach, make sure to include activities that target all the abdominal muscles.
Keep in mind that the connective tissue between our abdominal muscles is stretched during pregnancy. It’s only a small amount of stretching; still, it repairs itself as it starts to heal. That being said, don’t rush into crunches in hopes to flatten those abs; it’ll only wreak havoc and cause harm.
We want exercises that strengthen our deepest abdominal muscles, the transverse abdominis
Pelvic tilts are an excellent exercise to get started off with. Give yourself a couple of months of practicing this exercise, intensifying it as you progress, then move on to deeper, more intense abdominal exercises. Core strengthening is the key! It’s good to practice muscle-toning exercises 2 to 3 times a week for best results. Below you’ll find a few more excellent exercise options to lose that post-pregnancy belly bulge.
If this exercise is new to you, once you’re in position, hold the pose for 20 seconds and build up to a full minute as you increase strength. Three sets of, however, 60 seconds will do.
Two sets of 12 to 20 repetitions can produce the best results. Each leg scissoring counts as one rep. As you strengthen, you can increase the sets as high as you prefer to handle. Add this exercise to your core workout at least 2 to 3 times a week; you won’t regret it.Postpartum Yoga Poses
Yoga offers some excellent benefits for new mothers and individuals in general.
Yoga can rebuild muscle tone and improve flexibility for the postpartum body, which is increasingly beneficial for reducing postpartum back pain. Yoga helps maintain spinal integrity and prevents overstretching of our ligaments.
Lastly, practicing yoga regularly helps tone the upper body and stretch our shoulders and back. This body area is prone to poor posture during pregnancy, during breastfeeding, and while pumping.
Aside from healthy, regular exercise, consuming fat-burning foods will help whip that baby belly into shape. Boosting our metabolic rate will help our body burn fat naturally, as it should.
You’ve traveled an incredible journey, mama! Now it’s time to get yourself into the best shape you can be in. Your little one is precious and sweet but also demanding and worth every bit of hard work. Do you boo!