How to Regain a Flat Stomach After Childbirth
The popularized ‘yummy mummies’ on television who seem to emerge from childbirth with a perfectly flat, toned and bikini ready belly, has truly put a lot of pressure on the rest of the new mothers to lose weight, quickly. But as you likely know, getting back into those pre-pregnancy jeans post partum is not quite as easy as the media makes it out to be. Before you indulge in feeling badly about your baby pooch, understand that the stars not only have tummy tucks that follow childbirth, but they also have tons of personal chefs, nannies and physical trainers on staff who work overtime to make them ‘film ready’ in what seems like unreasonable amounts of time.
Secondly, it is important to understand – as the National Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology suggests, that it took you 9 months to gain the weight, and it should take you 9 months to lose it. Plus, pregnancy and childbirth not only changes your body size and structure permanently, but it also causes a litany of hormonal changes to take place that can alter your metabolism for the rest of your life. Are you doomed to a belly of baby fat? No way! Before you go become a victim of any hard sell diet programs geared to take advantage of your vulnerability, try these tried and proven methods of how to regain a flat stomach after childbirth!
- Nursing.For many women (but not all), nursing does help to flatten your stomach. The reasons are actually scientific. After your baby is born, nursing causes a chemical reaction that helps to shrink your uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size. The uterus can remain distended for several months after you have a baby. If you get cramps when you nurse, it is your body’s natural way of shrinking your belly.
- Abdominal exercises.While you may feel like being in a bit of rush to start stomach crunches and sit-ups, the reality is that you should wait two months after childbirth to do so. The pelvic wall, which houses the muscles of your abdomen, is awfully weak after pregnancy and childbirth. Starting exercises too soon, especially those that require a great deal of inertia on the pelvic wall, can actually do more damage than good. Wearing a belly belt, to help strengthen this wall for 2 months post partum is a very good way to get your pelvic wall strong again. Additionally, engaging in activities that are aerobic in nature and even yoga – help to ‘heal’ these muscles so that you can lose weight more quickly and tighten and tone the belly without doing permanent damage.
- Use a belly belt.One very popular belt to purchase is the belly bandit, available at http://www.bellybandit.com/. This belt works using compression, which is not only safe - but also scientifically proven to help improve the tone of the pelvic wall and flatten your stomach post baby.
- Do transverse abdominal exercises. Typical stomach crunches and other exercises do not focus on the horizontal muscles of the abdominal wall. These are the muscles that are stretched and distended from childbirth, and essentially hold all of your organs in place. These muscles are also connected to those in your back and rectum. When your transverse abdominal muscles are not strong, your belly will have the poochy look. One of the best exercise programs, designed to target this particular set of abdominal muscles is Pilates. Another hot trend in core body exercises that will help is Zumba. As you are doing either of these exercise venues, be sure to hold your abdominal muscles taut in the process. If you don’t tighten the muscles while you are exercising, they can actually get toned protruding, making your stomach stick out rather than in
- Be weight conscious. It is easy to over indulge when you are pregnant, despite the recommendation of doctors, family and friends. However, once you have a baby, it is time to start eating a healthy diet. The best way to get your hormones back to normal, and to reduce your overall weight is to eat as naturally as possible. (This is also good for the baby if you are nursing). Try to eat 6-8 servings per day of raw fruits and vegetables. Avoid carbohydrates and eat at least 1-2 simple proteins per day, such as lean red meat or chicken. Remember it is not recommended that nursing mothers restrict caloric intake. But starting a new habit of eating only fresh foods – can help you to lose weight in the belly. Plus, they will aid in your digestion, which is often a problem for many people post partum.
- Water.Water is essential. Not only will it help you to flush all of the extra fluids that you are carrying around from having a baby, but it will keep your body in optimal condition. Drinking an 8 ounces glass of water before a meal, will help you feel less hungry and can be a great way to ward off cravings. If you are nursing, drinking excess amounts of water is essential in keeping your body hydrated so your milk production stays ample. Additionally, water can help lessen and reduce the effects of water retention, that may be playing a part in your belly bulging. And, it helps your muscles to repair and heal after you have a baby.
- Take a walk.Chances are you are looking for exercises that you can do with your baby in tow. Taking a daily walk, pushing your baby in a stroller - is one very simple, effective, and fun thing you can do each and every day. This may not focus just on tummy flattening, but will instead help you to achieve all over body weight loss. As a bonus, your walk will give you more energy and help to speed up your metabolism. The key is to walk consistently for at least 20 minutes (or more) per day.
Trying to work on your tummy after having a baby can be frustrating. If you have had a C-section, where the abdominal muscles were actually cut – your recovery could take longer than you ever imagined. The truth is that you may never be as small, or have a belly as flat, as you did before baby. Considering the fact that your stomach distended so much in such a short period of time, should force you to feel more patient with yourself. Eventually, if you follow the 6 steps above, you should be pretty close to fitting back into those skinny jeans just 9 months after having a baby.