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Post-Pregnancy Belly Transformation- Exercises and 6 Quick Tips for a Stronger Postpartum Abdomen

Learn how to tone and strengthen your post-pregnancy belly with safe workouts, dietary suggestions, and more to restore core strength and confidence.

Motherhood is a journey of love, joy and treasured memories. But with all this, there comes a belly pooch that makes women look awkward. Getting pregnant and becoming a mom is great, but with all the changes in a woman’s body, she may also want to lose the belly fat she gained during the pregnancy.

Let’s start this journey together, acknowledging the beauty of your body after giving birth, working to make you healthy and happy, and, of course, losing the post-pregnancy belly fat.

Understanding Belly Changes in Pregnancy

The “post-pregnancy belly” or belly pooch” is a natural and expected part of pregnancy. Many women worry about this buildup of fat around the belly after giving birth. But this fat buildup is quite normal and shouldn’t be taken negatively.

Research shows pregnant women often feel ashamed of their belly and hips, fearing weight gain will persist post-delivery, and some consider it obese. However, it is important to know that pregnancy causes several physical changes, such as the enlargement of the abdominal muscles and the accumulation of excess fat. 1 s2.0 S1748681523003224 gr4

One factor that can affect the amount of belly fat that persists after giving birth is the total weight the mother gained. It may be more challenging for women to remove the extra belly fat if they acquire more weight.

Second, heredity and age are factors as well. It may be more challenging for older women or those who have a history of obesity in their family to shed post-pregnancy belly fat.

Third, dietary and exercise habits might play a major role. But eating healthily and exercising regularly may help you lose belly fat faster.

Finally, the rectus abdominis muscle in the belly may get quite a workout during pregnancy. But sometimes, diastasis recti—a separation of the abdominal muscles along their midline—can develop because of this straining. Due to this gap, the tummy may look slack or enlarged. This requires a complete rehab and strengthening program from a physiotherapist.

Best Exercises For Post-Pregnancy Belly

According to research, starting an exercise routine after giving birth has several health benefits, including a potentially decreased risk of postpartum depression.

To say goodbye to that baby bulge, certain workouts are more beneficial than others. But care must be taken to start workouts when you have healed from the stress of giving birth.  See a physical therapist for advice on when it’s safe to begin exercising and what safety measures to take.  Some of the best exercises for postpartum belly are mentioned below,

1. Walking 

The benefits of walking are beyond counting even in prepartum days. It is great to walk even during pregnancy and is ideal for getting your muscles and cardiovascular system ready for a more strenuous workout later on. The doctors suggest doing walks as a first exercise after delivery as it also helps to reduce swelling and tones the leg muscles.

As a new mother, it is ideal for easing you into a more rigorous regimen, as it is one of the easiest workouts that produces extremely beneficial results.

No worries if you haven’t done a walk as an exercise before. A slow walk is a good place to start; after a few days, you may work up to a fast pace. Start with 15 minutes of walking five days a week and work your way up to 30 minutes. You can take your baby along in a stroller!

Begin with gentle workouts and work your way up to more challenging ones if you were sedentary during your pregnancy.

2. Abdominal Breathing  

This exercise is a favourite of doctors as it can be done an hour after delivery.

It aids in muscular relaxation and kickstarts the process of abdominal and tummy muscle strengthening and toning. To perform it,

  • Straighten up and take a few deep breaths, pushing air up from your diaphragm.
  • Inhale deeply while tightening your abs, and exhale slowly.
  • Do it 3-5 times and gradually increase ab contraction and hold time.
3. Flutter Kicks
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Flutter kicks are a great choice if you’re trying to trim down your thighs, calves, and lower abs.

To do this, lie on your back and place your hands behind your head. With your legs raised off the ground, mimic the motion of swimming by making small, swift movements.

4. Belly Crunches

One of the best ways to lose the post-pregnancy belly fat is to do crunches. Start off slow and do not strain yourself too much. Do 5 crunches a day to begin, and add more as you feel comfortable.

If required, perform the exercise under professional supervision.

5. Pelvic Tilts and Kegels
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Pelvic tilt

Pelvic tilts and other pelvic exercises strengthen and tone the abdominal muscles. They are also great for back pain that may accompany the post-pregnancy period. To perform a pelvic tilt

  • Sit on all fours, with your toes and palms touching the floor.
  • Pull your buttocks forward while inhaling, tilt your pelvis and push the pubic bone upward.
  • Hold until three, release and repeat.

Kegels are great for postpartum moms as they train the pelvic muscles and help regain pre-pregnancy. Read more about how to perform pelvic floor muscle exercises here.

6. The V-ups Minimalistic Illustrative Yoga Abdominal Breathing Technique Infographic Banner 2

The V-up works your core, legs, back, and shoulders simultaneously. What makes it even better is that it combines the benefits of two exercises: crunches and leg raises. This will be the exercise you do most often after giving birth to get rid of that belly fat.  To do it,

  • Lie flat and extend your arms overhead.
  • Simultaneously lift legs and upper body, forming a V-shape.
  • Try to reach your toes.
  • Return to start and repeat 5 times a day.
  • Start with fewer reps, increasing as you gain strength.
7. Planks

In planks, multiple muscles are worked at once, which makes it one of the best workouts for burning calories and building core strength. There are different ways to do the plank that will work more muscle groups and help you burn more calories. You can change these three settings with time:

  • Standard plank
  • Straight arm plank
  • Side plank
8. Swimming

Swimming is a great exercise even during pregnancy and prepares the body for labor. But even after pregnancy, it is still a great way to burn calories, build muscle, and feel refreshed all at once. However, to prevent an infection, you should wait to swim until at least six or seven weeks after giving birth.

9. Yoga

Yoga is a great workout if you want to lose post-pregnancy belly fat.  Its physical and mental benefits are mutually supportive.

Make yoga a morning habit if you want to feel refreshed and ready to take on the day. Yoga may become a regular part of your life whether you practice it at home or enroll in lessons.

Here is a table that summarizes the exercise regimen week by week

Week Postnatal Exercise
0+ Walking and Abdominal Breathing
0+ Pelvic Tilts and Kegels
6+ Abdominal Exercises
6-7 weeks+ Swimming
12-16 weeks+ Yoga
16 weeks+ Higher Impact Exercises
When to Begin Postnatal Exercises?

Most of the changes during pregnancy will have returned to normal by six weeks post-pregnancy. If you were an exercise enthusiast throughout your pregnancy, light activity, such as walking and stretching, is safe to do after a normal delivery.

But if you haven’t exercised since you were pregnant and your body isn’t used and birth, you put yourself through more stress, which slows down your recovery and leaves you feeling exhausted. So it is better to wait and recover physiologically from post-pregnancy changes and start the exercise regimen after a 6-week period.

Your body will need six to eight weeks to heal from the exertion of giving birth and labor before you begin exercising regularly.

Also, your readiness to begin exercising may be affected if you underwent a caesarean section, had a difficult delivery, or experienced complications. So, giving your body a little time to recover after giving birth before beginning abdominal workouts is best

How Long Will It Take For My Belly To Shrink Back To Normal?  

It takes some time for the body to return to its pre-pregnancy state after giving birth. However, the rate and scope of this process can change depending on several variables.

How Much Abdominal Exercises a Week?

Two or three times a week is all it takes to tone your abdominal muscles, says the American Council on Exercise.

Precautions

After giving birth, there are a few easy things to keep in mind as you work out:

  • Always Consult a Doctor/Physical therapist: When trying to post-pregnancy belly, remember not to overdo it. It’s best to take it slow and steady with a combination of light activity and a healthy diet. And before making any major changes to your regimen, consult your doctor. Once your doctor gives you the OK, make exercise a regular part of your life.
  • Don’t Forget to Drink Water: Enough water should be consumed before, during, and after physical activity. This is especially important if breastfeeding your baby, as less water consumption might affect milk production. According to experts, the aim is to drink almost 128 ounces (16 cups) of water daily.
  • Be Gentle With Yourself: It’s not safe to put your body through the pressures of a fad diet or intense workout routine, especially if you are still healing from post-pregnancy stress. Some women may want to get back to their pre-pregnancy bodies quickly. But the best is to start slowly and stop right away if an exercise gets too hard.
  • Rest: While exercising is great for the body, don’t forget to rest. As the muscles will need extra time to relax after exercise, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to recover.

Your mind and body will thank you for including a healthy diet and 25 to 30 minutes of exercise in your daily routine.

Tips For Post-Pregnancy Belly Transformation

Pink And White Colorful Postpartum Self Care Instagram Post

Having a positive outlook on postpartum belly fat is essential. And apart from all those post-pregnancy belly exercises, there are a few tips that can also help you tighten your tummy.

1. Keeps Your Goal Realistic

It takes time to lose belly fat after pregnancy, regardless of what you might read in articles and hear in celebrity stories.

Don’t rush things; this baby pooch won’t disappear in days. It took nine months for the belly muscles to get big enough for a full-term baby, so it makes sense that it might take weeks or months to get tight again.

2. Prioritize Getting Good Sleep

In the same way that a poor night’s sleep may ruin a person’s day, a history of sleep deprivation can also be bad for belly fat. Postpartum depression affects 1 in 9 new moms, adding to the already overwhelming stress and lack of sleep.

Research published in the journal Sleep shows that adults under the age of 40 who consistently get less than five hours of sleep every night are far more likely to accumulate visceral and subcutaneous fat. According to one study review, sleep deprivation is also associated with increased postpartum weight retention up to 4 pounds a month.

So, even for new moms, sleeping for at least 7 hours daily is important. However, it might be difficult for them to obtain enough sleep. Some solutions include cutting back on coffee consumption and seeking support from loved ones. Need more tips? Read our article here for detailed methods.

3. Breastfeeding the Baby

If you’re trying to lose belly fat after having a baby, breastfeeding is a great option, particularly during the initial months following childbirth. It can also cause a mother to burn 300-600 calories.

Even a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that breastfeeding mothers lose more weight despite increased calorie intake.  Why? Because when you make milk, your body uses its stored fat to do so, which means less belly fat. Besides potentially accelerating your weight loss efforts, the contractions that accompany breastfeeding actually assist in reducing the size of your womb. So, it is a win-win situation for the mom and the baby.

4. East The Right Foods

It’s time to start stocking up on nutritious grains and vegetables. Add these foods to your postpartum diet to lose weight and belly fat.

  • Fiber: There is evidence that eating high-fiber meals can reduce weight. A 2019 study of 345 individuals found that adding 4 grams of fiber to their pre-study diets led to an additional 3 1/4 pounds of weight loss over 6 months.
  • Proteins: Including lean protein at each meal will help you feel satisfied. Your goal should be 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal and 10 grams of snacks.
  • Reduce Processed Meals: Processed meals are often somewhat high in calories, fat, and added sugar. Reducing their intake might help lose abdominal fat.

Remember that portion control is the most helpful thing while trying to lose weight. Consuming diverse meals and watching portions is important to losing the post-pregnancy belly. Being patient and consistent is key, as sustainable diet improvements are more important than short-term solutions.

5. Manange Stress Levels

Managing stress is an important part of losing a postpartum belly. When you’re under a lot of stress, your body stores extra fat, especially around your middle, because cortisol, a stress hormone, makes you eat more and feel hungry.

So, if you can keep your stress levels in check, you can reduce the chances of gaining weight and improve your health in general.

6. Supportive Belts/Garments Can Help

Supportive and comfortable belts can be a lifesaver, especially while doing workouts. These belts support muscles that might be a little saggy so that you can move around easily. Here are some of the best postpartum garments, especially abdominal ones.

  • Belly Bands: These elastic bands are wrapped around the abdomen to reduce swelling and offer support for the abdominal muscles. Because of their adjustability, belly bands might be a versatile choice for your pooching belly.
  • Postpartum Girdles: Postpartum girdles are like belly bands but have more structure. They can compress and support the lower back, hips, and abdominal region. Hooks, zippers, or Velcro are common fasteners that allow for a customizable fit.
  • C-section Belts: These belts are specially made to reduce discomfort and keep garments from irritating a cesarean section incision. They offer mild support to the affected area.

All of these can be worn most of the day and help you do workouts easily. However, you should always talk to a healthcare professional to determine which one will benefit you most.

Finally, how can I have a flat stomach after pregnancy? A healthy diet and consistent exercise are the best ways to reduce post-pregnancy belly fat. Remember that the weight reduction rate could vary from one woman’s body to another. On this journey, patience and consistency are key. The focus here is on permanent lifestyle adjustments, not short-term solutions, enabling you to shed pounds and keep them off for good.

We know that it can be hard to prioritize your needs as a mom. However, remember that taking care of yourself is good for both you and your child. You will feel better, and so will your baby.

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Dr Aimen

Being a Doctor by profession, Aimen is passionate about helping people get better health in their lives. Aimen enjoys her research on Prime With Time subjects and strives to create better awareness of the problems and changes related to women's health.
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