How To Get Rid Of Hanging Belly After C-Section: Pooch Solutions

How to get rid of hanging belly after c-section

A hanging belly after a c-section is something that many new moms have to deal with and worry about. First of all, rest assured that if you have a hanging belly, no matter how you gave birth, you are not in the minority. Cut yourself some slack. You just expelled an entire person from your body.

Your newborn baby may be absolutely perfect, and everything your body went through to get that little one here was worth it, but it’s okay to wonder how to get rid of a hanging belly after a c-section.

This article will discuss how to get rid of hanging belly after c-section, how to tighten up abdominal muscles, how to lose excess belly fat, how to start a healthy diet, and more.

C section pooch

That hanging belly sometimes referred to as an apron belly overhang, can occur for many reasons. Your postpartum belly may not look anything like you’d hoped, but once you understand why you have this C-section pooch, you can start to understand what you can do about it.

The following are reasons for the hanging belly you may have after a c-section.

Excess Skin

When pregnant, your skin has to stretch significantly to accommodate the baby growing inside you. Even with the extra skin, your body makes so that you can grow outward as your baby develops, many women still end up with stretch marks, often caused by the quick growth of the belly.

After you have your baby, there is loose skin. It takes time to get rid of because your extra skin won’t just disappear. A healthy diet rich in nutrients and plenty of hydration will help this process move a bit faster, but really, it just takes time.

Excess Fat

You may notice that the hanging belly you are left with might feel like more than just skin. Many times, the hanging belly is due to post-pregnancy belly fat.

When you are pregnant, your body produces more fat cells over your abdominal muscles to help protect the baby from bumps and trauma. This is why if you get bumped in the belly accidentally when you are pregnant, unless it’s a very hard impact, your little one is usually just fine.

Your postpartum belly has a lot of that fat leftover from the pregnancy. As lovely as it would be, it doesn’t just melt away the moment you have your c section. You will have to lose belly fat by making healthy diet choices. You can burn calories with exercises that target the abdominal muscles and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, and you can work your stomach muscles so that you can help shed that extra baby weight.

Just like the issue of excess skin, often, it takes time to lose weight and get that flatter stomach that you started out with pre-pregnancy.

C-Section Scar

A c-section is a major surgical procedure, and it leaves you with a c-section scar that can contribute to, or even cause, the pouch that causes the overhanging belly. This is because the incision site is large and horizontal, and the cut went through the skin, tissues, core muscles of the lower abdomen, belly fat (that excess fat we just discussed), and the uterine wall, all to get your baby out.

Afterward, you are left with a fairly large scar a few inches above your pubic bone, in a place that is typically prone to weight gain and difficult to lose excess fat.

You also have a much longer recovery period than a mother who gave birth vaginally, so that apron belly has more time to develop and hang around. By the time you’re able to get up and move around, the stomach overhang is there, and you’re dealing with an infant rather than a newborn who sleeps most of the day.

How to get rid of hanging belly after c-section

How Long Will It Last?

The first thing you need to realize, especially if you are a first-time mom, is that the mommy tummy you see in movies and television is not realistic. In the movies, an actor walks into the hospital to have a baby and walks out a day later in skinny jeans and heels with less body fat than she had pre-pregnancy. It does not work this way for real pregnant women.

After having a baby, you will most likely still look pregnant when you leave the hospital. While it takes six to eight weeks to “recover” from childbirth, your body will not be back to normal in that time.

The recovery phase of six to eight weeks simply means that it takes that long for your uterus to shrink back down to the size before you were pregnant or close to it. The stomach overhang can stick around, and often does, long after this.

You were pregnant for nearly a year. Give yourself a bit of grace and understand that it takes time to get rid of the hanging belly after c section surgery. Instead, pay attention to your baby, mental health, and physical health.

How to Get Rid of Hanging Belly After C-Section

If you’ve had a c-section, and enough time has gone by that you have been cleared by your doctor to resume regular activity and exercise, you probably want to target the c-section hanging belly first, near where your c-section scar is.

You can do several things to get rid of the stomach overhang. Here are are some ideas.

Sleep

Getting a full night’s rest may seem impossible after you’ve just had a baby. However, the more sleep you get, the more your body will begin to “fix” itself.

You are more likely to lose weight and excess fat when you get a full night’s sleep because you can store energy for exercise and activity upon waking. Also, while you sleep, your body is hard at work recovering from trauma, and a surgical procedure such as a c-section certainly counts as bodily trauma.

Abdominal Exercises

Start slow, and target that mommy tummy. Have some patience when working on that belly hang, as the weakened abdominal muscles won’t bounce back immediately, and even once you are more toned, you still won’t have a perfectly flat stomach due to the extra skin you still have around your tummy shelf.

Low impact weight training, cardio such as walking and jogging, and even yoga can help strengthen your abdominal wall. Over time, you will see improvement in weight loss and the c-section overhang of your mommy tummy.

Keep telling yourself that it will take more time than what you are probably used to after giving birth and healing. A c-section delivery does more than leave you with a sagging belly. The procedure itself calls for the incision into connective tissues and abdominal separation. Don’t overdo any exercise regime.

It may even be a good idea to consult with a personal trainer before implementing an exercise routine so that you don’t put yourself at risk in your journey to lose the excess weight. A flat belly isn’t worth health complications.

Exercises for C-section Shelf Reduction

If you are interested in exercises to get back to your pre-pregnancy size but don’t have the means or the desire to hire a personal trainer, there are several standard exercises that you can do. Many of them don’t even require equipment. They are as follows:

  • Sit-Ups
  • Planks
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Kegels
  • Cardio, such as walking or jogging

Healthy Eating

Notice that the word “diet” was not mentioned. Breastfeeding mothers, in particular, need to be careful about restrictive eating or calorie intake to lose weight. While you can certainly try to lose fat after postpartum recovery, you don’t want to do anything that burns calories in excess of what you need to supply breast milk to feed your baby.

When you breastfeed, you need to consume more calories than a formula-feeding mother so that you can keep your milk supply up. To reduce tummy fat, especially the fat cells that can accumulate in the area known as the c-section pouch, simply cut out junk foods.

Junk food offers little or no nutrition and often leaves you feeling unsatisfied and still hungry. Eat foods rich in nutrients and vitamins during your postpartum recovery and while breastfeeding. Many breastfeeding women report that losing weight is easier when you breastfeed, anyway, as it takes a lot of energy and work to feed a baby with the food that your own body produces.

How to get rid of hanging belly after c-section

Cosmetic Surgery

A hotly debated topic is going under the knife. Again.

As it is commonly referred to, a tummy tuck can help you reduce the stomach overhang that occurs after you have a c-section.

Why Some Women Choose the Tuck

While it’s not for everyone, some women choose this method for getting rid of the c-section pooch for various reasons. If you’ve got a c section overhang and have tried different workouts, changed your diet, and tried other methods of reducing it by yourself and it’s just not working, you may be considering this option.

It can take a very long time for the extra skin to shrink back to where it needs to be. Sometimes, the scar left after a c-section doesn’t heal properly and remains tender, itchy, or even painful. The following are some reasons why women choose to cosmetically alter their bodies to get that flat stomach back.

Exercise Regime Isn’t Working

Some women don’t see much improvement when they implement a workout routine to get rid of the postpartum belly after a c-section. This can be discouraging, time-consuming, and over time, very expensive.

While a tummy tuck is also very expensive, consider that some women purchase weight training equipment, home gyms, workout packages, and personal trainers to shed the excess body fat and skin and still see no results.

Some women decide to forgo these expenses and have cosmetic work done instead.

Confidence Issues

Postpartum depression (PPD) affects many women, and when you don’t feel good about the way you look, it can be even worse. If you have been affected by PPD and have body confidence issues as well, you’re not alone.

Tell your doctor your symptoms of PPD, and get the treatment you need to help you through this common and difficult mental health issue. Also, scheduling a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon, if you’re interested, may give you some insight as to whether a tummy tuck is right for you.

Too Much Extra Skin

Some women can lose weight, but not the skin. Unlike people who go through gastric bypass surgery to lose weight or the surgical lap band, you are left with a lot of extra skin when you lose weight quickly after having a baby.

This takes a lot of time to correct and, in some cases, never really does. Some women who choose to have a tummy tuck do so to rid themselves of the skin that remains after losing weight.

Do Belly Bands Work?

Belly bands are popular tools that claim to zap belly fat after giving birth. They claim to provide the body with an hourglass shape.

While wearing a tight band around your midsection sounds like a wonderfully easy path to weight loss, they do not work. In fact, they aren’t recommended after c section delivery or at any time.

In fact, belly bands and waist trainers can be detrimental to your health.

The Hazards of Waist Trainers

Many celebrities have touted waist trainers as the fix-all for everything from extra weight after giving birth to fixing an undesirable body shape. However, these celebrities have access to help like trainers, personal chefs, cosmetic surgery, etc. The tight piece of spandex around their stomach is not how they got back into a size two just three weeks after having a baby. Don’t be fooled.

Wearing a waist trainer can compress your internal organs, slow down digestion, and harm your skeletal and muscular system. Wearing one of these things also makes it harder to breathe, and when you aren’t getting enough oxygen, your circulation isn’t where it should be.

None of these potential hazards are worth it, just to get rid of a c-section pooch.

The Postpartum Support Belt

It may get a little confusing when looking at different products that may help you reduce your c-section overhang.

A postpartum support band is not the same as a belly band or a waist trainer. These are products that you wear to offer support rather than constriction.

The purpose of a support band is to hold everything around your c-section incision site in place so that c section overhang isn’t working against gravity. Support bands are also great for pregnancy, especially if you work while pregnant or are on your feet a lot.

How to get rid of hanging belly after c-section

Complications of the Tummy Tuck

While it sounds like it’s a cure-all to the issue of the hanging belly after a c-section, there are things to consider before deciding on this method or committing to it.

Cost

The cost of the consultation, procedure, pain medications, and any follow-ups may not be covered by your insurance plan, as it is usually considered an elective procedure. This is a very costly method of getting rid of your postpartum belly, and you should make sure that it is within your budget before committing to such a large investment.

Recovery Time

Recovery time for this procedure is often just as long, if not longer, than the recovery period after you have a baby. Six to eight weeks is a long time to recover, in which you will not be able to exert yourself physically anywhere near the point you can before the procedure.

This means that lifting your baby, your baby’s car seat, groceries, or other things may not be possible for two months or even longer, and if you don’t have adequate means of help with childcare and household obligations, this may not be the route for you.

Conclusion

Remember not to be too harsh on yourself after you have had a baby, your body will change, but it is essential to give yourself sufficient time to heal. Be proud of what your body is capable of doing! Once your doctor has cleared you, begin exercising and working on rebuilding your abdominal muscles. In addition, adding in a healthy diet will go a long way to reducing that hanging belly.

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