HANGING BELLY AFTER PREGNANCY

What Causes a Hanging Belly after Pregnancy + 10 Simple Tips for Getting Rid of it!

Pregnancy and motherhood bring about so many changes for women. Many of those changes are beautiful, like feeling the pride in knowing that you were able to carry life into this world or watching this little human grow so quickly every day. Some changes however bring frustration to new moms. Many find themselves looking at their new, post-pregnancy body and see nothing but flaws that seem impossible to fix. One of those is the annoying hanging belly after pregnancy.

This post-partum belly looks nothing like the firm belly of your youth, and with a new life depending on you for their every need, and the minimal US maternity leave time, many moms find themselves overwhelmed with the idea of having to add extreme fitness routines or harsh diets to their schedule to gain a body they can be proud of.

If that is you and you’ve been wondering how to lose the saggy post-partum belly then continue reading for a few tips to help you lose the pregnancy belly.

saggy belly after pregnancy, hanging belly after pregnancy

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What causes a hanging belly?

The hanging belly some moms notice after pregnancy, also known as apron belly, is often seen as a result of weight gain or following pregnancy. It is due to access fat forming below the stretched skin under the abdominal muscles.

Many times, the sagging pregnancy belly is due to diastasis recti, which is a separation of the abdominal muscles caused during and seen after pregnancy. To test for diastasis recti, simply lay on your back with your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Once in position, lift your head as if you are doing a crunch and then feel along your stomach. If it feels like your finger drops in between your muscles, you may have diastasis recti.

Regardless of how much weight you gained during pregnancy, any mom who did not begin her pregnancy with relatively firm abs is at risk of developing the dreaded mom pooch. It’s really anticlimatic for the mom who has just experienced the highs of pregnancy to then experience some guilt or shame at their personal appearance, and unfortunately its common.

The first thing I want to emphatically address is this. YOU ARE AMAZING MAMA! You created a life. You nurtured that life, that life is now experiencing humanity, and that’s because of you!

How do I get rid of saggy belly after pregnancy?

Now that you understand a bit about where the saggy belly after pregnancy comes from lets talk recovery. Pregnancy is such a beautiful thing and there are changes that occur in your body (obs right?). It took 9-10 months for those changes to occur so you have to give yourself grace and understand that it rebounding from those changes won’t happen overnight.

With that being said, there are a few things you can do to help the process along. Its basically a 3 step process to go about attacking the belly fat after pregnancy. Those steps are:

  • Add postpartum core and pelvic floor exercises to your fitness routine
  • Clean up your diet
  • Consider skin firming products

In this next few sections we will dive into each of these and get a few tips to help along the way.

Postpartum core and pelvic floor exercises

Starting a fitness routine can be difficult for anyone, but for the mom post pregnancy it can feel like an impossible task. When I had my daughter, I was excited to lose all of the baby weight right away, but caring for a toddler slowly helped me add the weight back on my own… UGH!! Anywho, when I finally decided I was mentally ready to take my body back, I found that my core was a mess!

I could barely lift my legs when doing leg lifts and I had no bladder control when I did sit ups. It wasn’t until I really started diving into the postpartum core that I truly started to see some results!

Pelvic floor exercises are sort of the basis for rebuilding your core post pregnancy and repairing diastasis recti (should you be suffering from this).

Get help with a fitness routine

Trying to figure out one more thing on your own can be enough to make you lose it! If your untoned post-pregnancy belly is caused by diastasis recti, then you need to try Every Mother. This program combines research-based workouts with efficient and effective regimens that fit any stage of motherhood. Whether you are an expecting mama who wants to prevent issues as best you can or a mama who has been in the post-partum stage for several months, Every Mother has a plan for you!

Do not forget Strength Training

Try light strength training can help you rebuild your postpartum core. This includes Kegel exercises to strengthen from the inside out. Make sure you consult your care provider and make sure you get the okay from them prior to starting any intense routine. Completing an exercise routine that is curated for moms post pregnancy is your best bet to safe effective fitness changes.  Remember here pos

Clean Nutrition

The next step in reducing the saggy belly after pregnancy is to clean up your diet. Now, I want to be clear here, I have dieted a LOT. I’ve tried nearly all of them and for me nothing is really as long lasting as learning the science behind the foods I eat and choosing a more mindful approach.

Considering the foods I put into my body as fuel. Separating the reward nature of food in my life, and considering portions. I really had to take a good look at my eating habits (I ate emotionally) and attack those! One aid that has really helped me understand my relationship with food has been Noom! It works for no other reason than it is the only app that helped me work on the mental part of weight loss before super diving into the symptoms of weight gain. Mind over matter right! Here are a few steps that worked for me.

Conscious snack planning

Whether you are nursing on demand or simply getting use to the demands of a newborn, planning your snacks is a huge part of regaining some version of your pre-pregnancy body. Try to add filling but healthy snacks that are grab and go to your grocery list like, nuts, fruit, tuna, and veggie sticks. Remember the less preparation the better for these snacks!

Water is the X-factor of weight management

Drinking the right amount of water each day can cause you to feel full longer and can keep you from misreading dehydration for hunger as both have similar signals. Keeping a water bottle that holds your goal water intake amount each day is an excellent way stay hydrated and tone your postpartum tummy.

Track what you eat

If portion control and mindless eating are your downfall, keeping a food diary can help you to see what you are eating and what habits you should avoid! You can use a digital program like Myfitnesspal or a physical journal to keep track of what foods you eat daily.

Skin firming Products

Now the last step in reducing your loose skin following pregnancy is to look into skin firming products and treatments if necessary. Loose skin is one of the major things many moms notice in the months after pregnancy. After your body has readjusted to no longer housing your baby inside, the skin that at one time stretched to accommodate your little one does not rebound and results in a wrinkled or saggy appearance.

There are a few things that can be done here to help firm your skin.

Get More antioxidants

Antioxidants are often pushed for everything health and beauty because they are crazy beneficial. So many things in our environment affect the elasticity in our skin, antioxidants help repair this damage. Foods that include antioxidants include blueberries, strawberries, and many vegetables. You can also consider massage with plant-based oils which contain antioxidants.

What to look for in a skin firming product

Skin firming creams are a hot item these days, and for good reason. The daily application of these products is not only shown to get results over time. In many ways, we have gotten out of the lost art of moisturizing, so these products can also help to build a luxurious self-care routine.

When deciding on a product you want to look for items that include ingredients like collagen, vitamin C, and retinoids.

Try tummy wraps

If you are looking for a temporary fix or just to start seeing results while you work on the more long lasting processes you can try a skin wrap from a spa. Wraps that use products like powdered kelp, clay and sea salt (all of which may help soften and tighten the skin) can be used for a special occasion.

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Embrace a rhythm of working and resting and get more done! Get your copy of our Purposeful Productivity Journal and find more time for the daily tasks that matter and quickly begin creating routines that prioritize rest.

Frequently asked questions about hanging belly after pregnancy

Here are a few frequently asked questions about toning your postpartum core and firming saggy belly skin following pregnancy.

Is it possible to tighten loose skin on stomach?

Yes it is possible, but you have to be in it for the long run. If you want to go about tightening your loose skin naturally, you have to remember that it doesn’t happen overnight. Proper exercise, nutrition, and the aid of skin firming products can help.

How long does it take for belly skin to tighten after pregnancy?

It takes about 6 weeks for your postpartum belly and uterus to return to its normal size. After this time, the skin can start to recoil if you are properly treating it with moisturizing skin firming products and clean eating.

How can I firm up my saggy belly skin?

You can use the three step process of postpartum core and pelvic floor exercises, clean nutrition and skin firming product to help firm up saggy belly skin post pregnancy.

Additional tips to help you reduce the saggy belly skin after pregnancy

Now, I have been there mama! It took me until my daughter was nearly 18 months before I finally had had enough of my saggy belly. I was proud of everything my body was able to accomplish but I was sort of over feeling like I was still carrying baby weight (plus some if I am honest). The snap back was more of just a snap. Anywho, there are a few other things that really helped me c

Tip #1 Get a Smart Watch

When you need to get some fitness motivation quickly, a fitness watch is the ticket. Fitness watches allow you to monitor your steps (hello fitness while walking a baby). The step goal can help motivate you to take an afternoon walk or to make a few more laps around the living room while you are rocking the baby. My favorite is my Fitbit Versa!

Remember that fitness is not a sprint race, it’s a marathon. Toning your pregnancy belly after having a baby takes time and every literal step counts!

Tip #2 Breastfeed to give yourself an extra push

While you may not lose all your goal weight nursing your baby, one of the awesome benefits of breastfeeding is its ability to help your body put things back into their pre-pregnancy position, as well as burn calories. In early stages of nursing, when baby feeds, your uterus contracts back into its pre-pregnancy shape and size. This can also help give the appearance of a more toned midsection. In addition, its estimated that nursing moms burn an average of 500 more calories a day which could lead to faster weight loss after birth and the toned tummy you desire.

Tip #3 Cardio

One of the bets ways to get your heart pumping and to burn a few extra calories is with cardio routines. Time post pregnancy is limited, I know! When my daughter was younger I barely had time to shower without hearing the wailing cries of a baby needing milk. I loved fitting Tabata style workouts into my day. I could easily fit three 4-minute Tabata sets in my day. Taking a walk outside with baby is another way to increase the amount of cardio you get each day!

Tip #4 Dress for Right Now

Dressing for success should not be reserved for the boardroom. Wearing clothes that make you look and feel good is a version of physical self care. Feeling comfortable in the clothes you wear is a great motivator for sticking with a workout routine. Purchase an outfit (perhaps a workout outfit) that you feel good in at your current look!

Tip #5 Cardio

One of the bets ways to get your heart pumping and to burn a few extra calories is with cardio routines. Time post pregnancy is limited, I know! When my daughter was younger I barely had time to shower without hearing the wailing cries of a baby needing milk. I loved fitting Tabata style workouts into my day. I could easily fit three 4-minute Tabata sets in my day. Taking a walk outside with baby is another way to increase the amount of cardio you get each day!

Tip #6 Dress for Right Now

Dressing for success should not be reserved for the boardroom. Wearing clothes that make you look and feel good is a version of physical self care. Feeling comfortable in the clothes you wear is a great motivator for sticking with a workout routine. Purchase an outfit (perhaps a workout outfit) that you feel good in at your current look!

Tip #7 Be kind to yourself with affirmations

While the extra weight and hanging belly is annoying, it doesn’t define who you are! You are a super loved mama! You birthed a beautiful little, or more than one. Find words that empower and encourage you in this new journey. The refection in the mirror may not be what you desire to see, but that reflection is cherished, loved and more powerful than you know. While the extra weight and hanging belly is annoying, it doesn’t define who you are!

You are a super loved mama! You birthed a beautiful little, or more than one. Find words that empower and encourage you in this new journey. The refection in the mirror may not be what you desire to see, but that reflection is cherished, loved and more powerful than you know.

Tip #8 Celebrate little wins

Remember that you are a gem! You rocked pregnancy, whether it was with flying colors or with a white flag. You made a whole human! That is worth celebrating and the body that you are trying to love helped you do that! Be patient as your body returns to a new normal and remember if it was capable of growing a little one, it can also be shaped into a healthy fit look you are desiring.

Tip #9 Get a walking partner

There are times when the motivation just isn’t there. No matter how frustrated you are with your appearance, long days with baby after long days at work make working out more of a chore than a desired method of self-care. When that’s the case, having an accountability partner to count on is key. This can be in the form of a workout buddy, walking partner, or just a friend to send you text reminder to get moving.

Tip #10 Workout with baby

Try doing a little tummy work while baby is doing tummy time. There are several exercises that can be done in a laying down position. Having a few of these as go-to routines makes multitasking while staring into the eyes of your sweet little one a breeze.

Toning your hanging belly after pregnancy takes time

Remember how wonderfully you are made mama! The sagging belly we see post-partum is frustrating and at times we want nothing more than to just bounce back. Society tells us that we have failed if we don’t bounce back.

This thought pattern is not only destructive, it is also completely untrue! You grew a human, you are keeping said human alive, you have made the transition from individual to mama. That is a blessing!

It takes time to re-do what was undone, but its not impossible. If you need a tribe to help encourage you, check out the Rest and Reset Tribe on Facebook!

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