So you survived pregnancy and childbirth? Any mom will tell you: pregnancy and childbirth is no easy feat, especially if you have a c section. While you are left recovering from the grueling task of growing and birthing a tiny human from your body, you are probably pretty surprised by the state of your tummy after baby. Never fear, mama, you can get rid of that post baby belly naturally even after a c section.
But, it’s important to be realistic. Just because all the celebrities have bikini bodies seconds after giving birth either by c section or naturally, doesn’t mean this is normal. Chances are it will take you much longer to reclaim your flat belly after a c section, and that’s ok. Just because it will take a little time and work, doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
Read on to discover tips and trick to shrink your tummy at home after delivery and beat that c section pooch for good.
Here Is What You’ll Discover in This Article (Click any of the links below to jump to each section):
- What is a C Section
- Why you still look pregnant after birth
- How long it will take to get your belly back to normal
- When and how you can diet safely after birth
- What if I don’t want to wait to shrink my tummy after c section?
- HOME REMEDIES to shrink your tummy after a c section delivery
The Mayo Clinic defines a Caesarean Section or C Section as the surgical delivery of a baby through incisions through the mother’s abdomen and uterus. Though a c section may be scheduled ahead of time, often the need for a c section isn’t known until labor is underway. Common reasons for a c section include:
- Stalled Labor
- Lack of Oxygen to the Baby
- Baby’s Position
- Problems with the Umbilical Cord
- Problems with the Placenta
- Health Concerns that Require a Speedy Delivery
- A History of C Sections
Though as many as 1/3 of all American births take place via C Section and they are a common surgery, they are still a major surgery. Before you even begin to think about loosing the post c section belly, you have to allow yourself ample time to heal and recover.
Having dealt with 9 months of weight gain and a growing belly, you were probably pretty excited to not have a big bump for a belly anymore. Don’t pack your pre-baby jeans for the hospital though. Even though the baby is out, your belly might still look a bit pregnant.
Why is that?
Well, several reasons:
- The uterus still needs to shrink. It takes the uterus 6 to 8 weeks to return to its pre-pregnancy state. During this time, you will likely still look a little pregnant and get to experience the joys of continued contractions as the uterus shrinks. (1)
- You may be retaining fluid from your delivery, especially post caesaran section. C section patients are often pumped full of iv fluids during surgery. These fluids take time to get filtered out of the system.
- You are likely holding on to extra weight. In a healthy pregnancy, doctors urge women to gain between 25 and 35 pounds. While you do lose about 10 pounds during birth between a 7 to 8 pound baby and 2 to 3 pounds of amniotic fluid and blood, that still leaves you with an extra 15 to 25 pounds of added weight remaining. (2)
- You may have developed diastasis recti. Medline Plus defines diastasis recti as a separation between the right side and left side of the abdominal wall. In pregnancy, those abdominal muscles get stretched over a growing baby and uterus and can pull apart or thin. After pregnancy, most women’s abdominal muscles close, but a whooping 30 percent are left with a gap wider than 2 finger widths apart. Aside from having annoying health related concerns associated with this abdominal gap like urinary incontinence and hernias, this gap can make a postpartum belly look worse than it needs to.
Your belly will be doing some heavy duty shrinking in the first few weeks post delivery. The excess fluid should work through your system within a couple weeks, and your uterus will begin to shrink, contributing to a thinning belly with little extra work on your part in the beginning.
Do keep in mind: it took 9 long months to grow your belly to the size it was to house a baby. After birth, whether you deliver vaginally or via c section, it will take your uterus 6 to 8 weeks to shrink down to its pre pregnancy size.
So why does it take so long for your uterus to shrink?
According to Baby Center, by the time you actually go into labor or deliver your bundle of joy via c section, your uterus has expanded to be 15 times heavier and hold 500 times more capacity than it did prior to getting pregnant. Unfortunately, your uterus needs time, often referred to as the 4th trimester, to return to its normal size after all that growth.
Immediately post birth, a doctor or nurse can feel your uterus near your belly button, which is approximately where it is located at 20 weeks pregnant. It takes an entire 2 weeks for your uterus to return completely to the pelvis and still another several weeks for your uterus to reach pre- baby size.
During this time, your belly will continue to have a little bit of a bump.
After the initial 6 to 8 weeks is up, your uterus will have returned to normal and you can begin the process of losing any extra baby weight and toning up your belly in earnest. Be patient with yourself though, it may take almost as long to flatten your belly as it did to grow your bump in the first place.
Most doctors won’t approve a new mom to start doing anything other than very light exercise for 6 weeks after delivery. Post C Section, some doctors recommend waiting 8 weeks or more to let yourself fully heal from your surgery.
According to What to Expect when You’re Expecting, dieting isn’t recommended for first 6 weeks post birth either. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery tax the body quite heavily. A new mom needs all the nutrition she can get to begin to replenish her vitamin and mineral stores.
Patience is key when getting your belly slim after a c section.
It’s is crucial to get your doctor’s ok prior to doing anything more than light exercise post c section.
Now that you’ve been cleared to start exercising and dieting, you probably can’t wait to tone your tummy up after your c section.
Yes, getting rid of your post c section tummy is possible with a little hard work and a lot of patience. While it seems like every celebrity gives birth and is immediately bikini ready, the reality is different. Before you should even begin worrying about your tummy, you need to allow yourself ample time to heal and recovery from pregnancy, birth, and major surgery.