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 Do I Still Look Pregnant After My C Section Delivery?
- 15 HOME REMEDIES to Shrink Your Belly After a C Section
- How Long Will It Take to Shrink My Belly After a C Section?
- When and How Can I Start to Diet and Exercise after my C Section?
- What if I Don’t Want to Wait to Shrink my Tummy?
If you’re reading this, you probably have personal experience with a C-Section. Whether it was you, a friend or a family member who endured the procedure, you’re aware that a caesarean section, more commonly known as a c section, is a surgical delivery of a baby. In this procedure, a horizontal cut is made through the mother’s abdomen and uterus to safely deliver the baby. Most of the time, c sections are performed due to medical reasons. Sometimes c sections can be scheduled ahead of time and other times, they are emergency operations. 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 this type of surgery is now quite common, it’s still a major surgery. Before you even begin to think about losing the post c section belly, you have to allow yourself ample time to heal and recover. Undergoing a C-section means your muscles have been cut or moved, and you have a recovering wound on your lower abdomen. This wound must be allowed to heal, and your muscles must start to repair before you begin making any efforts to reduce your tummy area.
Having dealt with 9 months of weight gain and a growing belly, you were probably pretty excited to not have a big bump of 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. Before you get upset or frustrated, remember this is perfectly normal. Your body went through an amazing transformation to grow a baby. The miracle of life will have some consequences that will take a while for your body to work through.
Why is it that you still look pregnant after giving birth?
Well, several reasons:
- The uterus still needs to shrink. It takes the uterus 6 to 8 weeks to return to its pre-pregnancy size. Just after birth, your uterus still weighs over 2 pounds, but it’s normal weight is just about 3.5 ounces or even less. It takes time for your uterus to shrink back to normal, so be patient. The shrinking of the uterus is called “involution.” During the time your uterus is undergoing involution, 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 caesarean section. C section patients are often pumped full of iv fluids during surgery. These fluids take time to get filtered out of the system. Some women even develop a condition known as edema, where they experience swelling of the ankles, in the face and other areas. Although this symptom is typically associated with pregnancy, it is also quite common post-partum as well. This is because pregnancy itself requires the body to hold greater amounts of water and blood to support your unborn child and yourself. In fact, during pregnancy, your body produces up to 50 percent more fluids than normal. Over the first few days after giving birth, you may notice that you’ll urinate more frequently, up to 3 quarts a day! You might sweat a lot too. This all helps your body return to its normal levels of water and blood.
- 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) Once again, this is normal. In the past, it was important for women to have a bit of extra weight after birth to be able to nourish their newborn. Even though food supplies are more stable than they were for our ancestors, our bodies have retained this sort of body fat insurance for our own preservation.
- Your muscles are stretched and you may have developed diastasis recti. Any pregnancy will stretch out your abdominal muscles, meaning your tummy area won’t be as tight as it was before you got pregnant, even if you were in pretty good shape. If this pregnancy was not your first, your abdominal muscles may stretch even further, especially if you didn’t work on your abdominal muscles after previous pregnancies. This is par for the course, and with our suggested home remedies, you’ll be able to work on toning up your tummy area so that you can look and feel great again. In addition to minor stretching of your abs, some new moms develop a more serious muscle problem called diastasis recti, which is a separation between the right and left side of the abdominal walls, according to Medline Plus. In pregnancy, those abdominal muscles get stretched over a growing baby and uterus and in some cases, can pull apart or thin significantly. After pregnancy, most women’s abdominal muscles close, but a whopping 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 would otherwise.
You’re probably eager to get back on the road to recovery and enjoy your pre-pregnancy body again. While this urge is understandable, remember that before you try any of the suggested remedies below that you get approval from your doctor, especially when taking on exercise. Although you may feel great, your doctor will be able to evaluate how your c section wound is healing and the state of your overall health. Giving birth via c section takes a major toll on the body, so make sure you’re being safe about your follow up plans.
Now, let’s get on to learning how you can safely get rid of that c section pooch without even leaving the comfort of your home.
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.
That being said, there’s more than your uterus effecting your belly size. Be patient with yourself, it may take almost as long to flatten your belly as it did to grow your bump in the first place. For healthy weight loss, aim to lose about a pound per week. In terms of calories, that’s a deficit of about 500 calories per day. When you’re calculating calories, don’t forget to include the extra calories you’ll need if you’re breastfeeding. If you get too few calories, you’ll milk production will suffer. Based on the goal of losing one pound per week, it will take you about 15 weeks or nearly 4 months to lose 15 pounds of baby weight. However, the last 5-10 pounds or so may be rather stubborn. Be patient with yourself. After all, you are still adjusting to life with a newborn, so give yourself plenty of time to reach your end goal.
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.
There are no quick fixes!
Not waiting to jump into a diet and exercise program post pregnancy, birth, and surgery can have major health consequences including:
- heavier post birth bleeding which can lead to anemia
- joint and muscles injuries
- splitting the incisions in your uterus or abdomen
- increased risk of infection
It’s is crucial to get your doctor’s ok prior to doing anything more than light exercise post c section.
Conclusions: Is It Possible to Shrink Your Belly at Home after a 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. Because celebrities make their living off of their image, they may use more extreme weight loss methods that aren’t as safe to bounce back into shape. However, you and your baby’s health should come first. 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.
Once you’ve recovered, with these 15 home remedies to reduce your tummy after a c section in hand, you’ll be ready to make your own personal weight loss plan and succeed in your goals. Have you already gotten started on your post-pregnancy weight loss plan? We’d love to hear about your progress and about other methods you’ve found helpful! Tell us all about your post-c section weight loss journey in the comments below.