In a dream world, a woman’s stomach will automatically return to its original size after giving birth. In the real world, this isn’t the case.
So, you have just given birth to a beautiful baby, and you may be wondering how long it will take until you can get a flat stomach again. Firstly, congratulations! Your body has just been a home to a new human. Secondly, it’ll take a lot of work and patience to get a flat stomach after giving birth. This isn’t something to feel negative about, instead you should celebrate the incredible thing your body has just done.
For some moms, however, they may feel more comfortable with a flatter stomach post-birth. This is understandable, but moms should never feel pressured into doing this! If you want to know our top tips on how to get a flat stomach after having a baby, you’ve come to the right place.
When Can I Start Exercising After Birth?
This depends on how your pregnancy went. If you had a successful birth with no complications, you can actually start exercising several days after the birth, or whenever you feel comfortable. If you had a C-Section, a complicated pregnancy, or vaginal repair, you will need to wait until your body has properly healed. Professional help will guide you through this.
It also depends on whether you exercised during pregnancy. If you did light exercise throughout your pregnancy, this may mean that you can start exercising a few days after giving birth.
If you feel as if you are ready to start light exercises, then listen to your body!
Exercising is always good for the body and mind, especially during and after pregnancy if possible. Not only is it beneficial for keeping your body healthy, but the endorphins and hormones released during exercise can work to prevent postnatal depression. Exercise will also increase your energy levels (if you don’t exhaust yourself too soon), which will make caring for your newborn easier.
The best exercises to begin with after birth have to be light. Taking yourself and your newborn on daily walks is beneficial for everyone, and doesn’t have to be intense. Your stamina and speed will eventually increase as your strength returns, and then you can increase the length of your walks.
As with all forms of exercise, the most important steps are the warm-up and cool-down exercises. You need to be patient with your body, so going straight into exercises (even if they are light) can cause strain and stress on your body.
If you want to get a flat tummy, cardio will be your new best friend. Your body has built a lot of necessary fat to support your bones and muscles through pregnancy and birth, and the fastest way to burn this is through cardio. It doesn’t have to be intense, and can start with only a couple of hours in a week. Cardio exercises can range from swimming, light jogging, stepping machines, and just an aerobic workout from a DVD.
Remember - your body has to lose the fat it has gained before it can start toning muscles, so focus on cardio before you do anything else.
Pelvic floor exercises are great for toning the lower stomach and for protecting yourself from stress incontinence. These muscles were stretched during the birth, so they will need specific focus to get them back into shape. Crunches and abdominal exercises are great for toning a tummy anyway, but make sure to only do these when your body feels strong enough to. Always start slow and with minimal reps, and listen to your body - remember, you’re not going to have a six pack immediately after giving birth. Don’t expect immediate results if you have not lost the fat first.
What About Diet?
When people think of weight loss and getting a flat tummy, they turn to a low calorie and low fat diet. After giving birth, this is the last thing you want to do.
Your body needs all the nutrients it can get from a healthy, nutritious, and high-fuel diet. This is especially the case for breastfeeding, as your baby will take all the nutrients that your body has left over from the food you eat.
Of course, don’t go stuffing your face with burgers and what not, because that’s not healthy anyway. Just focus on fueling your body with healthy and energy-improving foods to regain your strength. Without this strength, you cannot do the exercises that will help your tummy get flat!
Does Binding Work?
Binding is a popular method to flatten a stomach after giving birth. It’s commonly used by celebrity moms (alongside cosmetic surgeries, of course). If you gave birth through a C-section, binding can actually relieve your body from the pain and provides comfort. It also encourages your stomach to gain the flat formation that binding forces, which can increase the speed of getting a flat stomach.
As with exercise, make sure to not go too hard with binding. Stick to tight fitting cotton and nothing that is too restricting or uncomfortable. It might not work for everyone, but it’s worth a try!
Stretch marks are unavoidable, but this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. They are completely natural and understandable - your body has literally stretched to hold a human baby, so of course it’s going to leave some marks! Whether you’re starting to work towards a flat tummy or not, you cannot get rid of stretch marks that quickly. If you want to conceal your stretch marks, there are oils and creams that can fasten the rate of the natural disappearance of the lines.
Our main piece of advice is to listen to your body. It’s not physically possible to immediately get a flat stomach after giving birth, and it’s not even always possible to have a completely flat stomach before birth. You need to be patient and consider how complicated and painful your birth experience was before you look into tummy-toning exercises. Listen to your body, and celebrate it for all it has achieved!