Wondering how to safely get rid of C-Section belly pooch?!
Your postpartum journey has just begun, and there are some simple ways to help you bodyheal the right way
As beautiful as birth is, a C-section is major abdominal surgery, and the recovery can be quite intensive.
During the surgery, skin, fat, and muscles are cut, your organs are moved around, and you are sewn back up once your baby is out.
One thing moms notice after a C-section is that the section of their stomach where the surgery was done tends to sag, and turns into a bit of a belly pooch.
I didn’t expect this with a c-section at all and was caught by surprise.
You could have heard that the only way you can get rid of this new pooch is through surgery, but this isn’t true.
There are some things you can do to get your belly flat again, or at least reduce the appearance of sag quite a bit.
In order to try and help your body bounce back, you need to be determined and consistent!
How To Reduce The Belly Pooch Left After A C-Section!
1. Let Your Body Rest
You cannot jump into exercise or try to reduce your belly pooch as soon as you get home from the hospital!
You have to give your body the time it needs to heal before you try to get rid of your c-section belly pooch.
Even if your scar is looking healthy and healed, a lot is going on underneath that needs to heal as well, and exercising too soon can cause some permanent damage to your tissues and muscles, and create more scar tissue which could make the pooch worse.
To really be able to work on your belly pooch, later on, you have to give your body the time it needs to heal and become strong again. For the first few weeks, you can get up and do some slow walking, but avoid targeted exercise.
Most of the time you need to rest fully for six weeks before starting a light workout regimen.
It is always best to chat with your doctor to get the go-ahead for when your exercising may start!
2. Follow A Healthy Diet
To really ensure that you work towards reducing the belly pooch, you have to follow a healthy diet. Eating clean is so important, and you need to try to reduce excess fat in your diet.
Your diet doesn’t (and won’t) be perfect all the time, but eating whole, unprocessed foods 80% of the time is a great (and easy) lifestyle to follow.
Talk to your doctor, or a nutritionist about a healthy eating plan, and stick to it.
There are also some wonderful postpartum eating plans online made especially for moms who want to reduce their belly fat.
3. Start Walking Regularly
A walking program will be such a help to reducing belly fat, and to tone your muscles all over.
It is a weight-bearing form of exercise, which means that not only does it burn calories, but it helps to build muscle and bone strength.
Walking is also a great way to get you and your baby outside and breathing in some fresh air, enjoying the sunshine.
You could even look for an outdoor stroller that you can use to push your baby in when out for walks in the park.
These strollers make walking outdoors easier and are able to travel better over different terrains.
Pushing a stroller actually adds to the calories you burn, so you might end up losing weight a little bit faster. Once you feel comfortable on even terrain, you could try to tackle some hills.
How many calories you burn when walking will depend on how long you walk for, and how briskly you walk. Your body weight will also decide how quickly you burn calories.
You might not feel like walking is targeting your belly pooch, but in order to lose this pooch, you have to lose total body weight.
Doing tons of sit-ups after your baby is born won’t help to burn belly fat, but it will give you muscle tone and strength that you will only see once the belly fat has been lost!
4. Build Muscle Mass
Cardio will help you to lose fat, but you also need to make sure you are building lean muscle as well.
You will be able to burn more calories if you have a higher muscle mass. Muscle mass is more metabolically active than fat mass, so you will be burning more calories even if you’re not exercising.
5. Do Bodyweight Exercises
In order to build muscle mass, you need to do bodyweight exercises. Once again, you should only start these exercises when your body has healed, and when your doctor says it is safe to do so.
Bodyweight exercises are perfect to get into the hang of exercising again and to get your body used to strength training.
You can start with some simple bodyweight exercises at first, such as:
- Side planks
- Split squats
- Band pull-aparts
Once you have built up an initial foundation of strength, you can then move on to different exercises, and strength training with weights.
6. Avoid Certain Exercises
There are some exercises that you need to avoid when you first get back into resistance training after birth. Some of these could prevent your body from healing properly, and could cause damage.
Some of the exercises to avoid include:
- Crunches and sit-ups
- Leg raises
- Front planks
- Heavy-weight exercises
- Heavy overhead presses
- Exercise that puts direct downward pressure on the pelvic floor.
After a c-section, try to also avoid exercises that include jumping, and high-intensity circuit training workouts. Even if you have been cleared for light exercise, these are high-intensity and should be avoided in the beginning.
7. Eat Clean Foods
For a healthy diet, it is best to include whole, unprocessed foods that are as close to their natural state that they can be.
This includes fresh fruit, vegetables, lean protein, nuts, whole grains, seeds, and even dairy in moderation.
I adhere to the 80/20 rule.
That simply means that 80% of my diet is healthy and unprocessed, and then 20% are treats or feel-good food.
I would never ban a certain type of food. I love chocolate too much!
And you never have to be so strict with yourself.
8. Avoid Sugar
When at home with a baby, it can be so tempting to grab a chocolate bar or a can of soda, but you need to avoid this and try to break the habit of eating fast foods and unhealthy snacks.
If you know you have a problem with resisting these snacks, rather do not keep them in the house at all.
There will just be too much temptation and it just isn’t worth it. Your partner and family will have to be on board as well – it is healthier for everyone.
These sugary snacks will only help add weight to your belly pooch, making it that much harder to get rid of it later on.
Try satisfying your sweet-tooth the natural way.
I have a pint of berries (all kinds; strawberries, blueberries, etc.) and when I want something sweet, it typically does the job.
Occasionally I will snack on a couple of oreos, but having a healthier alternative is typically enough to satisfy my sweet-tooth.
9. Cut Back On Carbs
Cutting back on carbs is a great way to try and lose weight. You do not need too many carbs in your diet if you don’t have a high activity level.
Try to increase your protein intake and decrease your carb intake until you are able to maintain a good exercise or activity schedule.
When I say carbs, I mean processed carbs such as refined-grain products, sweets, bread, refined-grain products, and high-sugar fruits.
Non-starchy vegetables are carbs but are whole, unprocessed and SO good for you.
Non-Starchy vegetables include:
- Amaranth or Chinese spinach
- Artichoke hearts
- Baby corn
- Bamboo shoots
- Beans (green, wax, Italian)
- Bean sprouts
- Brussels sprouts
- Cabbage (green, bok choy, Chinese)
- Coleslaw (packaged, no dressing)
- Greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip)
- Hearts of palm
- Pea pods
- Salad greens (chicory, endive, escarole, lettuce, romaine, spinach, arugula, radicchio, watercress)
- Squash (cushaw, summer, crookneck, spaghetti, zucchini)
- Sugar snap peas
- Swiss chard
- Water chestnuts
- Yard-long beans
Try and fill up your plate with half non-starchy carbs, 3-4 ounces of protein and about 100-200 calories of fat (think butter, olive oil, etc.) for a well-balanced plate.
If you are able to, you should try to breastfeed your baby exclusively for 6 to 12 months.
This will help to reduce your belly pouch, especially if you breastfeed while following a healthy diet.
Breastfeeding helps to burn calories, and it does help to get your internal organs back to normal soon after your baby is born.
This is one of the many, many benefits of breastfeeding!
11. Use A Postpartum Belly Wrap or Girdle
Some moms swear by using postpartum belly wraps to help reduce their belly pooch. These supposedly help to close separated abdominal muscles, and some doctors do recommend that new moms wear them.
Another benefit of postpartum wraps/girdles is that they help to shrink the uterus, by ensuring that all organs are back in their right place. They help to offer support and reduce pain during recovery.
Postpartum wraps are recommended for moms who have had vaginal births as well!
Note: A postpartum belly wrap/girdle and a waist trainer are two very different things. The purpose of a waist trainer is to ‘slim your waist’ and they don’t work. A postpartum girdle helps reduce swelling, fluid retention, speed up recover, and shrink the uterus. These are all things that will happen naturally, but a belly wrap or girdle helps speed up the c-section recovery process.
Make sure you buy a proper postpartum belly wrap like this one and not a waist trainer/corset which could hurt you.
12. Massage Your C-Section Scar
It is so important to massage your scar. Scar tissue never forms in an even fashion, and due to this, it could cause adhesions in your fascia, which could cause your belly pooch, as well as poor muscle recruitment and misplaced organs.
There are some great videos online which show you exactly how to massage your C-section scar to ensure that it recovers and forms evenly and properly. If done right, this really can help to reduce your belly pooch.
13. Make Use Of An Ice Belt
Cool sculpting is a method of freezing fat cells, causing them to shrink and die over a period of a couple of months. While you won’t need to do this, the idea behind it is that if you use an ice belt, your fat will begin to shrink.
You could look at purchasing an ice belt that you wear across your waist, which has pockets that you place ice gel packs into. If you wear this tightly across your waist, it should shrink your fat cells and hopefully reduce your belly pooch overtime.
This does need to be done in moderation, as you don’t want to damage your skin with too much exposure to cold.
The benefit of an ice belt is that it doubles for pain relief oon your lower back, neck, and shoulders.
Getting Rid Of Your Postpartum Belly Pooch
It might be difficult to look in the mirror and see your new belly pooch after a C-section, but remember that your body has been through an incredible journey, and it will need some time to recover.
Give your body enough time to heal, and then start a healthy diet and some light exercise to try get rid of your belly pooch!
Be gentle with yourself when trying to get rid of your c-section belly.
Overall, be in awe of your body instead of judging how it looks.
It literally created life! And it took it nine months to do so, you won’t go back to how you. were pre-pregnancy in two months.
In fact, I feel that I now look great (over one year postpartum) but have yet to fit back in my pre-pregnancy jeans and THAT’S OKAY.
Remember, your body is an instrument, not an ornament.
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