How many of us mums have asked this question? Why do I still look pregnant years after giving birth? “I can’t seem to get rid of this baby pooch”! Contrary to the deceiving postpartum belly pictures you see of celebrities in the tabloids looking flat and trim shortly after giving birth, unfortunately for most new mums, this is not the reality.
Weightloss timeliness differs for every
woman. There are so many factors that play a part in this; specifically, how much you have gained while pregnant, genetics, whether or not you’re breastfeeding and your eating and exercise habits.
Immediately after having your baby, you will notice some weight loss, as your body is getting rid of fluids. You will lose around 10-12 pounds as your uterus starts to shrink.
If you are trying to get rid of your postpartum belly by doing ab crunches or similar exercises, then stop! This is actually making it worse which can increase the separation of your abdominal muscles, a condition otherwise known as Diastasis recti. This abdominal separation occurs during pregnancy, which is completely normal, as your body is making room for your baby. Trying to tighten your abdominal muscles too quickly after birth can delay your recovery. Always check with a medical professional before resuming any physical activity during postpartum.
What you can do to tighten your abdominal muscles:
✔ Pay close attention to your diet, as certain types of foods can contribute to bloating.
✔Correct your posture. During pregnancy, your posture changes as your tummy pushes outwards. You are most likely over-arching. There are gentle exercises you can do to correct your posture.
✔Lose your weight slow and steady after childbirth. This is also very important to reduce the appearance of loose skin around the stomach.
✔Incorporate light to moderate weights into your fitness routine, as weight training builds new muscle.
✔ Use correct core exercises. When you engage your transverse muscles correctly, the lower abdomen should go ‘inwards’ as the muscle contracts.
✔Breastfeeding helps, especially in the early stages following childbirth. Women who breastfeed burn extra calories to make milk faster than women who don’t.
✔Drink water. It is recommend that you drink at least 2 litres of water a day.
Sixteen years after having my first child, I still have loose skin around my stomach. Although I have a relatively toned tummy, as a result of exercise and a balanced diet, the elasticity is not what it used to be. Pregnancy changes your body in so many ways. There are things you can do to improve it as mentioned above. Although it may never be the same pre-pregnancy. Rather than obsess about what it use to be, choose to embrace what you now have.