No matter how body-positive you are, every new mom has one question. How long does it take for the belly to go back to “normal” after delivery? The fact is that your body has changed immensely through the course of your pregnancy and this process will take some time. There are several reasons why you still have that bulge or what most people call it, the “pregnancy pouch”.
It Does Not Happen Immediately
Even after you have delivered your baby, your belly will remain soft and round for a few weeks. This resembles the belly that you had when you were about 5 or 6 months pregnant. The good news is that this is perfectly normal.
Also read: Celebrity Moms Who Had A C-Section Share Their Weight Loss Secrets
There are several factors that determine how your belly will look after delivery. This includes your genetic make-up, the amount of pregnancy weight gained, whether you choose to breastfeed or not and your lifestyle.
It is important to understand that along with the expanding uterus, the skin around it also expands to accommodate it. This is why losing the pregnancy belly is a very slow process. In fact, it takes up to 8 weeks for the uterus to shrink back to its original size.
The First Two Weeks
Immediately after birth, women will lose an average of 6kgs of 12 pounds. This is because the baby is out and you have lost the amniotic fluid and other fluids after birth. After this, however, weight loss is gradual.
For the first week after pregnancy, you will still be losing some of the fluids. The first two weeks are all about the hormonal changes occurring in your body. So, experts advice new moms not to get on the scale at this stage but just take note of how they feel in general and more, importantly how the clothes are fitting.
What Factors Affect the Postpartum Belly?
Although on an average, the pregnancy belly will return to normal by the ninth month after delivery, there are several factors that determine this period:
- If you have gained more than 30 pounds or 15 kilos during your pregnancy, the transition to ‘normalcy’ is slower.
- Women who have given birth for the first time tend to get slimmer a lot faster. In the case of multiple births, a condition called diastasis recti may occur. This is when the muscles on the right and left side on the surface of the belly tend to separate. It is not a painful condition. However, there is more soft tissue and skin on the front of the belly which is harder to lose.
- Whether you are breastfeeding or not determines how fast you will lose the belly. When you are breastfeeding, the body burns a lot more calories in order to produce milk, helping you lose your baby weight a lot faster.
- For women who have had a C-section, the primary focus is on the wounds healing. This additional burden of sutures means that the belly will take longer to reduce.
Also read: 5 Tips To Weight Loss Through Exercise After Delivery
Tips for Faster Results
There are a few things that you can do in order to lose the postpartum belly faster:
- If you have not had a C-section, belly binding with a cotton cloth is a great way to help the muscles of the stomach regain their natural tone. This also helps support your back and the sagging skin around your belly.
- Stay active. The more you move around, the more calories your body will burn. Although you may not be able to indulge in serious training immediately after birth, you can walk or perform post-natal exercises to speed up the process.
- Breastfeeding is a great way to burn more calories.
- Most women may feel tempted to go on a diet immediately after delivery. However, for the first 6 weeks, it is recommended that you continue to maintain a high-calorie diet, especially if you are breastfeeding. After this period, you can slowly cut back on 300-500 calories by either changing your diet or by exercising.
- Address your mental health carefully. Postpartum depression is a very common condition that can reduce the response of your body to all the attempts that you are making to lose your pregnancy belly.
Also read: 6 most effective Exercises to lose weight after pregnancy
The key is to have patience when it comes to your pregnancy belly. Do not compare your progress to others and just enjoy the phase of motherhood.
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