Giving birth is a truly magical thing. Moms are incredible, they grow and bring life into the world and then go on to love the tiny humans they created, completely and unconditionally.
Magical as it may be, it is no secret that pregnancy and birth can cause women’s bodies to change and it can take a long time for new moms to ‘get their body back.’
If you have a C-section you may now have a belly that overhangs and will not go back to normal, no matter how hard you try.
Recovering from childbirth, either natural or C-section delivery takes time but there are steps you can take to get rid of a hanging belly after a C-section.
In this article
- Why Do I have An Overhang After C-section?
- How Long Does It Take For Pouch To Go Away After C-Section?
- How To Get Rid Of C-Section Overhang Without Surgery? – 7 Tips To Get Rid Of A Hanging Belly
- C-section Overhang Surgery
- The Final Thought
Why Do I have An Overhang After C-section?
It is sometimes said that having a C-section is the easy way out when it comes to giving birth.
Having a natural delivery is by no means easy and can be a traumatic and drawn-out process for many women but some people wrongly assume having the baby surgically removed through your abdomen is a breeze.
If giving birth didn’t hurt and you found it much easier than you expected, you are in the minority.
Getting a baby out of your body into the world is seldom a walk in the park, no matter if you push the baby out or have a Caesarean section to deliver the baby.
Having a C-section isn’t easy, it is a major surgery that often has a longer recovery time than natural birth. Giving birth via a C-section can also cause new moms to have a stomach overhang.
An ‘apron belly’ is common after pregnancy but the condition seems to affect moms who had a C-section more so than those who had a vaginal birth.
If you have a stomach overhang after having a C-section, you are not alone. A sagging belly after pregnancy is normal and there are several reasons why this happens:
Increase in skin surface area
As your baby grows and your bump expands during pregnancy, the surface area of the skin on your stomach increases. Once your baby is no longer inside your womb, the skin surface area does not immediately shrink back down to normal.
During pregnancy, your abdominal muscles stretch to accommodate your growing baby. This extreme stretching weakens the stomach muscles and they will no longer be able to keep your abdominal wall flat and strong.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy will cause your skin to become thinner than usual. Thin skin is laxer and will be helping to create that stomach overhang that so many new moms dislike.
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When a woman has a C-section, surgeons cut into the skin, connective tissues in the abdomen and uterine wall to be able to deliver the baby.
However, this major surgery will leave new moms with a scar across the bottom of their stomachs.
A belly overhang happens regularly after a C-section because the incision scar has a similar effect to a tight band across the abdomen. The stretched skin with little elasticity will hang over the tight C-section scar, creating a stomach hang or ‘C-section’ pouch, as it is often called.
Getting your baby into the world safely is the most important thing and if it comes at the price of your once flat stomach, don’t worry.
You are a mommy now, give your baby a cuddle and keep reading to find out how you can get rid of a hanging belly after a C-section.
How Long Does It Take For Pouch To Go Away After C-Section?
Every woman is unique and every postpartum recovery is a personal journey. You have probably figured out by now that you won’t just immediately get your old body back within days of giving birth.
It took you 9 months to grow your baby and you need to give your body time to heal and recover – ‘bouncing back’ to pre-pregnancy size is not the reality for the majority of women.
There is no set time limit for losing the baby weight or the C-section pouch shrinking and your stomach looking like its old self again. Pregnancy takes its toll on your body and it does take a while for everything to go back to how it used to be.
In the early days and weeks after delivery, you are likely to still look pregnant.
Instead of a baby bump, you will now have a soft and deflated belly, your stomach may still appear large and have little to no muscle definition, this is all completely normal.
Your uterus will not completely shrink back to its normal size until around 6 weeks postpartum so don’t expect your stomach to look anything like it used to before then.
The postpartum period is a time for recovery and bonding with your baby. You should not be focussing on shedding the baby’s weight.
However, once you are cleared to exercise by your physician, there are steps you can take to begin to safely lose weight and get rid of the C-section pouch.
Suggested Article: How To Get Rid Of Stomach Crease Lines
How To Get Rid Of C-Section Overhang Without Surgery? – 7 Tips To Get Rid Of A Hanging Belly
If your doctor has given you the go-ahead to start exercising again following your C-section, you can now start taking steps to get rid of your C-section pouch.
Before embarking on this weight loss journey, it is important to remember all women are unique and what works for one mom doesn’t always work for another.
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If you are ready to start getting your pre-pregnancy stomach back, here are 7 tips to help repair the stomach overhang after a C-section:
The first step to healing and losing weight after pregnancy is getting plenty of rest. We know, it is easier said than done when you have a newborn baby but getting enough sleep will help your body to lose weight.
Try and get 7 hours of sleep a day, being well-rested will help you have more energy to exercise and will give your overall mood a boost too.
Eat a healthy balanced diet
Eating healthily is important at all stages of life but is an essential part of any weight loss journey.
If you want to lose your mommy tummy and get rid of your post-C-section overhang, you need to be eating lots of fruit, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and drinking lots of water.
The healthier you eat, the quicker you will start to see the results you want when you look at your stomach.
When starting an exercise regime after a C-section, it is vital you are given the green light by your doctor first. Exercising too soon after surgery can cause complications and result in more harm than good.
Once you have been given the go-ahead, you can start doing some exercises to tighten up your tummy muscles and reduce the size of your stomach overhang.
Remember to take it slow, you will be able to get rid of your mommy tummy in time, don’t rush the process as you might injure yourself. Here are some core exercises that are safe to do if you have had a C-section:
- Side planks
- Pelvic tilts
- Heel slides
- Wall sits
Walking is a simple and safe way to ease yourself back into exercise following a C-section. Pop your baby in the stroller and head out for a walk to the park or just around the block.
Can you get to meet your new mommy friends on foot instead of driving? The more physically active you are the better.
If you want to lose weight to help shed any fat in your stomach overhang, you need to be burning calories. Going for long walks is an easy way to burn calories and you don’t need a gym membership or any special equipment.
Breastfeed your baby
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Did you know breastfeeding burns calories? There are lots of reasons to breastfeed and the fact nursing can help you lose weight is just one of them. Breastfeeding is thought to burn around 500 extra calories a day.
Nursing mothers should not be following strict diets that cut out whole food groups but you can safely lose weight while breastfeeding.
When a woman breastfeeds her womb will shrink back down to normal quicker than if she were feeding her baby formula.
The uterus shrinks more quickly in nursing mothers because breastfeeding releases oxytocin, the hormone responsible for causing contractions. Oxytocin helps the uterus to contract and get back down to its normal size down in the pelvis.
Hire a personal trainer
If you are struggling to come up with an effective exercise regime on your own, why not try hiring a personal trainer?
There are personal trainers who specialize in helping women get rid of the C-section overhanging belly after pregnancy. It is important you work out consistently but safely to see results and avoid injury.
A personal trainer can tailor a workout schedule to meet your specific needs and help you on your journey to a flat stomach after a C-section.
Instead of a personal trainer, you could try the MUTU program to help you get rid of your C-section pouch or stomach overhang.
MUTU is an online program that has been designed to help moms exercise safely during pregnancy and postpartum recovery.
The MUTU program is medically proven to help prevent and heal diastasis recti and proven to positively impact the mental health of new moms.
Wear a belly band
Postpartum stomach compression – or ‘belly bands’ – are sometimes worn after a C-section to promote healing and protect the scar caused by the incision.
However, many moms have praised belly bands for helping them on their journey to a flatter stomach after delivery.
Belly bands will not help you to lose weight but they can help to tighten your stomach muscles, reduce swelling and give your stomach a flatter appearance under clothes.
It is always best to ask your doctor if it is safe for you to use a compression garment following a C-section. A belly band won’t reduce the fat in your stomach overhang but it can help tighten your abdominal muscles and help repair diastasis recti (separated abdominal muscles).
C-section Overhang Surgery
For some women, exercise and time is not the route they want to take to a flatter stomach.
Sometimes women can follow a strict exercise regime and healthy diet and still not lose the C-section overhang as quickly as they want to. There is an option to have surgery to remove a stomach overhang or C-section pouch.
The most common way to get rid of a C-section overhang is with an abdominoplasty procedure, more commonly known as a ‘tummy tuck’.
Tummy tuck procedures involve a surgeon removing excess skin, fat, unwanted scars, stretch marks, and tightening the stomach muscles. This surgery will remove a C-section overhang and create the appearance of a flatter stomach.
Cosmetic surgery is expensive and it is not the answer for everyone. Recovery from a tummy tuck can take weeks and it may be hard for you to rest when you are looking after a baby or toddler.
Tummy tuck results vary from person to person and it is important to discuss your expectations and ask as many questions as you like during your consultation with your surgeon.
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How do I get rid of a hanging c-section belly?
In the first instance, diet and exercise will be your best bet at getting rid of your hanging belly. But if this is not working or you want a quicker solution then a tummy tuck may be something that you need to consider.
Is it harder to lose belly after a c-section?
There is a common belief that getting a c-section might make it harder to reduce post-pregnancy belly fat. Although a c-section does involve major abdominal surgery you can still lose excess belly fat.
When does the stomach go down after a C-section?
You need to give your body time to heal. It can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks for your uterus to go back to its normal size.
The Final Thought
It is possible to get rid of a hanging belly after a C-section. If you have a pouch or stomach that hangs over your C-section scar, do not despair.
When you are feeling ready and exercise has been approved by your doctor, you can start working out and concentrating on strengthening and tightening your abdominal muscles.
As you start to lose weight through exercise and healthy eating, you should notice your stomach overhang begin to go away.
The healing process following a C-section will not happen overnight. Show yourself some love and compassion, your belly was just home to your baby for the last 9 months, your body is amazing.
Give yourself time and follow the tips above and you will be feeling more comfortable in your new body before you know it.