Do you find yourself wondering why you still look pregnant after giving birth?
After giving birth, many mothers try to get back into shape only to be frustrated because it’s not happening fast enough. In fact, some women look very much pregnant after giving birth.
Even with adjustments to their lifestyle (reducing daily calorie intake and incorporating regular exercise), it can still take a while to see results, leading them to feel like a failure.
Why do women still look pregnant after giving birth?
Why do I still look pregnant after giving birth?
This is a common question among women who are missing their pre-baby bodies. However, the answer to that is not that simple as it involves a lot of different factors.
For most women, it takes six to eight weeks for their stomach to shrink back down to normal size after giving birth. This is because both the stomach and uterus expand to accommodate a baby.
The uterus makes room for the baby by expanding over the pubic bone, pushing out the abdomen in the process. Hence, women can appear pregnant even after the delivery.
It takes on average six to eight weeks to lose the baby weight.
It is important to be patient when trying to get your post-baby belly to shrink. Besides, it took nine months for your abdominal muscles to stretch and accommodate a full-term baby.
So it only makes sense that it will also take a while (a few weeks or months) for it to tighten up again.
You also need to remember that women’s bodies are different; some may find it easier to lose that stubborn pregnancy weight while others may be stuck with it for longer periods of time.
The speed and degree of the belly shrinking and tightening can depend on a few factors, such as:
- What shape and size you were before you got pregnant
- How much weight you gained during pregnancy
- How physically active you are
- Your genes (this is something you can’t do anything about)
Some mums may find it easier to shed the weight if they:
- Gained less weight than average during pregnancy.
- Are breastfeeding
- Just had their first baby
Diastasis recti and abdominal separation
Some women suffer from diastasis recti, or abdominal separation while pregnant. This can be one reason why you still look pregnant after you already gave birth.
Diastasis recti occurs as your uterus expands, separating your stomach muscles. It makes your stomach protrude.
Hormones have a role in this, as does the pressure that a growing baby places on your body.
Women who have had multiple children, twins, or a bigger infant may experience abdominal separation. You may detect an unusual shape or protrusion in your stomach if you have abdominal separation.
Aside from the protruding belly, diastasis recti may also cause lower back pain.
Postpartum abdominal separation is common and takes time to heal. If you don’t put any extra strain on your stomach while you’re pregnant, you can avoid abdominal separation.
Avoid doing strong core workouts such as planks or sit-ups. Try not to carry heavy objects, undertake severe abdominal stretching, or sit up too quickly after giving birth.
Other reasons for gaining weight after pregnancy
Are you not getting enough sleep after giving birth? Women who don’t get enough sleep can gain weight.
According to research, women who slept less than five hours per night six months after giving birth were three times more likely to keep their baby weight and maybe gain more.
Moreover, some women experience hypothyroidism during and after pregnancy.
Lastly, we know that being a new mum can be stressful. But did you know that stress hormones can cause weight gain, and stressed women are more prone to eat?
More reasons to prioritise self-care and sleep, mums! If you’re having trouble losing weight after giving birth, talk to your OB about it on your next postpartum visit. A thyroid test may be necessary.
Losing weight after giving birth
Some mums, in their desire to go back to their pre-baby body, embark on low-calorie diets or rigorous exercise routines as soon as they can after giving birth.
Are you thinking about losing weight soon after giving birth? Experts are saying that you hold your horses. New mothers should not be losing weight at such lightning speed.
“We don’t have the kind of lifestyle that would allow for that kind of quick loss — and the sooner women recognise that, the better they will feel about themselves,” says Laura Riley, MD, a high-risk pregnancy expert from Massachusetts General Hospital.
Experts are also warning against adopting crazy crash diets and an intense exercise programme, especially if these mothers have had a particularly difficult pregnancy or C-section.
For new mothers, cutting calorie intake especially if they’re breastfeeding isn’t the way to go, as per WebMD.
“You should be eating at least 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day while breastfeeding, and if you eat less you will not only be shortchanging yourself, you’ll be shortchanging your baby,” says nutritionist Elizabeth Somer. “You can’t produce quality milk if you are not eating enough.”
If mums are intent to get back into shape, light to moderate exercise will be beneficial for them. Not only does it increase energy, but it also reduces the risk of postpartum depression.
Experts say that new mothers can start working out as soon as they feel like they’re up for it, but it’s still best to get a go signal from a doctor.
“That’s key, being able to keep up with whatever programme you start. If you can’t then either the programme is too rigorous, or you’re just not ready. Exercise should make you feel better, not worse,” says Laura Riley.
How to lose the baby weight after giving birth
While it’s not advisable to embark on a rigorous fitness journey right away, there are some things you can do to help you safely lose weight after giving birth.
Breastfeeding mothers lose 500 calories each day on average. This is due to the fact that your body utilises the calories it has accumulated during pregnancy to produce milk and nourish your baby.
Your postpartum belly will naturally shrink over time. However, there are several things you may do at home to help with your postpartum tummy.
Once your doctor gives you the green light, attempt to include exercise in your regular routine.
Begin with light bodyweight exercises and walking. You can gradually incorporate running and core activities.
Kegels are a good pelvic floor workout. You can also research exercises that help with diastasis recti.
Maintain a healthy diet
Try to stick to a nutritious diet after you’ve given birth, just as you did while pregnant.
Breastfeeding will make you feel better and supply your kid with more nutrients.
Additionally, consuming a well-balanced diet can aid in the reduction of your postpartum tummy.
Give yourself time to heal
Keep in mind that giving birth is one of the most amazing experiences you’ll ever have. It challenges your body in ways you’ll never imagine.
All of this upheaval, though, necessitates rest and recuperation.
Allow yourself to relax and heal as much as possible in the weeks and months following your baby’s birth.
This article was first published in theAsianparent.