Postpartum Belly: Understanding Your Body Changes and Effective Ways to Get Your Body Back

Bringing a new life into the world is undoubtedly a miraculous and transformative experience, but it often comes with a set of physical changes that can leave mothers navigating the uncharted waters of the postpartum period. 

Whether you’re a first-time mom or welcoming your third bundle of joy, one common thread unites nearly every mother: the post-pregnancy belly. 

Whether it’s affectionately referred to as the “Mummy Tummy” or the “Mum Pouch”, this lingering effect is a result of hormonal shifts, abdominal muscle separation, and the physical strain of carrying your precious cargo.

Understanding and embracing these postpartum body changes is a crucial aspect of a mother’s journey towards recovery. The journey is unique for every woman, and while some may see the extra weight disappear over time, others find themselves grappling with the persistence of their “mummy tummy” long after their baby’s arrival.

In this blog, we aim to shed light on the intricacies of the postpartum period, emphasising the significance of comprehending these bodily changes and providing insights into effective strategies for recovery.


Table of contents

What is Mummy Tummy?
What is the Difference Between a Stomach Overhang and a Mum Pouch?
Understanding Postpartum Body Changes
Can I Achieve Mummy Tummy Reduction with Simple Exercises?
How long does it take to get rid of a Mummy Tummy?
Steps you can take in your daily life to get your body back:
Effective Strength Training Exercises for New Moms
Explore Further Support

Whether you delivered naturally or via C-section, whether it’s your first or third baby, our focus is on empowering you with the knowledge and tools to navigate this transformative phase.

Now, let’s delve into the core of the matter – effective strategies to bid farewell to the persistent mummy tummy. We’ll explore methods ranging from dietary adjustments and tailored exercises to natural remedies and, briefly, touch upon surgical options. 

By the end of this journey, you’ll be equipped to make informed decisions on the path that aligns best with your personal goals and preferences.

What is Mummy Tummy

What is Mummy Tummy?

The term “Mummy Tummy” or “Mum Pouch” refers to the lingering weight or excess fat that many women retain around their midsection following childbirth. Commonly known as the “postpartum belly,” this phenomenon is a shared experience among nearly all women, irrespective of age, physical health, or dietary habits. 

The journey of motherhood often leaves an imprint on the body, and the mummy tummy is a testament to the incredible process of bringing new life into the world.

What is the Difference Between a Stomach Overhang and a Mum Pouch?

While the terms “stomach overhang” and “mum pouch” are sometimes used interchangeably, they describe distinct physical attributes.

A stomach overhang is characterised by excess fat that hangs over the waistband of your pants. It is a result of accumulated fat in the abdominal area and can be influenced by factors such as lifestyle, genetics, and dietary choices.

On the other hand, a mum pouch encompasses excess weight, skin, or muscle separation around the midsection, particularly after giving birth. Notably, the mum pouch is often associated with a condition known as diastasis recti, where the abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy and may persist postpartum. This separation contributes to the distinctive appearance of the mum pouch, differentiating it from a mere stomach overhang.

Understanding these distinctions is essential for tailoring effective strategies to address and embrace the changes that accompany postpartum body transformations.

Understanding Postpartum Body Changes

Understanding Postpartum Body Changes

  • Hormonal Changes After Childbirth
    The miracle of childbirth brings not only a precious little one into your life but also a cascade of hormonal changes within your body. These hormonal shifts play a crucial role in shaping the postpartum experience, influencing both physical and emotional well-being.
  • Impact on Metabolism and Weight
    Postpartum hormonal changes can significantly affect your metabolism, often leading to shifts in weight. While it’s natural for the body to retain some additional weight after pregnancy, understanding the hormonal factors at play empowers mothers to make informed choices in their recovery journey.
  • Emotional and Mental Well-being
    Beyond their physical impact, postpartum hormones can also influence your emotional and mental well-being. Fluctuations in hormone levels may contribute to mood swings, anxiety, or even postpartum depression. Recognising and addressing these aspects are crucial components of a holistic postpartum recovery.

Diastasis Recti: Definition and Common Concerns

Explanation of Abdominal Separation

Diastasis recti, a prevalent postpartum occurrence, unfolds as a separation of the abdominal muscles. This condition arises when the connective tissue between the abdominal muscles undergoes stretching during pregnancy, resulting in a noticeable gap between these muscles.

This separation persists postpartum, contributing significantly to the development of the often-discussed ‘mummy tummy.’ Unraveling the scientific intricacies behind this phenomenon is instrumental in demystifying the transformative changes your body undergoes.

By week 35 – 39 almost 100% of mothers develop diastasis recti, so don’t be alarmed – it’s very normal. What matters is how your abdominal muscles recover after you have given birth.

Identification and Awareness

The journey to addressing diastasis recti begins with heightened awareness. Mothers can empower themselves by learning how to identify this condition through straightforward self-assessment techniques.

It is important to know if you have diastasis recti because certain exercises can weaken the connective tissue and worsen the problem. This is where it is important to have high quality advice from an experienced and well-trained personal trainer or a fitness coach before getting starting on addressing the issue. It can save your both time and injury.

How do I know if I have diastasis recti?

Determining whether you have diastasis recti involves a simple self-assessment to gauge the distance between the two sides of your rectus abdominis muscle.

  • Lie on Your Back:
    Start by lying on your back on a flat surface.
  • Finger Placement:
    Position your fingers just above your belly button.
  • Head and Shoulders Lift:
    Gently curl up your head and shoulders, engaging your abdominal muscles.
  • Feel for Separation:
    Use your fingers to feel the muscles on either side of your belly button.

If you perceive a gap or separation between these muscles, it’s likely that you have diastasis recti. For a more quantitative measure, you can use a ruler to gauge the width of the gap. If it exceeds two finger-widths, approximately two centimeters, it indicates the presence of diastasis recti that may require attention for proper recovery.

It’s important to note that addressing diastasis recti isn’t about attempting to “close the gap” forcefully. Instead, the focus should be on optimizing the functionality of your abdominal wall—your tummy muscles. 

This optimisation aims to establish a harmonious interaction between the abdominal muscles, fostering their ability to support and protect internal organs while aiding in proper breathing. Recognising that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution emphasizes the need for a personalized approach to address the unique aspects of your diastasis recti and promote effective recovery.

Can I Achieve Mummy Tummy Reduction with Simple Exercises

Can I Achieve Mummy Tummy Reduction with Simple Exercises?

Various exercises, such as controlled gym workouts, Pilates, and yoga, can contribute to reducing the mummy tummy. However, it’s crucial to understand that there isn’t a singular, miraculous exercise that can achieve this transformation. Real and lasting results emerge from a synergistic approach, combining a healthy nutrition plan with a well-crafted exercise program.

How long does it take to get rid of a Mummy Tummy?

The process of eliminating the mum pouch typically spans between five to eight months. It’s essential to recognise that every woman’s body responds uniquely, and individual timelines may vary. If immediate results aren’t apparent, refrain from feeling disheartened. 

Consistent dedication to a balanced regimen of exercise and nutrition is key. Keep persevering, and over time, you will witness a positive transformation in your journey to bid farewell to the mummy tummy.

Steps you can take in your daily life to get your body back:

Step 1: Increase Your Mobility and Movement

The journey to reclaim your body after becoming a new mom involves incorporating increased mobility and movement into your daily routine. Fortunately, with the demands of caring for a new baby and managing various responsibilities, you’re already engaged in activities that promote mobility.

Incorporate Frequent Movement: Take advantage of everyday opportunities to move around. Whether it’s a leisurely walk around the block with your baby in the pram or a carrier, engaging in stretching exercises, or following an exercise class on YouTube in the comfort of your living room, introducing more movement into your day is accessible and beneficial.

Explore Foam Rolling: Consider incorporating foam rolling into your routine. This self-massage technique aids in loosening tight muscles and alleviating knots. Though it might be a bit uncomfortable initially, the long-term benefits far outweigh any momentary discomfort. Plus, it offers a chance to relax on the floor, providing a welcome reprieve for a new and likely exhausted mom.

Utilise Resources Available: Take advantage of the expertise around you. Consult with your doctor, physiotherapist, or a qualified personal trainer to tailor exercises specifically suited to your postpartum journey. Their guidance ensures that your efforts align with your unique needs, promoting a safe and effective path toward reclaiming your body.

Step 2: Minimise Sedentary Time

Addressing sedentary habits becomes crucial for new moms who often find themselves spending extended periods sitting down, catering to their baby’s needs. Combining the challenges of fatigue, limited mobility, and a scarcity of time to move around, breaking free from the cycle can seem daunting. Yet, actively working against prolonged inactivity is vital for long-term well-being, preventing issues like weight gain, neck pain, and even heart disease.

Here are practical tips to reduce sedentary time:

Set Activity Alarms: Set reminders, perhaps through an alarm on your phone or smartwatch, prompting you to stand up and move around at regular intervals. Even brief five-minute breaks every hour can significantly contribute to breaking the cycle of extended inactivity.

Infuse Movement with Enjoyment: Make the process enjoyable by incorporating movement into social activities. Connect with other moms for a walk, take your baby to a local pool for a swim/walk, or explore new places together. Initially, it might feel unusual, but as you embrace these adventures, they’ll become a rewarding part of your routine.

Seek Support: While your primary focus is understandably on your newborn, it’s crucial to prioritise your well-being. Enlist the support of your partner or anyone assisting you to create opportunities for personal time. Start with brief outings, gradually extending them as you feel more comfortable. Whether it’s engaging in exercise, pursuing an activity, or simply taking a moment to rest, all are essential components of your self-care.

Remember, taking time for yourself is not only beneficial for your physical health but also contributes to your overall well-being during this transformative period.

Step 3: Adopt a Nourishing Eating Plan

New mothers often find themselves in a state of physical and emotional exhaustion. When the body is fatigued, it instinctively craves food for a quick energy boost, often leaning towards sugary or carbohydrate-rich options for rapid processing and energy release.

However, relying on these foods in excess over extended periods can contribute to unwanted weight gain. Establishing a healthy and mindful eating plan is essential for new moms to acquire the necessary nutrients without compromising their weight management goals.

Consider the following key points:

Nutrient-Rich Diet:

Prioritise a varied and healthy diet to support both your new baby and your body’s recovery. Crafting a balanced eating plan amidst the challenges of caring for a newborn may seem daunting, but seeking guidance from a nutritionist, qualified trainer, or dietician specialising in postpartum advice can streamline the process.

Fast-Track Your Results:

Seeking professional advice expedites positive outcomes. Consulting with a dietician, nutritionist, or health/fitness professional well-versed in postpartum needs ensures you receive tailored guidance based on your specific situation and capabilities.

Personalised Eating Plan:

Craft a plan that aligns with your individual needs, considering the demands of postpartum life. Nutritionists and dieticians specializing in postpartum care can assist in designing a realistic and sustainable eating plan tailored to your unique circumstances.

Reaching out for expert advice not only facilitates a smoother transition into postpartum nutrition but also provides valuable support in navigating the complexities of food choices and their impact on your body during this transformative period.

Step 4: Initiate a Gradual Postpartum Exercise Program

Commencing a postpartum exercise program requires a cautious and gradual approach, especially if you haven’t been active in the weeks or months leading up to childbirth. A slow beginning is essential to avoid potential injuries and setbacks. Prior to embarking on any comprehensive postpartum exercise regimen, consulting with your doctor is strongly recommended to ensure your safety and well-being.

Upon receiving the green light from your healthcare provider, consider the following steps:

Start with Gentle Cardio: Initiate your exercise journey with light cardio activities such as walking or swimming. These low-impact exercises facilitate gentle movement without exerting excessive stress on your muscles and joints. As you build comfort and stamina, gradually incorporate more dynamic activities.

Consult with Professionals: When selecting an exercise program, seek guidance from a qualified personal trainer or exercise physiologist specializing in postpartum fitness. Their expertise ensures that the program aligns with your current fitness level and postpartum situation. Look for professionals with specific qualifications and experience in this realm, as personalised advice can significantly impact your progress.

Partner with TSquared Lab: At TSquared Lab, our dedicated team specialises in women’s health and fitness training. Recognising the considerable effort required for a new mom to achieve her desired results, our trainers can assist you in creating a safe and effective postpartum diet and exercise program. From weekly transformations, we understand the unique challenges women face during this phase and are here to support you in regaining your pre-pregnancy body.

Embarking on your postpartum fitness journey with the right guidance ensures a safe and effective path toward reclaiming your body and achieving the results you deserve.

Effective Strength Training Exercises for New Moms

  • Kegel Exercises
    Kegel exercises play a crucial role in aiding new moms by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles often experience weakness after childbirth, potentially leading to issues like urinary incontinence. Kegel exercises offer a targeted solution to address and resolve these concerns.
  • Resistance Band Exercises
    Incorporating resistance band exercises into your routine is an excellent method to fortify core muscles, as well as the arms, legs, and glutes. These low-impact exercises are versatile and can be seamlessly integrated into your home workout regimen or practiced at the gym with minimal equipment.
  • Weight Training
    Weight training emerges as a potent strategy to enhance muscle strength and sculpt the body. It is a versatile form of strength training that can be undertaken at home or in a gym environment. Under proper guidance, weight training becomes a tailored approach to rebuilding strength, improving movement, enhancing flexibility, and refining overall body composition.

Contrary to common misconceptions, engaging in weight training does not equate to developing bulky muscles akin to competitive weightlifters. Achieving such physiques requires years of specialised diets and advanced weightlifting training. 

Instead, weight training for new moms is a valuable avenue for toning the figure, enhancing daily strength, and contributing to improved bone density, thus offering protection against osteoporosis in later life.

A Message to You, Mom

You, as a mother, have undergone an incredible journey. Be kind to yourself and cherish the marvels your body has created. With these insights and the support of a skilled Coach guiding you through a customised recovery exercise program, you can begin addressing your mummy tummy and witness positive transformations in the near future. Well done, Mum, and best of luck!

Explore Further Support

If you desire assistance in your post-baby recovery, our experienced team is ready to help. With years of expertise in aiding new moms to regain their vitality, we look forward to being part of your fitness journey. Feel free to book a TSquared Lab complimentary consultation to meet the team and find the right training partner to guide you toward your fitness goals. Cheers to your postpartum success!

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding Postpartum Belly: The “Mummy Tummy” or “Mum Pouch” is common among new mothers, resulting from hormonal shifts, abdominal muscle separation, and the physical strain of pregnancy. It’s important to recognise and accept these changes as part of the postpartum recovery process.
  • Diastasis Recti: A significant factor contributing to the postpartum belly is diastasis recti, a condition where the abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy. Identifying and addressing this issue is crucial for recovery, with a focus on optimising the functionality of the abdominal wall rather than just closing the gap.
  • Recovery Strategies: Effective strategies for reducing the postpartum belly include a combination of dietary adjustments, tailored exercises (like controlled gym workouts, strength training, Pilates, and yoga), and possibly natural remedies. Professional guidance from a doctor, physiotherapist, or qualified personal trainer is recommended to ensure safety and effectiveness.
  • Time and Patience: The journey to reduce the postpartum belly can take five to eight months, varying from person to person. Consistency in following a balanced exercise and nutrition plan is key, with patience and perseverance being essential components of the recovery process.

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