Even though having a baby is one of life’s wonderful events, many mums feel under pressure to get their pre-bump shape back as soon as possible after the birth. But don’t be in too much of a rush to get into shape, after all it has taken nine months to grow this baby, so it may take a little time for your body to get back to normal afterwards too.
Luckily, there are some simple tips and tricks that will help you tone your tummy in the first weeks after pregnancy and that will make you feel great too, so read on to see what you can do to help yourself!
Avoid weight gain during pregnancy
Easier said than done, right? Your baby will add weight as it grows, and you will be told to eat “for two” by well-meaning people. But really, if you can make sure you don’t gain too much excess weight during your nine months, you will be grateful after the birth, as it will take less time to get back into shape.
Keep exercising throughout
Even though it will become harder as your belly grows, it is important to keep doing some form of exercise during pregnancy. It may be swimming, Yoga, Pilates, dancing or simply walking. Don’t overdo it, and make sure you avoid dangerous sports, excess heat and humidity. If you look after your body during pregnancy you will reap the benefits after the baby is born.
Breastfeed your baby
If it is comfortable for you and baby, breastfeeding is a great way to help you get back into shape, especially in the months immediately after giving birth. Making the milk allows your body to burn off extra calories and breastfeeding also triggers shrinkage of your womb, allowing your tummy to get flatter quickly too.
Schedule workouts during nap times
Once you and baby have settled into a routine, schedule a gentle 20-minute workout including some cardio and strength exercises while baby is fast asleep and not likely to disturb you. Make sure you talk to your doctor or health professional first to find out if there is anything you should avoid or when they think it is safe to start.
Try a tummy wrap
Although it is best to give nature time and allow your body to recover at its own speed, a belly wrap or maternity belt can help you shed some excess fluid, and may be just the thing of you have to go to an important event where you want to fit into some pre-pregnancy clothes. Just remember that you are shedding fluid, not fat, and the effects may be temporary at best.
Get enough rest
Although this may seem a little tricky with a newborn in your home, getting sufficient rest is one of the best ways to help your body recover after having a baby. Take the opportunity of having a nap or at least putting your feet up while baby has a nap, and don’t turn down offers of help from partners or family to make sure you get enough rest – no-one appointed you supermum!
Have a tummy tuck
After several pregnancies or if you have gained excess weight during pregnancy, your stomach muscles can become distended, and it may be that diet and exercise alone are not enough to get you back to your ideal shape. An abdominoplasty - or tummy tuck - surgically tightens weak muscles, while removing excess skin and fat, to flatten your abdomen.
Another option is to have liposuction around the stomach area. This will be less invasive is ideal for removing stubborn pockets of fat or loose skin, helping you to tone your body and bring it back to its pre-pregnancy look and feel.
If you think this is the solution for you, make sure you get expert advice from Dr Lanzer and ensure you get a second opinion as all surgery has risks, so you can weigh up all the options.