How do I Lose my Pregnancy Belly?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

Despite what television and movies show us, a woman's stomach does not magically melt back to slimness immediately following the birth of her child. A pregnancy belly may attract compliments during a pregnancy, but many women want to get back to their original shape and weight as fast as possible after childbirth. Losing a pregnancy belly may take time, dedication, and a return to pre-pregnancy diet and exercise.

Women who are healthy and maintain a light exercise regime during pregnancy will gain less weight.
Women who are healthy and maintain a light exercise regime during pregnancy will gain less weight.

During pregnancy, the belly stretches out to make room for the baby. Hormonal shifts, increased nutrition needs, and a decreased ability to exercise can all help create a post-birth belly that looks inflated and flabby. It is important to remember that as hormones return to normal and the uterus returns to its original shape, some of the pregnancy belly will disappear on its own. This process may take up to a month, but will likely remove some of the puffiness and still-pregnant look.

Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy will help alleviate a large belly postpartum.
Eating a healthy diet during pregnancy will help alleviate a large belly postpartum.

One of the keys to losing a pregnancy belly is proper nutrition and exercise during the pregnancy. Studies have shown that women who continue to eat healthily and maintain a light exercise regime during pregnancy will gain less weight, therefore giving them less to lose. Although weight will inevitably go up during pregnancy, the less additional fat that is put on through poor eating habits, the less there will be to take off.

Yoga is a low-impact workout that can tone the abs.
Yoga is a low-impact workout that can tone the abs.

Another major factor in losing a pregnancy belly may be breastfeeding. According to some health experts, breastfeeding will help burn additional calories in the process of milk production, leading to faster weight loss. This theory is not completely foolproof, however; some experts also say that the body may hold onto fat stores to help it produce healthy milk.

Regular exercise, like swimming, helps in weight loss and overall muscle toning.
Regular exercise, like swimming, helps in weight loss and overall muscle toning.

Since pregnancy essentially means a mother is eating for two, it is important to pay attention to how eating habits have changed since before pregnancy began. It may be difficult to reduce calorie intake to non-pregnancy level, but this will doubtless help reduce a pregnancy belly. Start diet alteration by replacing unhealthy foods with healthy ones, then begin to work on calorie reduction. Consult a doctor about maintaining proper nutrition after pregnancy, especially if breastfeeding.

Losing a pregnancy belly takes time and a commitment to diet and exercise.
Losing a pregnancy belly takes time and a commitment to diet and exercise.

The final major factor to losing a pregnancy belly is exercise. Due to the expansion in the midsection, abdominal muscles will have loosened and stretched, giving the belly a flabby look. Although it may seem like a thousand ab crunches a day is the only answer, don't panic. Consider adding a Pilates or yoga routine to exercise regime. These low impact styles typically involve extensive ab work without the tedium of performing endless sit-ups. Combined with some cardio to help burn off excess fat, a pregnancy belly may soon be a distant memory.

Dieting may help a new mom lose her post-partum belly.
Dieting may help a new mom lose her post-partum belly.
Healthy, balanced meals can also help with weight loss, which most moms find to be an important issue after pregnancy.
Healthy, balanced meals can also help with weight loss, which most moms find to be an important issue after pregnancy.
Breastfeeding burns calories, which can help a woman lose her pregnancy belly faster.
Breastfeeding burns calories, which can help a woman lose her pregnancy belly faster.
Pregnant women should keep their weight gain within a healthy target range.
Pregnant women should keep their weight gain within a healthy target range.
Walking and other low-impact activities are excellent exercise options for women both before and after pregnancy.
Walking and other low-impact activities are excellent exercise options for women both before and after pregnancy.
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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Discussion Comments

Shevardnadze

A friend of the family lost all her post-baby weight in a few months due to the extreme calorie needs of breast feeding. If you eat normally as a new mom and are breastfeeding, you are expending an extra 500 or more calories to feed your baby so you will lose the weight in a few months. Hope that helps some people.

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