When will I get my belly back after pregnancy?

Wonder what your after pregnancy stomach will look like?

Postpartum mother and abdomen
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Immediately postpartum you'll probably feel pretty skinny! The first time you stand up and you realize that your belly is now a gelatinous mass...well, I'm sure you get the picture. It took you nine months to get pregnant, and it will take you awhile to lose the weight and tone the muscle again. Talk to your practitioner about safe exercises in the postpartum period and about checking for separation of the muscles (diastasis recti) and how to deal with an abdominal scar, if you had a c-section.

Your stomach will likely look really squishy at first with a hard uterus in the center. It will continue to be flabby for a few weeks as your skin goes back to normal. Your stretch marks will fade.

When will I go back to my prepregnancy size?

With some focus, you can lose the weight you gained while pregnant. Though many moms note that even after they have lost all of their weight they still have a different shape than they had prior to babies. How quickly you return to your prepregnancy size and shape will depend on weight gain, whether you had a c-section or not and many other factors that include things like your exercise habits, how much movement you get per day, and what your diet is like. A healthy diet and exercise are very helpful towards these goals. 

"I was really surprised at my hips," said Lila. "I had lost all of my pregnancy weight and a few pounds more. I felt more fit than ever from lugging around the baby and the car seat.

But my hips were just a bit wider, even when it wasn't about fat pads. It wasn't horrible, but I was surprised."

Healthy Movement and Exercise

It is hard for some moms to even think about exercise after having a baby, it can feel overwhelming. If you try to think of it as healthy movement, rather than exercise, that may be easier to think about.

This means you move more than you did. If this means you walk from the back of a parking lot rather than search for a close space - that's great! Take a ten minute walk every day rather than play a game on your cell phone - super! Any little bit of moment helps and it all adds up. 

"I got luck," remember Jana. "My baby loved movement. He would cry every time we stopped moving. This meant I moved a lot. My husband thought it would be funny to get me a FitBit to see how many steps I took. It was a lot of movement and yet, if you'd asked me if I exercised, I would have said no."

What else can I do to help my body get back to normal?

You will also want to take into consideration that even if you follow a diet, exercise daily and do everything exactly right, you may still never have your abdomen looking exactly like it did before you had a baby. In fact, it is highly likely that your belly will stay different. But remember, this doesn't have to be an unhealthy difference. Talk to your practitioners about the healthiest ways to get back in shape after having baby and even what to do about unwanted stretch marks after baby.

In general, the rule of thumb is that it took you nine months to gain the weight and grow the baby. Give yourself at least nine months to get back in shape. While you'll lose about half your weight gained in the first six weeks after birth, the second half might be a bit more resistant.

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