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Tips to get you started on your postpartum weight loss journey

The first few months of a new mom’s life can be beautiful, tough, and also very rewarding, provided you take care of yourself, as much as you do of your little one. Aspects like self-case, positive mental health, and practising good dietary habits are gaining importance over merely reaching for goals like weight loss. 

Many new moms are also committed to losing all that postpartum belly fat as quickly as possible. “How to lose weight after pregnancy?”, “How long does it take for postpartum belly to go away?”, questions like these can even turn into an obsession at times. However, weight loss at the cost of good health and well-being can be detrimental. Poor habits like crash diets can lead to quicker weight gain, not to mention poor physical and mental health.

Here’s how you can achieve your postpartum belly weight loss goals, by doing it in a way that’s gentle and nourishing for your body.

Eat your way to postpartum weight loss

Aiming for slow and steady postpartum tummy loss has some real benefits, and one way to ensure this is that your diet is packed with all the nutrition you need.

A pilot study conducted indicates that when new mothers follow DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension), which focuses on healthy eating, not only did it lead to weight loss, but it also helped them keep it off, permanently. 

The DASH diet promotes nutritious food choices without completely prohibiting you from eating any specific kinds of food. Some key aspects of the diet are: 

  • Consuming more fibre-rich, high nutrition foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables
  • Eating more lean meats like poultry
  • Including sources of fat, like nuts, vegetable oils and lentils
  • Limiting the consumption of red meat
  • Avoiding processed food and drinks that contain added sugar

Eating meals on time also really helps to improve metabolism, thus aiding in faster weight loss. Before implementing any substantial changes in your diet, talk to your doctor to understand the possible risks and benefits.

Read: Your diet guide to get in perfect shape post pregnancy

Raise your level of physical activity

Whether you bring in walking, or any other form of physical activity, it helps to develop a routine that consistently helps you raise your metabolism levels. Weaving in postpartum belly exercises like tummy crunches on a daily basis can help you beat any “belly after baby” stress weighing on your mind.

These days, tons of workouts are available on the Internet, especially for moms looking to lose post-pregnancy belly fat, and tighten those muscles. “Baby and me” workout classes are also gaining popularity, especially with moms who do not have house help; the baby also gets to have a fun time with mommy! Ensure that you follow a credible instructor and do not experience fatigue while working out.

In case of any medical complications, make sure you get a sign-off from the doctor before indulging in any strenuous routines. 

Invest in your mental health

“How do I lose the baby weight?”, while this is an important priority for new mothers, no doubt, focusing on emotional well-being alongside physical fitness is just as important. Taking care of yourself as much as caring for your little one is important. An important aspect of the weight loss journey that we hardly pay much attention to is acknowledging the value of positive mental health.

Yoga

Introducing daily pranayamas (breathing) and asanas (yoga postures) helps you improve overall mental health, and address common disorders like postpartum depression. 

Emotional regulation

Watch out for symptoms like extreme sadness or anger without any warning, a feeling of having to go through the motions while getting through the day, feelings of anxiety, guilt, as well as irritation. 

Meditation

Staying connected to yourself and your needs via meditation is a powerful experience. There are several meditations available online, especially for new moms, and they can help you relax and unwind, mentally, especially if practised every day, even if it is for just a few minutes. 

Asking for help

Additionally, asking for help from loved ones when you need it, having conversations with friends and family, and communicating your needs, are all healthy practice. 

Make sure you sleep when your baby sleeps

The human body, when continuously deprived of sleep, sets off a domino effect that slows down your metabolism. It leads to the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which signals to your body that it needs to conserve energy by hanging on to fat, especially post-pregnancy tummy fat. Sleep deprivation also triggers other behaviours like stress eating, irritability and lack of focus.

Yet, lack of sleep is something most new moms fall prey, too, as they always aim to place the baby’s needs first. One century’s old tried and tested hack that works is to sleep whenever your baby sleeps. 

Regular breastfeeding has multiple benefits

Breastfeeding your baby up to six months or more helps build up natural immunity. The most organic way to understand how often to breastfeed is to follow your baby’s lead. 

You might not realise this, but one of the unique side effects of regular breastfeeding is faster weight loss and in particular post-pregnancy tummy fat. It also helps to restore the uterus to its original size much faster. Another unique benefit is that it helps to reduce the risks of diabetes, breast cancer and ovarian cancer in young mothers.

Keeping yourself hydrated when you are breastfeeding is especially important. Consume water, milk and juices. Include vegan milk options like almond and peanuts, which come with power-packed nutritional value. 

Read: What you can do to prevent breast sagging post pregnancy

FAQs

1. Why is postpartum belly fat hard to lose?

Your belly is a primary storehouse area of body fat, especially during pregnancy. Hence, it’s natural that it will take some time to lose the fat in your stomach after birth.

2. Which is better, using a wrapper or a postpartum belt?

Postpartum belly binding is an age-old tradition that provides support and comfort for new mothers. Whether you use a special postpartum belt or a wrap, the effects are the same. However, be careful not to wrap up too tight, as it can put undue pressure on your uterus.

3. How can mental health help my postpartum weight loss journey?

Childbirth is an intense experience, followed by an even more intense caregiving routine for the next six months of you and your baby’s life. Good mental health will keep you motivated, and more invested in your own self-care, as much as in your baby’s well-being. 

In closing

Motherhood can be an even more enjoyable experience if you bring balance and harmony into it early on. Building positive personal habits will make you emotionally and physically stronger, and nudge you to achieve your postpartum weight loss goals, faster. 

So set new routines in place, receive the nutrition and support you need and set the stage for a beautiful journey for you and your child. 

Also, read: 4 Postpartum complications you must monitor

Dr. Aruna Kalra
Author: Dr. Aruna Kalra
Dr. Aruna Kalra, a renowned Gynecologist in Gurgaon, has over 23 years of experience in managing women’s health. She is a gold medal holder for her academic work in her field. She specializes in scar-less laparoscopic surgeries. She is experienced in performing, minimally invasive gynaecological surgeries, managing high-risk pregnancies & aiding vaginal deliveries after caesarean.
 
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