Postpartum belly fat can be frustrating to deal with. Even with the joy of bringing a new life into the world, it’s totally normal to long for the days when you had more control over your shape and to feel a sense of loss over your pre-baby figure.
But here’s some good news: you can regain your pre-baby body without resorting to drastic measures or sacrificing precious time with your newborn.
The key is to approach weight loss in a healthy, sustainable way that fits into your new lifestyle as a mother. This guide provides the best ways to lose postpartum belly fat and get your pre-baby body back.
We’ll explore gentle yet effective strategies that consider your postpartum condition, nutritional needs, and the physical demands of caring for a new baby. P/S – every woman’s journey is unique, and so will be the road to reclaiming your body after childbirth.
Why Is My Belly Still Big 3 Months Postpartum?
Three months postpartum, you may still have a larger belly for a few reasons.
One primary reason is Diastasis Recti, a condition where the abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy (1). This can cause a visible bulge or “doming” in the center of your abdomen. It’s a common condition that affects many women during and after pregnancy.
Another reason is weight gain during pregnancy. It’s normal to still carry a few extra pounds three months postpartum as your body slowly returns to its pre-pregnancy state.
Hormonal changes also play a significant role.
After childbirth, your body undergoes various hormonal changes that can affect your body shape and weight (3). These changing hormone levels may cause your body to store fat or lead to weight gain. However, lifestyle factors will also play a role in such changes.
Additionally, your uterus takes time to shrink back to its original size. From the moment your baby is born, it can take about six to eight weeks for your womb to decrease in size. In some cases, it may take longer.
Lastly, postpartum swelling due to fluid retention can also contribute to a larger belly. After delivery, your body gradually gets rid of this extra fluid through urine, sweat, and other bodily fluids.
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Does Postpartum Belly Fat Go Away?
Yes, postpartum belly fat can go away, but it often requires time, patience, and a combination of healthy habits.
After delivery, the abdominal muscles gradually regain their original state, but this process can take several months or even longer. Engaging in gentle core-strengthening exercises, once they are approved by your doctor, can help with that.
Hormonal changes during and after pregnancy can be another cause of belly fat. These hormones eventually return to pre-pregnancy levels t, but this can take time. Breastfeeding can also help with postpartum weight loss, as it burns extra calories.
Additionally, your uterus takes about six to eight weeks to shrink back to its normal size post-delivery, contributing to the appearance of a larger belly (5).
Why Is It So Hard To Lose Postpartum Belly Fat?
Postpartum belly fat can be difficult to lose due to hormonal fluctuations, postpartum swelling, and the physical demands of caring for a new baby.
During pregnancy and post-delivery, your body undergoes significant hormonal changes. These hormonal shifts can affect your metabolism and how your body stores fat.
For instance, the hormone prolactin, which aids in milk production for breastfeeding, can also lead to weight gain or retention. Additionally, fluctuations in hormones like estrogen and progesterone can also influence weight loss (3).
Physical Exhaustion And Lack Of Sleep
Caring for a newborn often means sleepless nights and exhaustion.
Lack of sleep can increase levels of stress hormones like cortisol in your body. Elevated levels of cortisol over a period of time may influence weight gain or make weight loss more difficult (4). When you’re tired, you’re also less likely to have the energy for regular physical activity, which is crucial for losing belly fat.
Limited Time And Energy For Exercise
With a new baby, finding the time and energy to exercise can be challenging. Regular physical activity is key to losing postpartum belly fat, but many new mothers struggle to fit regular workouts into their busy schedules.
Changes In Eating Habits
The demands of caring for a newborn can also lead to changes in eating habits. You might find yourself reaching for quick, convenient foods that aren’t necessarily the healthiest options. If you’re breastfeeding, you might also feel hungrier and consume more calories than usual.
Pregnancy can cause a condition known as diastasis recti, which is a separation of the abdominal muscles (1).
This can create a persistent belly ‘pooch’ that’s hard to lose through diet and exercise alone. In some cases, physical therapy or specific exercises can help improve this condition (1).
Body’s Natural Recovery Process
It’s important to remember that your body needs time to recover from childbirth.
Your uterus takes about six to eight weeks to shrink back to its normal size, and your body may hold onto extra weight as a natural part of the recovery process (5). Patience is key when it comes to losing postpartum belly fat.
Read more: 8 Drinks to Burn Belly Fat The Healthy Way
How Can I Slim My Postpartum Belly?
Below are some of the changes you can implement to slim your postpartum belly:
Healthy Eating Habits
The best way to lose postpartum belly fat fast is by adopting healthy eating habits. You don’t need to resort to extreme diets but rather focus on balanced and nutritious meals.
Include lean proteins, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats in your diet. Control portion sizes and avoid processed foods high in sugar and unhealthy fats. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
Steps to action:
- Plan your meals in advance to avoid reaching for unhealthy snacks.
- Opt for whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
Regular Physical Activity
Regular physical activity is another best way to lose postpartum belly fat.
You don’t need to engage in intense workouts; even light exercises like walking or doing yoga can help. The key is to be consistent and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts as your body recovers from childbirth.
Steps to action:
- Start with light physical activities like walking or gentle yoga.
- Gradually increase the intensity of your workouts as your body allows.
- Try to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, such as by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going for a walk with your baby.
The best way to lose postpartum belly fat exercise involves core-strengthening exercises. These exercises can help tone your abdominal muscles and reduce the appearance of a 3 month postpartum belly still big.
However, before starting any exercise regimen, consult your doctor, especially if you have diastasis recti.
Steps to action:
- Consult your doctor before starting any new exercise regimen.
- Once approved, incorporate core-strengthening exercises like planks and pelvic tilts into your workouts.
- Be consistent with your exercises and gradually increase the intensity as your body allows.
Rest And Stress Management
One of the fastest ways to lose a postpartum belly involves managing your stress levels and ensuring you get adequate rest.
High stress and lack of sleep can hinder weight loss (4). Try to establish a regular sleep schedule and find ways to manage stress, such as through mindfulness or relaxation techniques.
Steps to action:
- Establish a regular sleep schedule.
- Practice stress management techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness, or yoga.
- Ask for help when needed to ensure you get enough rest
One of the best ways to lose postpartum belly fat fast is to stay well-hydrated.
Water can help you feel full, reducing your appetite and helping to prevent overeating. It also aids in digestion and can help prevent bloating. Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, and more if you’re breastfeeding.
Steps to Action:
- Buy a reusable water bottle and keep it with you throughout the day.
- Replace sugary drinks like soda or juice with water.
- If you find water boring, add some flavor with a slice of lemon, cucumber, or a few berries.
If possible and desired, breastfeeding can play a role in weight loss after delivery. Breastfeeding burns calories, which can help you return to your pre-pregnancy weight over time (2).
However, it’s important to note that breastfeeding should not be used as a weight-loss strategy alone, and rapid weight loss can interfere with milk production. Therefore, it’s important to be patient.
Steps to action:
- If possible and desired, breastfeed your baby.
- Continue to eat a balanced diet to support both your health and your baby’s health.
- Don’t rely on breastfeeding alone for weight loss; combine it with healthy eating and regular physical activity.
Patience And Consistency
Remember, your body took nine months to grow a baby, so it’s only natural that it takes time to return to its pre-pregnancy state.
Even if your 3 months postpartum belly is still big, don’t be discouraged. The fastest way to lose a postpartum belly is through consistent, healthy habits, not quick fixes.
Steps to Action:
- Set realistic goals for your postpartum weight loss.
- Be patient with yourself and your body.
- Celebrate small victories along the way.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How To Lose Postpartum Belly Fat After C-Section
Losing belly fat after a C-section requires patience, as your body needs time to heal from the surgery.
Once your doctor gives you the green light, start with gentle exercises like walking or pelvic tilts. Gradually incorporate more physical activity and core strengthening exercises into your routine. Also, maintain a balanced diet rich in whole foods and stay well-hydrated.
How To Lose Postpartum Belly After 1 Year
Even if a year has passed since your delivery, it’s never too late to work on losing postpartum belly fat. Consistency is key. Engage in regular physical activity, eat a balanced diet, and ensure you’re getting enough sleep. It can also help to seek support from professionals such as a dietitian or a physiotherapist
How To Lose Baby Belly In 2 Weeks
While it’s not realistic or healthy to lose all your baby belly fat in just two weeks, you can start developing healthy habits that will contribute to weight loss over time.
Start with regular, gentle exercise, staying hydrated, and eating a balanced diet. Remember, it’s important to set realistic expectations and give your body the time it needs to recover.
Does Breastfeeding Burn Belly Fat?
Breastfeeding burns calories and may contribute to weight loss in some women. However, it doesn’t specifically target belly fat. The weight you lose while breastfeeding can result in a reduction of overall body weight, which may include belly fat.
Can You Get A Flat Stomach After Giving Birth?
Yes, it is possible to get a flat stomach after giving birth, but it requires time, patience, and a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise.
It’s also important to remember that pregnancy can permanently change the structure of your body in various ways, and it’s perfectly normal if your body doesn’t look exactly the same as it did pre-pregnancy.
The Bottom Line
The best way to lose postpartum belly fat involves a combination of regular physical activity, stress management, hydration, and good nutrition. It’s also important to be patient with your body and give it the time it needs to recover postpartum.
Consulting a doctor before starting any exercise regimen is essential for the safety of both you and your baby.
Finally, remember that there are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss; consistency is key. With the right combination of healthy habits, you can get your pre-baby body back.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Diastasis Recti (n.d., clevelandclinic.org)
- Losing weight after pregnancy (n.d., medlineplus.gov)
- Physiology, Postpartum Changes (2022, nih.gov)
- Stress, cortisol, and obesity: a role for cortisol responsiveness in identifying individuals prone to obesity (2016, pubmed.gov)
- Uterus Involution (n.d., clevelandclinic.org)