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Although motherhood is a beautiful and fulfilling phase, most new mothers are constantly anxious about the external changes that happen to their body after pregnancy and try to get back that trim and lean look. However, you need to give your body a break to heal after delivery, especially if you’ve had a caesarean. Forcing yourself to lose those extra kilos after a C-section can be harmful to your body and may cause unnecessary complications. There are plenty of effective and safe ways to reduce your tummy after a C-section delivery. We’ll discuss how below.
Also Read: Recovering After a C-section Delivery
Getting Back in Shape and Reducing Tummy Post C-Section
Having a baby through C-section is much more complicated than a normal delivery, and so, post-operative recovery is very important. Don’t push your body to heal after a C-section; it will happen gradually. Wait for the stitches to dissolve and the incision to heal before doing any cardiac or weight-lifting activity. Tummy reduction is not easy even on its own and becomes all the more difficult if you have had a C-section delivery. This is because, during your recovery period, you may not be allowed to do abdominal exercises for some time. There are a few non-strenuous ways you can employ to get a flatter tummy.
How Long Should You Wait to Start Exercising and Why?
Doctors advise moms who have had a C-section to wait for 6-8 weeks before starting exercises to reduce belly fat. Not waiting for your body to recover fully can have disastrous consequences on your health such as:
- Heavy postpartum bleeding
- Muscle and joint injuries
- Opening up of surgical incisions
So, get a first-hand opinion from your doctor before you hit the gym again.
Also Read: Bleeding After Cesarean Delivery
Tips for Reducing Stomach After a Caesarean Delivery
Tummy reduction after C-section may seem daunting, but we assure you, it is easily achievable with the following home remedies:
The first two weeks after your C-section is when any complication associated with surgery will most likely arise. There is no problem in getting a post-pregnancy massage after those two weeks. These massages break up belly fat and also help to lose fluids from the lymph nodes, thereby reducing your waistline. However, avoid the abdominal area during the initial days, and focus only on the back, hands, and legs. Four weeks after delivery, scar tissue will start to form and your abdominal area can be massaged without pain.
2. Move Your Body
A C-section cuts through some of your stomach muscles, resulting in a pouch of fat on your tummy. This causes stress on your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor. So, it is important to wait for 6-8 weeks after a C-section delivery before you attempt any heavy exercises. Walking is a low impact exercise and burns calories safely. Go for a walk with your baby at least thrice a week This will keep both you and your baby happy.
3. Eat Healthy
All new mothers need high energy when they are lactating. So, make sure your diet is rich in carbohydrates, low in fat and is loaded with sufficient vitamins and minerals. Avoid foods like sweets and items which have saturated fats like ghee, fried foods, butter and aerated drinks. Eat more fruits, vegetables and lean protein. Keep a food log and record what you eat in a day and the calories it contains. This will help you stick to your defined portion size.
4. Tummy Binding
This is a method which you can do only 2 months post your C-section delivery, when the incision has fully healed. In this, the tummy is tied up with a muslin cloth which looks like a bandage. Tummy binding is believed to push the stomach in.
This is one of the easiest ways to lose belly fat. Breastfeed your baby exclusively for 6 months after your C-section delivery. Not only does breastfeeding burn about 500 extra calories a day, but it also releases a hormone called oxytocin that stimulates uterine contractions, and helps your uterus get back to its pre-pregnancy size.
6. Drink Lots Of Water and Fluids
Drink plenty of water post-delivery. This will not only maintain fluid balance in your body but also burn the excess fat around your waist. Lemon water is a good home remedy to detox and reduce your weight post a C-section. You can mix lemon juice and honey in lukewarm water and drink it once a day, preferably in the morning.
7. Get Adequate Sleep
One of the ways you can achieve your sleep and tummy goals is by getting a minimum 5 hours of sleep. It’s difficult to achieve but a trick is to sleep when your baby sleeps. This will not only help you get reduce your waistline but also improve your emotional health.
Also Read: Yoga After Delivery
Yoga to Reduce Tummy Fat
You can practice yoga after C-section to reduce tummy fat. Yoga helps to tone and strengthen the stomach muscles. Yoga also helps new mothers deal with the stress of having a newborn. But make sure to start it only 6-8 weeks after your C-section delivery. It is better to consult your doctor once before starting.
If you are a beginner, take the help of a certified yoga instructor so that you don’t accidentally hurt yourself. Begin with simple breathing exercises. Some yoga poses you can try to reduce your tummy fat include:
- Bhujanga Asana: This snake pose will help to strengthen your abdominal muscles.
- Pranayama: Pranayama will tuck in the tummy and help to tighten your stomach muscles.
- Suryanamaskar: Once you learn the normal asanas, you can proceed with suryanamaskar which will stretch your abdominal muscles and help to lose the flab around your tummy.
Exercises to Reduce Tummy After Caesarean
There are a number of exercises to reduce belly fat after a C-section. You can follow a routine once you recover and your doctor gives the green light to exercise. Exercise will help to reduce tummy fat by strengthening the abdominal muscles and burning the excess fat around the hips and core. You can start with mild exercises and gradually move on to complex ones with gudiance from a physical trainer. Wear a compression garment over the C-section wound to prevent the pressure hurting it. Some exercises you can try doing are:
1. Pelvic Tilts
Contract your stomach muscles and tilt your hips forward. You can do this while sitting, standing or lying down. Doing it daily will help to strengthen your abdominal muscles and speed up the healing process.
Hold your body in a push-up position, while bearing all your weight down on the forearms, elbows, and toes. Hold for at least 30 seconds and repeat thrice. This is a good exercise as it strengthens the abdominal muscles and also puts zero pressure on your C-section wound.
Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold for five seconds and then release. Remember to not hold your breath while doing this exercise. Try it 4-5 times in a row, with a 10-seconds break in between each. This strengthens your pelvic floor muscles.
Lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Spread your hands, keeping your palms facing downwards. Tuck in your stomach muscles and slowly lift your buttocks off the floor, followed by your stomach and middle back. Keep your shoulders on the ground. Hold for ten seconds and gently lower your body back onto the ground. Repeat this exercise around 4-6 times to strengthen your hips and tone the stomach.
5. Lower Abdominal Slide
This exercise targets the lower abdominal muscles which are affected by the C-section surgery. Lie down with your feet flat on the ground, knees bent and arms straight at your sides; let your palms face downwards. Keep your stomach tucked in and contract your abdominal muscles to slowly slide your right leg straight out. Bring the leg back to its starting position slowly. Repeat with the opposite leg. Do this 3-5 times with the right and left leg alternately.
6. Forward Bends
Stand straight and slowly bend downwards with your arms at your side till your head is level with your knees. Hold the position for ten seconds and straighten your body again. Repeat this 4-5 times to strengthen your lower back and burn calories off your middle.
Abdominal Belt to Flatten your Stomach after a C-Section
One of the methods you can employ is wearing a tummy reducing belt after C-section. It gives the dual advantage of supporting your body and regaining firmness of your belly post-delivery. But it may also hurt the incision wound if the mother is overweight. You must remember that a C-section is a complicated delivery and any wrongly applied pressure to the wound post-delivery can interfere with the healing process. Therefore, consult a doctor before trying on any such belt. Some more benefits of wearing an abdominal belt are:
- Movements like standing up or sitting down can be very painful while recovering from a C-section delivery. An abdominal belt will hold your tummy in and ease the pain.
- Your back muscles tend to become soft and weak during pregnancy. An abdominal belt will support your back and strengthen it.
- The abdominal belt will keep your stomach in place and allowthe stitches to heal quickly.
Never exert yourself or continue exercising if you feel pain in your abdomen. If you’re planning to start working out after a C-section delivery, consult your doctor first so that you don’t risk your health in the process. Follow the tips above to safely get a flat tummy in no time.