“What will my postpartum belly after baby look like?” is a question many mums think about over the months of pregnancy. We watch with delight, but also maybe with a little fear, as our pregnancy bellies expand to accommodate the baby during pregnancy.
Over nine months, the uterus (or womb) will slowly grow to 1,000 times its original size, and as it expands so does the belly, which becomes firm and distends to create the “baby bump.” We are in awe at our ever-growing baby bump, but once baby arrives many mums are sometimes unpleasantly surprised at the look of their belly after baby.
Let’s take a look at some incredible facts1 about your womb.
- It’s regular size is no larger than a pear (around three inches long and two inches wide). But by the end of the ninth month of pregnancy, your womb can grow to the size of a watermelon.
- It takes around six weeks after birth for the uterus to return to its regular size and shape.
- Some wombs known as bicornuate uteruses, are heart-shaped.
- In a condition known as Uterus Didelphys, some women are born with two uteruses.
- Your uterus grows a brand-new organ in pregnancy that is vital to your baby’s survival – the placenta. Soon after the baby is born, the uterus also “births” the placenta.
Now that you know how incredible your body – especially your uterus – is, it may be a little easier to understand why your tummy area might look the way it does after pregnancy.
Try not to worry too much about your belly after baby and remember it is normal to have a post-baby pouch for many months. It took you nine months to grow a baby, so be patient and give your body – and your stomach – the time it needs to recover. Until it does, we at UpSpring have got your back with some information on how to take care of your body during recovery and get back to your pre-pregnancy state safely.
How to care for your body after pregnancy and safely reduce your postpartum belly
1. Use a belly wrap or band
Immediately after birth, the uterus starts to do its part to help your belly after baby. Hormonal changes and nursing cause the uterus to contract and shrink. To help expedite this process you may consider a postpartum abdominal band or wrap that will compress the abdominal muscles and may help the uterus return to its original size and position more quickly. Postpartum belly wraps also help reduce swelling and support abdominal muscles and your core that may have weakened during pregnancy.
UpSpring has two belly wraps for you to consider:
- The Shrinkx Belly Bamboo Wrap, Triple-Point Compression
The Shrinkx Belly Bamboo Wrap by UpSpring combines cutting edge bamboo charcoal fibre technology and triple compression to help slim your belly and waist, while supporting your core muscles. If you’ve had a C-section, you will need to wait until you can wear this wrap comfortably, and , after checking with your doctor.. The Shrinkx Belly Bamboo Wrap also helps reduce postpartum swelling and bloating, especially in the belly area. Read more about the Shrinkx Belly Bamboo Wrap here.
- Shrinkx Belly Latex-Free Wrap, Ultra Slimming Triple-Point Compression
The Shrinkx Belly postpartum ultra-slimming belly wrap uses triple compression to support recovery after birth by compressing your belly and supporting your uterus, spine, and core. This process helps move extra fluid out of the tissues, resulting in less swelling and bloating. The built-in boning gives extra support, especially to your posture during those long hours of sitting in one place and breastfeeding. C-section mums can start wearing it as soon as they are comfortable to do so after delivery – no need to wait for weeks. As always, if you have any concerns, please contact your physician prior to wearing the Shrinkx Belly Wrap.
To learn more about the Shrinkx Belly Wrap, click here.
2. Listen to Your Body and When Ready, Be Active!
If you gained a few more kilos than you had hoped for during pregnancy, losing some of the extra weight (when safe to do so) can also help reduce the size of your belly after baby. Regular exercise can help you lose weight but make sure to start slow and build up to more rigorous exercise once your body is ready.
As a busy new mum, it can be hard to make time for exercise. Taking baby outside for a walk in the stroller is a good way to get started and can be a way to connect with other new mums. You could also wear your baby in a carrier or wrap and head outside. Just remember to take plenty of water and avoid the harsh and hot midday hours.
YouTube has some good postpartum exercise videos that you could try while your little one is napping. There are also many exercises or yoga that can be done with baby for special one-on one-bonding while you get healthy.
Remember to always check with your doctor before you commence exercising.
3. Eat Healthy
In addition to exercise, a healthy diet could help you lose the postpartum belly. Remember though, if you are breastfeeding you need to consume enough calories to support you and your growing baby so extreme dieting is not recommended. If you are able to eliminate sweets, fizzy drinks, fatty meats, and deep-fried foods from your diet, and instead include plenty of wholegrains, lean meat, fish, fresh vegetables, and fruit, you should see a difference to your overall health and weight.
Breastfeeding your baby2 is one of the most important functions you will perform after giving birth. It has an incredible range of benefits for your baby, ranging from bonding to providing antibodies and of course, tailor-made nourishment. But it also comes with an unexpected benefit for some mothers: weight loss.
Milk production3 is fueled by the burning of calories in your diet, and fat cells stored in your body. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,4 exclusively breastfeeding mums could burn around 500 extra calories a day. For context, this is equivalent to skipping one small meal, or engaging in around 45 minutes of medium-intensity exercise.
In addition to burning calories, breastfeeding also triggers contractions in your uterus that help it shrink, helping to reduce the size of your belly.
- 9 Weird Facts About Your Uterus Every Woman Needs to Know. Health. Last updated on April 18, 2019. Retrieved on July 9, 2021 from https://www.health.com/condition/sexual-health/uterus-facts.
- Breastfeeding: Health Benefits for Your Baby. Retrieved on July 9, 2021, from Breastfeeding: Health Benefits for Your Baby - HealthXchange
- I've heard that breast-feeding promotes weight loss. Is that true? Retrieved on July 9, 2021, from Breast-feeding and weight loss: What really happens? - Mayo Clinic
- Breastfeeding Your Baby. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Retrieved on July 9, 2021 from https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/breastfeeding-your-baby