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How to Get Rid of a

Mommy Belly

How to Get Rid of a Mommy Belly

You absolutely love your new baby. The stubborn belly fat hanging around your lower stomach? Not so much. Many moms, including myself, have struggled with this “mommy tummy” in the months following their pregnancy. If you’re looking to get rid of a mommy belly after giving birth, here are my top 10 tips for doing just that. From wearing postpartum shapewear to exercising, I cover it all!

Woman holding mommy belly

1. Know what mommy belly is.

This phenomenon goes by many names, including mum tum, mommy belly, mommy tummy, apron belly, mommy overhang and hanging belly after pregnancy. To make matters even more confusing, these terms are sometimes used to refer to two separate things. One is excess abdominal fat that remains after giving birth, and the other is a more serious condition called diastasis recti (more on that in the next section). In this article, I’ll be using “mommy belly” to refer to the pooch of fat that remains after many of us give birth, not diastasis recti, just so we’re on the same page.

holding pregnany stomach

2. Determine if you have diastasis recti instead.

Diastasis recti refers to a condition in which the muscles of your stomach separate at the midline, so the muscles are only connected by a thin mat of collagen instead of aligning right against one another. This condition is relatively common in pregnancy because the growing baby puts pressure on the stomach muscles from within, sometimes stretching them apart. But it can happen to anyone, including children and men. You may even be able to feel the gap between the muscles with your fingers after you give birth. In many women, diastasis recti heals naturally in the weeks following birth as their organs shrink back to normal. However, in some women, the diastasis recti persists and they have to be treated by their physicians (often via physical therapy).

Breast feeding child

3. Consult with your doctor.

Before doing anything about your “mommy belly,” you should talk with your doctor to determine if it’s just post-pregnancy fat or if you have diastasis recti. If your abdominal muscles have separated, your doctor will likely recommend that you avoid a variety of activities until they heal, which includes abdominal exercises, lifting heavy objects or weights and strenuous workouts. They will also likely recommend that you practice good posture, support your lower back while sitting down, brace your stomach when you cough or sneeze and use your arm (instead of your ab muscles) to brace yourself when sitting or standing up. If your diastasis recti is very pronounced, they may also recommend physical therapy to help with it. Knowing whether or not you have diastasis recti is very important because some of the tips that can help improve mommy belly can actually make diastasis recti worse! Always follow your doctor’s advice before making any post-pregnancy lifestyle changes.

mother and child on bed

4. Be patient with yourself.

It took you nine months (or more) to gain all that pregnancy weight, so you’re not going to lose it overnight. Indeed, you’ll go home from the hospital still looking 6 to 7 months pregnant, even though you’ve already given birth to your baby! You’ll lose about half the baby weight either during birth or during the next six weeks as your body quickly sheds the tissues and fluids it built up to cushion the baby. However, your body can’t get rid of fat as easily as it does fluid retention. Most women will take between six and 12 months to lose the pounds they gained in pregnancy and get back to their pre-pregnancy weight. In fact, if you lose weight too soon after pregnancy, it can prolong your recovery in other ways, so embrace your new softer physique for the time being. It’s totally normal for it to take a while to lose that pregnancy weight, so be patient with yourself and don’t try to rush things. I have to remind myself of this all the time, too! 

5. Wear strategic shapewear.

Postpartum shapewear can give you a flattering silhouette and help give you a confidence boost as you get back out into the world. I personally love the way that shapewear makes me feel supported and the way that it enhances my curves. 

Mother feeding child

If you’re wondering about the best shapewear for a lower belly pooch,  here are some specific products I recommend: 

Mother feeding child
  • High-Waisted Classic Smoothing Brief - Looking for a panty option? Our high-waisted smoothing panties are made from our SkinFuse® fabric, offering light compression for those who are new to wearing shapewear. Not only do these panties provide comfy compression, but they’re also smooth under clothes, so you don’t have to worry about panty lines.

If you’re more experienced and looking for something with even more support, then wearing a waist trainer (after you have fully recovered postpartum) could be a great solution for you. Below I share with you my favorite waist cincher to recommend to new moms:

  • 3-Belt Custom Waist Cincher with Lumbar Support - This waist cincher will help you get back to your pre-baby body in no time! The banded design lets you customize the level of compression you want for each section of your torso. Made with our double-layered SkinFuse® fabric, this cincher can be worn multiple ways while also offering comfortable support!
Abdominal binder
Abdominal binder

Your body changes a lot during pregnancy, and sometimes it takes a while to get it back to your pre-baby look! That’s why I love encouraging new moms to embrace wearing shapewear after pregnancy. For more ways to learn how to recover your figure after delivery with shapewear, read our helpful post that discusses all the essential shapewear items new moms need. Just remember, it’s always important to discuss with your doctor when it’s okay to wear shapewear after pregnancy. If you have diastasis recti or had a C-section that required an abdominal incision, talk to your doctor about when it’s safe for you to begin wearing shapewear.

6. Eat a healthy diet.

Eating a healthy diet after giving birth won’t just help encourage weight loss. It will also promote your recovery in other ways, too! For instance, eating lots of fiber such as whole grains can encourage bowel movements and relieve constipation, while consuming lots of fruits and vegetables will ensure that you get the nutrients you need. Lean proteins like chicken and fish will help you feel full without overeating. Also, make sure that you’re staying hydrated, and that you’re drinking enough water in particular. Paradoxically, your body will actually retain water if you’re dehydrated, which can lead to swelling and weight gain. If you find plain water too boring to drink, then I suggest trying to infuse it with fruits and vegetables such as lemons and cucumbers to make it more appealing.

7. Avoid unnecessary calories.

When you are trying to lose weight, maintaining a calorie deficit will encourage your body to burn excess fat. What deficit in calories each individual needs for weight loss depends on many factors, including your current weight, how active your lifestyle is and whether or not you’re breastfeeding (breastfeeding burns calories, so you’ll need to eat more food to fuel milk production than you would otherwise). Some high-calorie culprits to watch out for include sodas, juices, extra sauces and dressings and snacking when you’re not hungry—basically any “empty” calories that may taste good but don’t actually make you feel full. Personally, I try to look for healthier swaps for these items. For instance, I drink herbal tea instead of juice or soda when I’m in the mood for a flavorful beverage!

cardio burns calories

8. Get in your cardio.

Cardio burns calories and is an essential tool for pregnancy weight loss. Indeed, your doctor may recommend going for short walks within just a few days or weeks of giving birth to help strengthen your body and promote recovery. Once you’re ready for more strenuous exercise, going for brisk walks while pushing the stroller is good for you and the baby. You can incorporate more strenuous cardio as you feel up to it, including Zumba, aerobics, cycling, running and swimming. Aiming for 30 minutes of cardio at a time at least three times a week is a good benchmark to shoot for as your stamina increases. Put on some cute workout clothes and find a type of exercise that you genuinely enjoy! That way, you’ll be way more likely to do it.

9. Build your muscles.

Don’t forget to incorporate strength building exercises into your routine! This can take the form of bodyweight exercises, lifting weights, working with resistance bands and, of course, building your core through crunches, planks and other moves. Now, it’s important to keep in mind that all the crunches in the world won’t get rid of a mommy belly on their own. You can’t target tone away fat, and these exercises build the muscles underneath the fat anyway. However, building your core muscles are beneficial for improving your posture, which can minimize the appearance of your stomach. No matter how much you weigh, if you slouch over, your belly is going to pooch out. Strengthening those core muscles will help you stand up straight and improve the way you look.

happy woman in white underwear

10. Embrace your new body.

Pregnancy is a major event that affects your body in many ways, including the size of your feet,  the width of your hips and stretch marks on your skin. Even if you lose all the post-pregnancy weight, your body may still look a little bit different than it did before you got pregnant, and that’s totally to be expected. Instead of dwelling on what you used to look like, embrace your new body and everything that it has done. Creating and nurturing a small human to birth is a major accomplishment, and your body deserves to be celebrated for that alone!

If you’re overwhelmed by all the postpartum shapewear options, then definitely feel free to schedule an appointment with me or another one of Leonisa’s Personal Shoppers. I love helping new moms look and feel their best, whether that’s helping them to choose postpartum shapewear or finding them the perfect nursing bra. Embrace your curves with help from Leonisa today!

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