Cutting the Apron Strings on Your Apron Belly: How to Do It Without Surgery

I consider myself lucky for a number of reasons. I’ve got a great husband and kids, I love my work, and I’m in good health.

While I did gain plenty of weight when I had both of my daughters, I was also lucky that I didn’t have an apron belly after a c-section. An apron belly during pregnancy happens to so many of my fellow mamas, though. And one message I received recently, in particular, touched my heart.

This mama felt depressed about her stomach overhang. She said she hates herself and how she looks, and she wanted to know if there was a way to get rid of mother’s apron without surgery because she will be at her best friend’s wedding in 9 months.

To this mama (who wished to remain anonymous) and the others just like her, you are beautiful just the way you are. You had 9 months of crazy changes happening to your body when preparing for birth. You must applaud yourself for this feat and give your body time to bounce back.

But you have to be honest too. If you’re not nurturing your body with proper nutrition and keeping active, you’re going to have a hard time getting your shape back into a fit state.

The good news is that you CAN get rid of that belly flap. And for this particular mama, you’ve got 9 months until that wedding. For you and other wonderful mamas out there doubting themselves, take this big hug I’m sending you and wrap yourself with love. And then get up and get moving with the tips I’ve got below for how to get rid of apron belly after c-section!

What exactly is an apron belly?

The technical term is pannus stomach. But most of us will call it apron belly or mommy apron. And yes, you can get rid of a pannus without surgery. It happens when the belly and the surrounding fat near your internal organs expand when you gain weight, like in pregnancy.

This creates fat deposits in the area under your ab muscles in front of your intestines. An apron-like flap is called the omentum. So that’s where the name comes from!

woman pinches lower belly

Note that:

Belly aprons can vary in size. Some hang to the top of your pubic area, while others may go down to the upper thighs. Some people have it hanging to their knees. Giving birth is one of the most common ways to get an apron belly, but it’s not the only way. Anyone that gains a lot of weight can get it. Yup, even men! And even in men that have lost weight.

You might not like the way it looks, of course. But that’s not the only thing that should motivate you to get rid of your tummy apron. With an apron belly, you have a greater risk of cancer, such as ovarian cancer. And it has been linked to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Don’t you want to be here to watch your children grow? Of course, you do, and you deserve to be here too. Don’t let that belly overhang get in your way – literally and figuratively too!

What can I do about my mommy apron?

Well, you have quite a few options that I’m going to address below. But first, you have to commit to getting rid of it. And if you do the work, you can make it go away on its own without going under the knife. Do it for your health, not just how you look! You’ll be so glad you did!

In the meantime, you can use anti-chafing creams to relieve the discomfort you have. You should also keep the skin clean and dry. And if you’d like to make your belly overhang less noticeable until you get to your goals, wear support bands, wraps or clothing that can lend a lift. This will also keep your back from hurting when it’s toting around excess weight from the front. Plus, the light compression it provides can help flatten things up.

These few things won’t get rid of your apron belly, but they will make things a bit more comfortable for you as you work on them.

Can you get rid of a stomach overhang without surgery?

Yes! To the mama at her wit’s end that wrote me and all the other mamas out there, my friend Cindy had a big belly flap after having her twins. Cindy was sad, but she worked very hard to get rid of it, and all that hard work paid off.

What did she do?

More physical activity

mom says lets go for walk

This goes beyond the gym. Obviously, to get rid of a mommy apron, you’ve got to exercise and do cardio plus strength training. This is about being more active overall. Stop sitting so much! Stand up and move around more. Cindy lived close to her local supermarket, so when she only had a few things to pick up, she’d put her twins in the double stroller and walk there.

If you’re too far from the store, you can park further away from the entrance, walk your dog, meet up with a neighbor for a walk, or simply put your baby in the stroller and get walking that way. Don’t forget to take the stairs rather than elevators or escalators (unless, of course, you have a stroller along!).

Cindy also told me that she got a fitness tracking watch that she wore religiously. “It motivated me just wearing it. I’d look down and see it and be compelled to get up and get moving.”

Engage your whole body

You can’t spot-reduce no matter how much you try. So do all the crunches and planks you like, but you won’t see your toned abs until you burn that fat. Full-body exercises are the way to reducing belly fat. Try things like squats which use bigger muscle groups and hence burn more calories.

Eat the fat

No, I don’t mean bad fats. I mean good fats! Order wild-caught salmon or cook it yourself at home. Even mackerel and herring can help give you those omega-3 fatty acids. For a meatless way to get them, choose almonds, walnuts, flaxseed, dark leafy greens, and use olive oil for your cooking.

Take water with you everywhere

detox water is even more helpful

If you don’t want surgery to correct the belly overhang, drink water. It helps get rid of it, and it keeps skin elastic so it won’t be loose after your weight loss. If you carry a bottle with you everywhere, you’ll be more likely to drink enough of the clear stuff!

Don’t indulge in alcohol or sugar

Ok, you can have a little on your birthday. Have fun! But the more you cut alcohol and sugar from your diet, the better results you’ll get from losing that stomach apron.

Create a calorie deficit

Do you know your daily intake of calories? It’s eye-opening when you track them. You forget those little things you nibble on here and there. A food journal is an excellent place to start. When you see what you’re eating and how it affects you, you’ll be able to avoid triggers and make healthy choices.

You can download apps that work for tracking calories, too, so that you’ll see exactly how many calories you’re eating. Then you can create a deficit with your calories, starting with 500, and go from there.

Correct hormonal imbalances

When hormones go off balance, you can get more fat around your midsection. Cortisol, the stress hormone, plus high insulin levels make fat pack on and make it hard to lose weight. Make sure you’re eating healthy foods with lots of nutrients, including those healthy fats, plus cut down your caffeine. And I know it’s hard with a new baby around, but get the sleep you need!

Which apron belly treatment is right for me?

Now, you should see results when you follow the tips above. But there are treatments you can explore with your doctor as well as surgery should you need it. Remember, you can’t spot-treat this hanging belly. You can reduce your weight and explore these other options.

I’ll list all your options – surgical and non-surgical now:

  • Lose the weight

Exercising and eating healthy will reduce fat deposits. I recommend trying this first, along with the other tips I listed above.

  • Laser procedures

Sometimes even when you do everything to the letter, you may have excess skin left behind. When that happens, exercise and diet won’t be enough to tighten that skin. That’s why I urge you to drink lots of water and keep your skin hydrated as you work to lose that weight. This will reduce your chances of having to explore these other options.

With lasers, you can get rid of some of the belly fat. It might be worth a chat with your doctor to see if you’re an eligible candidate. If you are breastfeeding or have certain medical conditions like obesity and others, you will likely not be eligible.

  • Surgery

Called panniculectomy; this is when they remove that pannus. This is not a tummy tuck though you can combine it with one. A tummy tuck isn’t covered by insurance, but a panniculectomy might be if specific criteria are met because it’s not usually considered cosmetic.

And like the lasers, you will need to consult with your doctor first to see if you meet the requirements for considering this type of surgery.

Final thoughts on apron belly…

You can absolutely get rid of that belly overhang without going under the knife. It takes commitment from you to get rid of it. If you are new with a belly apron, start engaging your health now. Take care of your skin and aim to lose the weight steadily so you prevent having sagging skin left behind once that fat goes.

Choose healthy foods, keep moving, get that sleep, and reduce your stress. These are the cornerstones for losing weight successfully.

There are no magic pills. Please don’t buy that junk. It is all marketing to make you think you’re going to be thin suddenly. I just saw an ad the other day for losing 70 pounds in 7 days. That’s abhorrent to me, giving people false hope that they can lose that kind of weight so quickly.

Think of the tortoise and the hare…slow and steady will win this race. It takes a combination of the things I mentioned and my commitment to getting rid of a tummy apron.

If you hate exercise, don’t push yourself to go to the gym. Instead, find something that gets you moving that you enjoy. Take a bike ride. Go for a swim. Try rowing. There is no one way to burn off the fat.

As for food, you’ll have to train your palate to prefer healthy and whole foods. Start eliminating processed foods and swap in more nutritious options. As you do, you’ll start getting a taste for these things, and you’ll miss those junk foods less and less.

You’ve got this, mama! Do it for you! You are unique, and you deserve to feel as amazing as you are!

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