Perhaps you’re wondering what an apron belly is or how to get rid of one. Millions of mothers have an apron belly, which is why it’s often called a mother’s apron. This belly overhang could cause problems if you have a c-section, or it might feel unsightly.
When you have a pannus stomach, it’s when an apron of excess skin, tissue, and fat hangs over your abdomen’s bottom. It’s a common problem for plus-size women or those who have lost weight. It’s also an issue for women who have had many babies.
Please don’t be ashamed or embarrassed by it; it’s so common. However, I know it might cause you to feel upset or affect your self-esteem. So, here’s what you need to know.
What is An Apron Belly?
Sometimes, this is called apron belly, but you also might hear the terms “stomach apron” or “mother’s apron.” The technical name is a pannus stomach, and it occurs when the belly and fat around internal organs expand, typically due to weight gain or pregnancy. That leads to extra fat deposits in this region.
The size of your apron belly can vary. Some women have a small belly that hangs to the top of their pubic area. Other women might have an apron belly that reaches to their knees.
It’s not exclusive to just women, despite the names, and women who haven’t had babies also can experience this. Men who have lost weight can also experience this, or anyone who is overweight.
Unfortunately, it can be a bit uncomfortable! It can cause skin-to-skin contact, leading to a build-up of moisture and sweat. That leads to skin becoming irritated, chafed, and sore.
Another problem that you might have is healing from a c-section. If you have skin that hangs over your incision area, it can cause moisture to build up when your incision needs to stay dry. That can lead to bacterial or yeast infections, which could delay your healing.
Taking Care of Your Apron Belly
Because of the problems it can cause, you need to keep this area clean. You could experience heat rashes, skin ulcers, yeast infections, skin tags, and more due to the constant dampness and moisture build-up. It’s not uncommon to find a large rash under the belly apron.
Pay extra attention to this area when you’re showering after a c-section. A shower brush or handheld showerhead can clean the area under your apron belly.
Moisture is also another serious concern. It needs to stay dry, and you can try after a shower to use a hairdryer on cool to get the area fully dry. You also can try to use pads and powders; anti-fungal powders are an ideal choice.
Here are some other suggestions for taking care of your belly.
- Anti-Fungal Powders
It’s not uncommon for a yeast rash to develop under a belly flap. Anti-fungal powders are recommended to chase yeast away while keeping the area dry throughout the day.
One of the best anti-fungal powders to try is the Coloplast Micro-Guard Anti-Fungal Powder. Mothers recommend it as a treatment for superficial fungal infections; it works fast for candida, jock itch, ringworm, and athlete’s foot.
- Anti-Chafing Cream
You can find some anti-chafing cream that you can apply to the underside of the skin that rubs or chafes. These creams can help stop any skin irritation or discomfort. Try this if you notice any rashes developing.
Chafing is horribly uncomfortable. One of the best products to stop chafing is Body Glide Original Anti-Chafe Balm. It looks like a deodorant stick, and you apply it the same, but you apply it wherever the skin rubs against the skin. It works for an apron belly during pregnancy, between your thighs, under your arms, or anywhere else.
Another option to try is Monistat Care Chafing Relief Powder. Monistat is designed to relieve chafing and skin irritation anywhere on your body and is easy to apply. It won’t leave a greasy residue, either.
- Try a Surgical Scrub
If you’ve had a c-section before, chances are the hospital staff gave you a bottle of Hibiclens to use the shower before your surgery. Hibiclens is a surgeon’s soap that kills everything that would be on your skin for hours.
I wouldn’t use it each day, but it could be an option that you try once or twice a week.
- Wear Breathable Clothing
You must wear breathable clothes, such as yoga pants or tunics. Dresses or skirts are other options that help keep the air flowing and the skin underneath dry.
- Support Bands & Clothing
You can try using a support band or clothing that supports the abdominal area. These bands and clothing can help conceal your apron belly and prevent more skin from sagging.
When extra weight is hanging down, that can lead to back problems because the excess weight pulls you forward. A support band reduces back problems.
Try a Maternity Belly Band. They’re made from stretchy material that works when pregnant or after pregnancy if you have a mother’s apron belly. It provides coverage and smooths your sagging skin, perfect for undershirts or leggings.
Relevant: B-belly vs. D-belly!
How to Hide An Apron Belly
Having a tummy apron drags down your self-esteem, and it takes time to get rid of a belly flap. Hanging bellies don’t disappear in a day or even weeks; it takes time. So, until all of your steps to reduce your belly flap work, here are some tricks for hiding it.
Wear Shapewear or Compression Garments
Abdominal compression garments flatten and smooth a belly flap. While they won’t eliminate it, it helps with your self-confidence, especially if you want to wear form-fitting clothes.
One of the most popular choices by women for shapewear for an apron belly is high-waist underwear. Women love high-waist, full-coverage briefs, such as these by Ummiss. The thick elastic band at the top reaches your belly button, smoothing the belly flap comfortably.
Wear Loose Clothes
Wearing the right clothes hides an apron flap. Empire waist dresses and shirts that hug your bodice and flare out are flattering yet hide your belly. Full, high-rise skirts and leggings also hide a belly, especially when paired with an empire-waisted shirt.
How Do I Get Rid of My Overhang on My Stomach Without Surgery?
Some women want to get rid of the apron belly. You can reduce or remove it entirely, but it does take time. Don’t expect it to disappear in a few days or weeks.
Getting rid of a mother’s apron requires eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, and exercising. The keys to success are the right workouts, losing weight, and toning your stomach.
Here are some other dietary tips to get rid of an apron belly.
- Limit red meat and avoid fried foods, bacon, ham, deli meat, and hot dogs.
- Eat more non-starchy vegetables, such as leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, mushrooms, and bell peppers.
- Increase your intake of protein. Eat more chicken, fish, eggs, seafood, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt.
Drink More Water
Another trick to reducing hanging bellies is to increase your water intake. Most women need 10-12 cups of water daily, and men need more than 16 cups daily. Drinking two cups of water before each meal helps your body digest the food better.
Avoid drinks with high calories, such as soda. It’s safe to drink black coffee or unsweetened tea. If you want some sweetness, try adding fruit chunks to your water for a bit of flavor.
Eat Healthy Food
Since a mother’s apron is often due to excess fat deposits, eating healthy food and losing weight is the first step you should try. Target foods that are low in calories.
Prepare whole-food meals at home. Fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean proteins should be the foundation of your diet. Focus on eating appropriate portion sizes that won’t exceed your calorie needs. You’ll also want to eliminate extra calories from fried foods containing sugar or refined grains. These types of foods contribute to your belly apron.
Exercise and Target Your Abs
Exercise is good for everyone, but you’d be wrong if you think doing stomach crunches and sit-ups will solve the problem. These exercises can strengthen your abdominal muscles, but they won’t make the problem disappear.
There are two layers of fat in your abdominal region, making it one of the hardest areas to tone. It’s easier to tone areas with one layer of fat, such as your arms or legs.
Focus on adding daily abdominal exercises to your routine that can shrink your midsection and apron belly. Aim to complete apron belly workouts each day if possible. Here are some activities that can tighten your pannus region.
- Plank holds
- Plank Jacks
- Leg Raises
- Russian Twists
- Side Planks
So, if you want to use exercise to target your problem area, you should try activities that cause you to move in many ways and directions.
Boosting your cardiovascular exercise routines also helps with weight loss, making it an excellent apron belly workout for both men and women. All forms of aerobic exercises, such as biking, rowing, swimming, and stair climbing, help to reduce a belly flap.
Balance Your Hormones
Hormonal imbalances, such as high insulin levels, result in belly fat building up around your abdominal region. Regulating your hormones is crucial to eliminate a hanging belly without surgery.
Talk to your doctor, and consider bloodwork to determine which hormones are imbalanced. Your doctor might suggest specific supplements to help regulate them and try these suggestions to balance your hormones naturally.
- Get enough sleep – 8 hours per day is the recommendation.
- Limit your caffeine intake
- Drink more water each day
- Exercise five times per week for 30 minutes to one hour
- Try daily relaxation techniques like yoga, journaling, or meditation.
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 and 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, 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.
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 your doctor first to see if you meet the requirements for this type of surgery.
How to Get Rid of an Apron Belly with Elective Procedures
Elective procedures are available to care for your problem if everything else fails to remove your belly flap. Most doctors want to see you try to exercise and diet for a set timeframe before agreeing to perform surgery; ask for a consultation to determine the ins and outs.
CoolSculpting is an elective procedure that doesn’t involve surgery and is less invasive. The process involves freezing the extra fat that causes the abdominal apron using a cooling applicator. When the fat cells freeze, your body processes them as waste.
CoolSculpting is a fast procedure that takes 30-60 minutes for each area of your body. Most women need several sessions depending on how much fat is in each area.
Understand that removing hanging bellies takes time to see the result. It takes up to one month to notice a difference. Full results take up to three months.
Another option to try is a laser procedure that melts the fat under the skin. A small incision is made in the belly flap skin to allow entrance for the laser.
After the laser melts the fat, a small tube removes it, and the incision is stitched shut. Despite the incision, it’s considered a non-surgical option and far less invasive than other options.
Laser fat removal takes around one hour for each target area. The results are faster than CoolSculpting, but they still take time due to swelling.
This is the surgical procedure that removes the pannus. The difference between a tummy tuck and a panniculectomy is that it doesn’t tighten the abdominal muscles. It removes extra skin and fat.
Many insurance companies cover panniculectomies if you meet the criteria because it’s not cosmetic surgery.
Dealing with an apron belly can be hard, and getting rid of one is even harder. They can cause problems with skin irritations or healing problems after a c-section. If you feel self-conscious about your belly, take steps to get rid of it or make it more comfortable. Remember that you are beautiful with or without this belly hang!
Hey, this is Linda. My biggest accomplishment in life is being a mother of four children. Their current ages range from almost ten years old down to 20 months old.
I’m passionate about writing parenting articles because I understand so well all of the problems and trials you face as a parent. From breastfeeding woes to budgeting problems and behavior problems, along with everything in between, chances are I’ve faced it over the last ten years. Read more about Linda here.