Though having a little extra tummy after having a baby is completely natural and something that every mom will experience, that doesn’t mean that you’ll love it. Exercise is not only a great way to target your mom pouch, but it will also make you feel strong, confident, and less stressed.
The first thing I would like to point out is that your body is incredible. It has conceived, grown, and birthed a human – I don’t think it gets any more miraculous than that. This doesn’t change the fact that the postpartum belly overhang can cause significant distress for many women following pregnancy.
One study found that postpartum body dissatisfaction was associated with having a poor diet and worse mental health. I want to help you feel great about your body by sharing some of the best ways to improve your overall health – physical, mental, and emotional.
In this article, I will discuss how to lose your stomach pouch fast through various exercises and good nutrition. Not only will you start strengthening your core, but you’ll also be increasing your postpartum health and wellness – which is crucial after having a baby.
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How long after pregnancy can I start exercising?
What your body needs most after pregnancy is rest. It’s important that you give your body all of the time it needs to recover following the birth of your child, so there’s no need to rush back to a strict exercise regime!
It’s recommended that you speak with your healthcare practitioner before resuming any kind of exercise following the birth of your baby. Not only will they be able to tell you the safest ways to exercise, but they’ll also be able to advise as to whether your core is ready for targeted strength training – such as planks and other abdominal exercises.
Once you’ve got the all-clear from your healthcare practitioner, start slowly. You might like to begin by making slight adjustments to your nutrition to ensure that you’re fueling your body with good food, as well as incorporating a couple of basic exercises into your day.
When you feel that your body is ready for the next step, you could group a few of the following movements together to create a short workout for yourself. Increasing in time every day and listening to your body.
If you’re well beyond the 6-week postpartum mark and fully recovered from the birth, you can go ahead and work out for 30-60 minutes every day!
How to prioritize the rest
No matter how far along you are in your postpartum journey, having children is exhausting. So one of the most important things to do is to prioritize rest. You can do this by going to bed a little earlier or practicing an activity such as yoga, meditation, journaling, reading, or going for a quiet walk – even if you can only manage 10 minutes!
Always remember that your to-do list can wait. The most important thing is that you’re feeling healthy in your body and mind.
The best exercises to lose belly fat
Here, we’re going to look at some of the best and safest ways to lose your mom pooch after having a baby.
Cardio exercises are one of the best ways to lose overall body fat. When paired with core-targeted exercises, you’ll be well on your way to saying goodbye to your mommy tummy.
If you’re still in the early weeks of postpartum, you’ll want to start by walking. First, try taking a short walk every day, gradually increasing the time as your body gets stronger. After that, you can move on to jogging, cycling, and running!
Wait for the all-clear from your healthcare practitioner before incorporating core exercises into your fitness routine. Once you’re ready, here are a few simple movements to start practicing:
Start on your hands and knees, ensuring that your wrists are directly underneath your shoulders. Next, move your knees back to create a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Stay here for one minute.
When you’re ready to move on to the next stage of this movement – providing you do not have diastasis recti – you can lift your knees away from the floor, holding the position for 30-60 seconds.
Lay on your back on the floor in a comfortable position. Take a deep breath in, then as you exhale, draw your navel towards your spine as far as is comfortable. You should start to feel your abdominals burning pretty quickly!
Start by holding the vacuum for 20 seconds, 3 times a day, eventually increasing to 60 seconds.
Start in a plank position with your knees lifted and your wrists underneath your shoulders. From here, bend the right leg bringing the knee into the chest, before placing back on the ground and repeating with the right.
Practice this movement as quickly as you can for 30 seconds, repeating 3-5 times.
Lay on your back with your feet together and hands at your sides. Inhale as you lift both of your legs towards the ceiling, keeping a gentle bend in the knees if it feels better. Exhale to bring the legs back down without touching the floor.
Continue for 30-60 seconds, repeating 3-5 times.
A HIIT workout – or high-intensity interval training – is one of the best ways to target overall fat, including your pregnancy pooch.
Practice the following 4 movements for 30 seconds each, resting for 30 seconds in between, and continuing for a total of 3-5 rounds.
Start on your hands and knees, ensuring that your wrists are directly underneath your shoulders. Next, move your knees back so that you create a straight line from your knees to your shoulders – an option to lift your knees if you feel ready!
- Goblet squat
For this movement, you’ll need a weighted object! For example, you might like to use a kettlebell, a large bottle of water, or a bag of heavy books.
Bring your feet a little further than hip distance apart, holding the object at your chest. Inhale and bend your knees until your glutes drop just below the level of your knees before coming back up to a standing position as you exhale. Focus on keeping your chest lifted by looking straight ahead and maintaining a straight spine.
Start in a standing position. Bring your hands to the floor in front of or between your feet, then quickly jump back into a plank position. Step your feet back to your hands and then come back to standing.
Start in a standing position. Bring your hands to the floor in front of or between your feet, then quickly jump back into a plank position. Bend your elbows to bring your body all the way down to the ground, followed by pushing back up to a plank, then jumping or stepping your feet forward to meet your hands. Come back to standing.
- Farmers carry
You’ll need a heavy object like a kettlebell, dumbbell, or bag of books for this movement.
Stand tall with your heavy object in one hand, walk forwards for 10-15 steps before switching your object into the other hand.
What to eat to lose your stomach pouch fast
Eating a healthy diet is important for the overall health of your body, not just the extra weight that you’re carrying post-pregnancy! So while it may help to reduce your belly fat, remember that a good diet is also going to give you more energy, clearer skin, and improved sleep.
If you’re breastfeeding, you need to be eating an extra 500 calories every day – and that’s no easy feat! The important thing to ensure is that those extra calories (and every other meal, for that matter) are made up of healthy, nutritious food.
Try to avoid processed food as much as possible by sticking to grains, meat, fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, and nuts. Nuts are a great way to increase your daily calorie intake to meet your breastfeeding needs without filling up on unhealthy foods.
Sauces and other condiments are often high in salt and fat, so consider making your own sauces, dips, and flavoring using herbs and spices!
Your body has been through some enormous changes over the last few months. Don’t be too hard on yourself or your body, and remember to listen to what your body needs as you begin a new exercise regime.
If you’re ever unsure whether or not a certain exercise is safe for your body, don’t hesitate to contact your healthcare practitioner. You’ll also want to confirm that there’s no gap – known as diastasis recti – before practicing any movements that target your core muscles.
Not only will movement and good nutrition reduce body fat, but they will improve your mental wellbeing, overall health, and energy levels. There are so many reasons to add exercise into your day, and only one of them is to lose belly fat – remember that!
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs. She loves eating too much sushi, exercise, and jamming out on her Fender.