How To Lose Belly Fat After C- Section: 10 Best Ways For Mommy In 2024

mitchelle morgan
by

Reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN
how to lose the belly fat after c section
Discover how to lose belly fat after a C-section delivery. Photo: Oksana Shufrych/Shutterstock

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Many women struggle to lose belly fat after delivery. Pregnancy is a magical experience and an opportunity to bring new life to the world. However, it’s common to gain weight and belly fat.

A C-section delivery requires surgery,[1] and afterward, a mother requires time to recover. So you can’t start jumping and running immediately.  Gaining baby weight is a normal part of pregnancy, and moms retain post-partum belly fat.

Read on and learn how to reduce belly fat and restore abdominal muscles. Remember, belly fat and excess weight post-partum after a C-section are normal and require patience to eliminate.

How To Reduce Belly Fat After C-Section

  • Eat a nutritious diet.
  • Add healthy fats to meals.
  • Consume whole grains.
  • Get a belly wrap.
  • Do gentle exercises.
  • Avoid processed foods.
  • Drink enough water.
  • Get ample rest.
  • Breastfeed your baby.
  • Take vitamins.

How To Lose The Belly Fat After C-Section

It’s important to spend time recovering after a C-section delivery to heal and bond with your baby. After some time, you can begin making small steps to lose tummy fat. Below are different ways of reducing tummy fat and regaining your flat stomach.

Eat A Nutritious Diet

After a C-section delivery, recovery requires lots of healthy nutrition as the mom regains her energy and breastfeeds. Both mother and child must eat nutritious meals with adequate calories to boost good health. Remember, if you breastfeed[2] during the first six months, your baby relies on you for proper nutrition.

Often, belly fat results from eating loads of food during pregnancy. Excess food is stored as fat and leads to an increase in overall body weight. After delivery, you can adjust your meals by focusing on a nutritious diet with whole foods to reduce that tummy after a C-section.

Research shows that eating healthy is instrumental[3] in losing weight. Therefore, you must focus on eating a balanced diet and avoiding unhealthy fast foods. Speak with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian about your diet.

After that, focus on a balanced diet that guarantees good nutrition. Excess belly fat puts you at risk of poor health since you are at risk of type 2 diabetes[4] and heart disease.[5] Therefore, it’s a good idea to start working on losing belly fat by eating foods that aid in weight loss.

Add Healthy Fats To Meals

Add Healthy Fats To Meals
Eat healthy dietary fats. Photo: nadianb/Shutterstock

Adding healthy fats[6] instead of unhealthy ones to your meals is another excellent way to lose belly fat.

Yes, certain fats are good for you, making it easier to lose weight. Knowing the difference between bad, unhealthy fats and good, healthy fats is important. Bad, unhealthy fats lead to weight gain, among other health issues, while good fat is part of a balanced diet essential for metabolic activities.

Focus on eating a nutritious diet[7] that includes healthy fats to lose tummy fat after a C-section. Good fats include monounsaturated fats like those found in olive and avocado oil. Evidence[8] shows that healthy fats play a role in weight loss as you work to reduce belly fat.

For example, polyunsaturated fats can suppress hunger, leaving you feeling fuller longer. Good food sources for healthy fats include:

  • Fatty fish.
  • Nuts.
  • Seeds.
  • Avocado.[9]
  • Yogurt.
  • Dark chocolate.

Consume Whole Grains

Whole grains are an excellent option to reverse weight gain and look your best.

After recovery, change your diet and focus on consuming whole grains.[10] Research shows that whole grains are good when you plan on losing weight.[11] Plus, whole grains are nutritious, providing many antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Focus on consuming complex carbohydrates present in fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to prevent weight gain and boost overall weight loss. Whole grains are fiber-rich[12] and are a good addition to your diet when you are aiming to lose weight. Soluble fiber helps suppress appetite[13] and prevent weight gain by overeating.

Have you been wondering how much fiber to consume per day? The recommendation[14] is 25 to 30 grams of dietary fiber, including soluble and insoluble fiber, for proper nutrition. Eat fiber-rich whole foods as you work to lose belly fat naturally.

The goal is to reduce body fat by increasing satiety,[15] meaning you won’t feel like eating frequently. Hunger prompts eating frequently, which isn’t ideal as you work to lose belly fat. Whole grains promote fullness and less snacking before the next meal.

Refined grains’ processing removes important parts, such as germ and bran. Such food sources may seem enticing, but choosing whole grains is better for eliminating tummy fat. Examples of whole grains to add to a balanced diet include:

  • Millet.
  • Oats.[16]
  • Brown rice.
  • Barley.[17]
  • Quinoa.

Get A Belly Wrap

Another way to reduce your belly size after a C-section is to get a belly wrap.[18] Pregnancy causes the belly to expand and affects your abdominal muscles. A belly wrap helps to tighten abdominal muscles around the abdominal area as you work to reduce belly fat.

However, consult a healthcare provider before using a belly wrap when thinking about how to tighten the tummy after a C-section. Pregnancy does lead to changes such as loose abdominal muscles, an expanded belly, and tummy fat.

Breastfeeding helps the uterus contract,[19] tightening the abdominal wall, so choosing this option over a belly wrap is much more practical – although the two can be used simultaneously.

The good news is a good belly wrap helps muscles recover[20] after months of stretching. In addition, a belly wrap can help limit abdominal pain during recovery, pain that often increases with breastfeeding due to the uterine contractions. It supports the muscles and organs as they shift back into the right position in your body.

Another benefit of a belly wrap is to help you get moving after a cesarean section. The wrap supports your pelvic floor as you start doing gentle exercises. It holds the muscles in your abdominal area, giving you relief and support.

Do Gentle Exercises

Getting active is one of the best ways to prevent weight gain and boost fat loss. However, this isn’t the time to start doing abdominal or core exercises. Instead, you must begin with gentle exercises as your body recovers.

Start doing slow, gentle exercises[21] like walking as the wound heals. Recovering from a C-section won’t happen overnight, and it’s best to consult your doctor before getting active. Only after getting a green light should you start to do gentle exercises to lose weight.

Being active is beneficial since you regain good health[22] and live a good life. At the top of the list of benefits of gentle exercises[23] is losing weight. As you shed overall body weight, you also manage to reduce tummy fat.

Regular exercise[24] helps you feel good, and you can lower your chances of experiencing postnatal depression. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can leave you feeling overwhelmed, which continues even after the C-section delivery. The good news is abdominal exercises can also help reduce the symptoms of postnatal depression.

New moms can do specific pelvic floor exercises[25] such as Kegels, toe taps, happy baby pose, and heel slides. The goal is to engage pelvic floor muscles for better core strength post-pregnancy.

Avoid Processed Foods

Eating healthy foods is a winning strategy for weight loss. As a new mom, you must eat the right food for better recovery and your baby. Processed foods[26] are common in stores and supermarkets across the country. But these aren’t healthy food options when you want to lose weight. In fact, evidence shows that eating ultra-processed foods[27] leads to weight gain and poor health.

As a new mom recovering from C-section delivery, you must avoid eating processed foods[28] and junk foods that are often too salty, fatty, or sugary. Instead, stick to whole foods with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, whole foods, like fresh fruits and veggies, can aid in weight loss and getting rid of belly fat.

The hanging belly is normal for a cesarean section mom as you recover from surgery. However, it’s not permanent. After six to eight weeks, you can begin taking more active steps to burn calories and recover your body. Before that, pelvic floor exercises and gentle walking[23] are the suggested methods to regain your pre-pregnancy shape.

Examples of processed foods to avoid include:

Drink Enough Water

Every new mom must also drink enough water for proper hydration as she works to lose belly fat after healing. Ensure you drink enough water[31] to lose weight and reduce tummy fat. Research shows that drinking 6-8 cups of water daily plus an additional 2 cups before meals[32] (1.5 liters) helps you get full faster so you won’t overeat.

Water is a good strategy for losing baby weight and reclaiming your body. Drinking enough water helps you feel fuller for longer and increases calorie burn. Proper hydration is also necessary for milk production if you choose to breastfeed.

Another reason to drink water is to boost metabolism[32] and calorie-burning. Did you know that drinking enough water increases resting energy expenditure? When it happens, your body keeps burning calories even when resting to reduce body fat.

Lastly, detox water is a good drink option to lose baby weight. Most drinks, like sodas, contain many calories that can lead to weight gain.[33] However, water is a calorie-free drink that benefits your health and well-being.

Get Ample Rest

Every mom who’s undergone a normal birth or a cesarean section must rest to recover. Sleep helps your body relax during the healing period. Plus, sleep is also beneficial when you want to lose weight.

Starting to get active as a new mom is important for numerous reasons. Gentle exercises can help you lose weight and restore abdominal muscles. However, find time to rest[34] after working out, especially when the baby sleeps.

Sleep is handy as you work to suppress your appetite[35] and prevent weight gain. Just ensure a balanced diet and avoid excesses by heading to bed. Research[34] shows that sleep deprivation can lead to eating and drinking to pass the time.

You have an increased appetite, and the only thing to do is to eat more food. Therefore, it’s paramount that you get enough sleep as a new mom to avoid over-eating.

Breastfeed Your Baby

Breastfeed Your Baby
Breastfeeding your baby can help you lose weight. Photo: Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

Focus on healthy weight loss as a new mom. There are numerous beneficial ways to lose a postpartum belly after a cesarean section, such as breastfeeding your baby.

Adjusting your eating patterns and types of foods is handy when you want to lose weight.[36] But, you must ensure you eat enough calories to boost milk production and body function. Breastfeeding moms need 1,800 calories a day[37] to produce enough quality milk for their growing infant; weight loss can be achieved on this calorie level if combined with activity.

In fact, a breastfeeding mom must consume up to 500 more calories daily. It’s common for many moms to feel hungry when breastfeeding due to milk production. You must eat a minimum of 1,800 calories per day as just stated to produce sufficient milk allowing for weight loss while still lactating. The good news is you can lose weight when breastfeeding your baby.[38]

For example, try eating less carbs and more vegetables during meals. A low-carb diet[39] that meets nutritional requirements can help you lose weight fast. However, intermittent fasting and keto diets are not recommended during lactation due to the risk of ketoacidosis.[40]

An important point to note is never to skip meals when breastfeeding your baby. Instead, keep your metabolism going and focus on a balanced diet.

Take Vitamins

You can take specific vitamins to help you on your weight loss journey. Luckily, numerous foods are good sources of vitamins for weight loss.

Consider taking vitamin D,[41] which helps decrease body fat. Low vitamin D levels put you at risk of obesity and post-partum depression,[42] among other health conditions.

In addition, you can boost vitamin B intake when you want to lose weight.[43] Vitamin B boosts energy levels and improves cellular health. Many women choose to continue their prenatal after delivery to replenish nutrient stores.

What Exercises To Avoid After C-Section

While weight loss can help you feel better and get rid of the baby weight, it’s important to be patient. Start a simple exercise routine, and avoid strenuous workouts.

It’s best to consult with a health practitioner before you head out to exercise. Let them evaluate the c-section scar and recommend the right exercises.

Regular C-section scar evaluation is important to note the state of the wound. You can increase workout intensity as you heal, but take 12 weeks before doing core exercises. Finding other ways, like using a belly wrap to strengthen stomach muscles post-pregnancy, is better.

A good strategy is to wait six to eight weeks post-surgery to start exercising to lose weight. After that, you can build intensity for the best cardio if you don’t feel pain. If you weren’t active before your pregnancy, you can start now and live a healthy life.

Conclusion

A cesarean section is a surgical procedure to bring life into the world. Moms who undergo a C-section need time for rest and recovery. After 12 weeks, you can start figuring out how to start high-impact exercises again to lose belly fat after a C-section.

Eating a healthy diet low in unhealthy fats and sugars is the best strategy for new moms to lose weight. Ensure you eat a healthy, balanced diet with at least 1,800 calories if breastfeeding, and refrain from processed foods.

Also, new moms must drink enough water, get ample rest, and do gentle exercises. Begin working on different ways to lose belly fat after a cesarean section. It’s possible, but remember to pace yourself as your body recovers. However, you may require plastic surgery, such as a tummy tuck, to totally remove a pouch.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to lose belly fat after a C-section?

Yes, you can lose belly fat after a C-section. However, take time before you begin your weight loss journey so the body has time to recover. Eating healthfully and using portion control can be a great way to lose weight.

How long does a C-section belly last?

It’s normal to have a C-section belly after surgery as you recover at home. Normally, a C-section belly will last six to eight weeks post-surgery. 

Why do I still look pregnant 2 years after C-section?

The reason you look pregnant 2 years after a C-section is because you have a C-section pouch. Wearing a belly wrap can be a good way for new moms to remove the pouch.

How can I get rid of my C-section belly fast?

The best ways to lose a C-section belly fast involve eating a nutritious diet and refraining from junk food. In addition, get active by doing gentle exercises, getting ample rest, and hydrating your body.

Can you take weight loss supplements after a cesarean section?

No, avoid taking weight loss supplements after a cesarean section. Instead, focus on healthy ways to lose weight, especially when breastfeeding. Eat healthy, start walking, and avoid diet pills.

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EHproject has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We work mostly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure accurate information. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mitchelle Morgan is a health and wellness writer with over 10 years of experience. She holds a Master's in Communication. Her mission is to provide readers with information that helps them live a better lifestyle. All… See More