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How do I tighten my stomach after having a baby?

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So, you’ve made it through pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum recovery, now what?

It’s time to focus on you and start healing some of those lingering postpartum body changes!

Many first time moms struggle with separated abs and loose skin after birth. Some of these changes can be permanent (and are an amazing badge of honor), but there are treatments you can try to make improvements and feel more like your normal self.

Here are some proven tips to tighten your stomach after birth!

Woman pinches loose belly skin postpartum.

Ways To Tighten Your Abs

Unfortunately, you may still look pregnant weeks and months after delivery.

There are a few reasons for this: Your uterus needs to contract back to its normal size, your abdominals may have separated during pregnancy and you might still be carrying some extra weight.

Each of these conditions can create a protruding and flabby looking tummy.

The first thing you should do, is realize how amazing your body is and the incredible things you’ve just accomplished with it.

It’s OK if you don’t bounce back right away or even if there are lasting ramifications from pregnancy and birth.

Give yourself some grace!

You’ll also want to invest in a good belly binder, heal Diastasis Recti with special exercises and therapy and work on implementing a healthy diet and workout regimen.

Belly Binding

Make sure you purchase a good belly binder before you go into labor and have this waiting for you when you get home. You can even include this on your baby registry checklist (not everything on there has to be for baby!).

Belly binders work wonders to quickly shrink your belly back to “normal”.

Wearing a binder forces you to support your abs with your diaphragm and provides strength to your lower back.

As your uterus contracts during the postpartum recovery period, a binder will keep you cinched together and can also encourage the nerves in separated abs to start communicating again.

RELATED: Is it too late to wear a postpartum girdle?

Dealing With Diastasis Recti

Diastasis Recti is the partial or complete separation of the rectus abdominis. During pregnancy, your lower “six pack” ab area can separate to make way for your growing baby.

Up to 60% of women will experience some degree of ab separation after birth. Some of the symptoms are:

  • Continued belly protrusion even after diet and exercise
  • Lower back pain
  • Bloating
  • Constipation

Your doctor can diagnosis this condition with a simple physical exam and you can even test for it yourself.

If Diastasis Recti is confirmed, you’ll need to adjust any exercises you are doing to make sure they are ab-safe, seek therapy and work on rebuilding ab connection through breathing exercises and strength training.

Continue wearing a belly binder and work on the exercises your doctor or therapist recommend. If you find that your pain and discomfort interfere with your daily routine and don’t improve, surgery may be an option.

Weight Loss

If you’re carrying a few extra pounds from pregnancy, there are some easy adjustments you can make to help shed those lingering pounds.

Start with practicing portion control and drinking lots of water and focus on making healthy meals that are satisfying and affordable.

Use proven resources, including apps and diet plans that teach you how to safely lose weight while breastfeeding and remember to be consistent.

Finally, try easy exercises to lose baby weight that provide a quick burn and can fit into your daily routine.

What To Do About Loose Skin

Along with tightening your abs, you can also work on tightening loose skin.

Keep in mind, if your skin has stretched beyond a certain point, it may never go completely back to normal, but you can make improvements.

  • Try massaging your skin with healing oils, especially Vitamin E.
  • Use stretch mark and collagen creams.
  • Continue to take a prenatal vitamin.
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet, including health fats and Omega 3s.

If you don’t see the kind of improvement you hope for and loose skin affects your quality of life, you may be able to address this with surgery if approved by a doctor.

Need more help? Here are even more tips for the mom-to-be for pregnancy, postpartum and beyond!