The dreaded mommy tummy is something many moms don’t look forward to getting, and don’t know how to prevent during pregnancy. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take during pregnancy and right after birth to help your body heal faster, and prevent the mommy tummy from developing.
What causes mommy tummy during pregnancy?
Mommy tummy develops during pregnancy from the muscles stretching and lengthening, and from excess fat being stored on the abdominal during pregnancy. Pregnancy causes trauma to the abdominal muscles, which requires some therapy and healing afterwards.
Early in postpartum recovery, abdominal separation is normal. It takes time for the gap between the muscles to start closing in. Without the proper support, this gap can remain separated, which is called diastasis recti. If the gap remains after 3-6 months postpartum, daily exercises and posture work is essential. We will get more into how to do that at the end of this post.
Pregnancy also causes extra weight gain, which many women experience in their hips, thighs and stomach. The stomach fat isn’t as noticeable because it is stretching for baby. This is why many new moms are surprised to find a left-over pooch because they didn’t realize the extra fat went to their stomach as well.
What can you do during pregnancy to prevent mommy tummy?
To prevent mommy pooch during pregnancy you can do two things: gain less weight and engage your core daily. Let’s go over each of these.
First, gaining less weight means you will have less fat on your abdominal.
The extra weight on the outside of the abdominal muscles makes it more difficult for them to pull back in. Losing the extra weight is ESSENTIAL for helping your abs heal and recover. The more weight on your stomach, the more weight pulling your abs out, rather than letting them go back to their normal position. By eating healthy and staying active all pregnancy, you can gain less weight and help prevent mommy pooch from developing.
Second, if you practice engaging your core throughout pregnancy, your muscle memory and control will be much greater for recovery.
The more mind-muscle connection you have, the easier it will be for you to regain strength and control in the stretched muscles. This means that it will be more like second-nature to engage and breathe correctly, rather than having to learn to do this after you have the baby. Prenatal Pilates is a great way to do this, and it can be done in all trimester. Your core is the same as any muscle. If you do your squats all pregnancy, those muscles will remain strong and toned even after baby arrives. It will also be easier to jump back into squats because your muscles have memory!
What can you do after birth to help prevent mommy tummy?
After pregnancy, there are some things you can do right after birth to help you prevent the mommy pooch from even developing. Here’s where to start:
- Wear a postpartum belly wrap to support the muscles and encourage good posture
- Practice sitting and standing taller with an engaged core (no slouching and breastfeeding)
- Eat healthy right away. Don’t wait to nourish your body. Grab our free 10-day plan and a starter pack, so you can get going right away!
- Start a gentle Pilates routine to keep your core muscles engaged and healing
Managing a new born is a full-time job, so it can seem overwhelming to have to heal your body after birth as well. But, you really only need to spend 5-10 minutes working on your core every day with effective exercises, AND you can accomplish a lot just through your posture and a belly band.
How can you lose the mommy tummy once you have it?
Even with minimal weight gain and core work during pregnancy, mommy tummy can still develop. It is a natural process that happens after birth, and it can some times be more predominant with multiple pregnancies. Still, you can lose your mommy tummy long after you’ve had babies.
Your muscles can always be healed, and you can always lose extra abdominal fat. The longer you wait postpartum, the more work it may require, but doing the work will decrease your mommy pooch.
Here are some things you can do NOW, to start losing your mommy pooch:
- Jump start your weight loss with our free, 10-day diet plan (that won’t affect your milk supply)
- Do these 5 exercises EVERY day
- Read this guide on mommy tummy vs overhang
- Find a good belly band to help you with posture
- Get more steps in every day (aim for 10k)
These are very simple, actionable steps you can take NOW to start losing the mommy pooch and regaining your abs again.
How long does it take to lose the mommy tummy?
The time it takes to lose your mommy tummy is really dependent on the severity of your abdominal separation and the amount of weight you have on your stomach.
The first step is determining how wide your abdominal separation is. There are many ways to do this, but the easiest is to lie on your back and do a small crunch. While in the crunch position, put your fingers around your belly button area and see how deep and wide the separation is. The wider the separation the longer it will take to heal.
Second step is to determine how much fat is still remaining. There are a few ways to do this. You can just look and feel where it is, or you can measure your stomach, so you have something to go off of. No matter what, you will have to lose weight ALL OVER in order to reduce the stomach fat. Your body doesn’t lose weight in specific areas, so measuring your weight loss will help.