Last updated on March 11, 2023
It’s no secret that pregnancy and childbirth can cause women’s bodies to change, and if you’ve had a c-section delivery, you might notice that you now have a stomach overhang (or hanging belly). While the female body is designed to heal after birth, your belly l may not go back to normal, no matter how hard you try.
It’s important to remember to give yourself time to rest after pregnancy, as recovering from childbirth (either natural or by c-section delivery) can take a few months. There are however a few steps that you can take to help get rid of a hanging belly after a c-section.
What causes a hanging belly after pregnancy?
A hanging belly is the visible layer of excess skin and fat that hangs over the c-section scar and occurs when the skin and fat expand due to pregnancy (or weight gain). This happens because of the following changes to the body:
- An increase in the surface area of the skin
- The stretching of abdominal muscles
- The skin becomes thinner
Top tips for how to get rid of a belly hang after c-section
While some women can get rid of their sagging belly in a matter of months, for others, it can take significantly longer, sometimes even years. Your age and the extent of your overhang and skin expansion are significant factors in recovery. We’ve got some tips to help you take matters into your own hands and achieve faster results.
Getting enough sleep with a newborn baby can be very challenging, but it’s important that you try to get at least 7 hours a day. Sleeping for at least 7 hours will give you more energy to exercise and help you lose excess weight faster, but it will also improve your overall mood and mental health.
Before you start exercising after having a c-section, it’s recommended that you get the green light from your doctor first. Trying too much too soon can cause complications and be potentially physically harmful. Once you have the all-clear, you can start to burn calories by doing light exercises that will tighten up your abdominal muscles and reduce the size of your hanging belly.
Did you know that breastfeeding burns up to 500 calories a day? New mums burn these calories by producing breast milk. Studies have found that women who partially or exclusively breastfeed tend to lose more weight during the first 3 to 6 months after birth than those who only feed their baby formula.
It’s always essential to maintain a healthy diet, especially when trying to lose weight, and the healthier you eat, the faster you’ll start seeing results. You should ensure you’re eating fruits, vegetables, protein and whole grains and drinking lots of water (which also helps with breast milk production). You should also try to avoid carbs and processed sugar as much as possible.
Postpartum support belt
A postpartum support belt (or ‘belly band’) helps to strengthen your core muscles and get rid of a hanging belly faster. In addition, they can help to tighten your abdominal muscles, reduce swelling and give your stomach a flatter appearance when wearing clothes. However, it’s always best to confirm with your doctor that it’s safe for you to use a belly band following a C-section.
Cryolipolysis and Radiofrequency Therapy
Some non-surgical cosmetic procedures can help with removing excess fat and skin tightening. For example, Radiofrequency tightening and CoolSculpting help remove excess fat and tighten the loose skin around your c-section scar.
Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)
The most common surgical procedure to get rid of a hanging belly after a c-section is an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). The procedure removes excess skin, fat, unwanted scars and stretch marks and allows tightening of the abdominal muscles removing your hanging belly and giving you a flatter stomach. It’s also often combined with liposuction to help remove additional stubborn pockets of fat.
You can find some more information about our popular abdominoplasty procedure here. In addition, below are some frequent questions about getting rid of a hanging belly after a c-section.
How long does it take to lose a postpartum belly naturally?
How long it takes to lose your baby weight naturally depends on several factors, including your age, diet and how much exercise you do. Some women are able to get rid of their postpartum belly in a matter of months; for others, it can take a lot longer.
What is the difference between the stomach overhang and the mommy pooch?
The ‘stomach overhang’, or hanging belly, refers to the excess fat in your abdomen that hangs over your waistline. The mommy pooch is a bulge in the middle of your abdomen due to a separation of your rectus abdominus muscles, a condition known as diastasis recti.
Are there special stomach overhang exercises?
Some core exercises are safe to do if you’ve had a C-section. These include side planks, pelvic tilts, heel slides, Kegels, squats, and wall sits. You do need the okay from your doctor before you start exercising. Also, it would help if you avoided any exercise that puts unnecessary pressure on the pelvic floor.
How long does it take for a c-section to heal internally?
Every individual is slightly different, but it typically takes 8 weeks to recover from a c-section. It’s vitally important that you don’t do any heavy lifting or vigorous exercise whilst you’re healing.
How do I prevent my belly from overhanging after a c-section?
There are several preventative steps that you can take to minimise your hanging belly after a c-section. These include moisturising regularly, ensuring you get enough sleep, drinking enough water, eating healthily, and exercising where possible.