I’m thrilled to have Stephanie guest post today. She is the owner of Purple Laurel, which is all about helping your belly get back after having a baby. Today she’s talking about Tummy Toning after Baby.
Tummy Toning after Baby
Life changes forever after a baby is born, and many of the physical changes that happen during pregnancy—like rounder tummies and wider hips—don’t always go away on their own after you’ve given birth. After the birth of my first son in 2012, the weight around my belly dropped off immediately. (Much to my relief!) But slimming back down after my second pregnancy wasn’t quite as easy…
Of course, a healthy diet and exercise during the postpartum period are two of the best things you can do for yourself and for your baby. But let’s get real — many new moms (including myself!) want to start looking slimmer as quickly as possible, and we’re often looking for ways to speed up the recovery process and get back our pre-pregnancy bodies ASAP. Although there are no shortcuts to childbirth recovery, there are things that we can all do to get back to exercising sooner and ultimately decreasing the dreaded post-baby tummy pooch.
As the owner of Purple Laurel, a boutique that specializes in supportive shapewear for women before, during, and after pregnancy, I’ve had the opportunity to work with hundreds of women who are trying to drop the weight they gained during pregnancy and help with Tummy Toning after Baby. I’ve seen many women benefit from wearing postpartum belly wraps regularly for the first six to eight weeks after giving birth, even in cases where those benefits didn’t necessary lead to dramatic weight loss.
Here are three of the most common questions I’ve heard from new moms who are looking for advice on slimming down and toning up after pregnancy. Hopefully if you’re in the same stage of life, some of these concerns might ring a bell for you.
Why does my belly still look pregnant after I’ve already given birth?
There is truth to the old adage, “nine months on, nine months off.” It takes weeks (if not months) for the body to recover from pregnancy. Most women say they look between six and seven months pregnant for the first two to three weeks after giving birth, so if you look slimmer than that, you’re already ahead of the game!
Although most women focus on weight during the postpartum recovery period, the real reason for the post-pregnancy belly bulge is more complex. During pregnancy, the uterus grows, and it takes four to six weeks to contract back to its pre-pregnancy size. No amount of diet or exercise will make the uterus contract before its ready. And truth be told, excessive calorie restriction during those first few weeks after giving birth can actually do more harm than good. That’s why it’s best to focus on eating healthy after pregnancy and exercising moderately, rather than focusing on the specific number of calories you’re consuming.
What can I do to feel better about my body before my doctor clears me for exercise?
Strenuous exercise is usually out of the picture during those first few weeks postpartum, but there are things that we can all do to start feeling better about ourselves.
At Purple Laurel, we sell postpartum belly wraps that can safely be worn immediately after giving birth. Postpartum wraps compress the abdomen and help shrink the uterus back down to its pre-pregnancy size. This can help you achieve a slimmer looking tummy, even without weight loss. Postpartum belly wrapping also serves a number of physical health purposes that aren’t necessarily aesthetic—like providing back and hip support and promoting retraction of the muscles in the abdomen.
What can those of us with Diastasis Recti do to flatten our tummies?
Diastasis Recti is a complex medical condition, and it’s always best to speak with a healthcare provider about the best methods for treatment. But, I have noticed a trend toward more physicians recommending postpartum belly wraps to their patients with Diastasis Recti. Belly wrapping or binding uses gentle compression to bring the abdominal muscles back together and repair the separation of the midline of the abdominal wall. The tighter you wear your wrap, the more effective it becomes. The same goes with the number of hours the belly wrap is worn each day. More is better, within reason.
Most of the physicians I have spoken with recommend that new mothers with Diastasis Recti wear their belly wraps for 8 to 18 hours per day during the first few weeks after giving birth. The wrap should be snug, but not so tight that it’s difficult to breath. A follow up appointment with a medical provider will reveal how well the wrap is working, and whether further treatment is necessary to repair the Diastasis Recti.
As more medical research becomes available about postpartum health, it’s becoming clear that support garments are more than just a passing trend for waist training. While some OB/GYNs are now selling belly binders in their offices, most are recommending that patients go online to specialty websites like my own, PurpleLaurel.com, to purchase medical-grade wraps to aid in the birth recovery process.
On a personal note, I love speaking with new mothers and finding out what products or wraps work best for them! If you have any questions about post-pregnancy health, belly wrapping, or the postpartum shapewear we sell at Purple Laurel specifically, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[tweetthis]Find out how to tone your tummy after having a baby with this guest post [/tweetthis]
Stephanie Miles is the founder of Purple Laurel, a boutique that specializes in supportive shapewear for women before, during, and after pregnancy. She lives in Northern California with her husband, two sons, and a French bulldog named Tinsley.