How to Get a Flat Tummy after Pregnancy
Images of Victoria Beckham weeks after the birth of one of her children looking stick thin has done very little for us real mums' confidence in our post baby figures. Here we give you some tips for you to follow to get that flat tummy back! We recommend taking a relaxed approach and don't set yourself unrealistic targets.
You will still look pregnant after your baby has been born.
Your uterus has taken over 9 months to grow, don't expect it to disappear overnight. It takes time, be patient! With the help of changing hormones your tummy will gradually shrink back to your pre-pregnancy state. On average it takes your uterus approximately 4 weeks to return to its normal size. Fluid you have retained during pregnancy will gradually dissipate through urine, sweat and vaginal secretions. After you have given birth the nurse or midwife will feel your uterus to check the position and size. They may well massage it to help it contract.
Exercise - how much or how little?
Before you embark on an exercise routine check your body is really ready for it. Have a chat with your doctor at your post-natal check up which is usually around the 6 week mark. So many changes occur during your pregnancy if you leap back into strenuous exercise you can be in danger of injuring yourself. So forget about those stomach crunches, they may well do you more harm than good.
Ask your health practitioner to recommend a post partum exercise program that will concentrate on the exercising the muscles in the correct way. There are more and more exercise classes aimed at Mum's where they can bring little one along. Look out for Baby Yoga and Pilates, ideal exercises to improve your flexibility and core strength. Get your trainers on and use this time to get some fresh air and go for gentle walks. Get a group of Mums together and you can make these occasions a real social affair.
Breast feeding to lose weight.
Breastfeeding can be a very magical time for both Mum and baby. It can also help enormously with the initial weight loss and stimulates the shrinking of the uterus and helps flatten your tummy. As well as helping burn calories the nipple stimulation of breast feeding produces the hormone oxytocin. This stimulates the muscles of the uterus to work and therefore helps to tone your tummy muscles so that they achieve their pre-pregnancy state. This is why you may feel light contractions from time to time as you breast feed for several days or weeks after your baby is born. It's nature's way of helping you get your tummy flat again, and is a bonus of breast feeding.
Don't fret if you find your weight loss plateaus whilst you are still breast feeding. Many Mums find that they cannot shed the remaining 5 to 10 pounds during this time. This is quite normal and experts claim this is the body's way of aiding milk production. Enjoy this time and plan to lose those few remaining pounds after you have stopped breastfeeding.
Nutrition - Don't diet!
Eat sensible well balanced meals, if you are breastfeeding you will be using about 500 more calories a day, you need to be able to fuel this.
Keep your fluids up preferably with water. Stock your kitchen with lots of delicious healthy snacks. We recommend carrot and cucumber sticks and humous, your favourite fruit, cottage cheese and rice crackers. One yummy mummy buys packs of rocket lettuce too munch on rather than crisps.
If you find it hard to resist them, don't have sugary and salty snacks to tempt you in the house. Give yourself one or two days a week when you are allowed some treats, then get back to the healthy eating plan for the rest of the week.
One of the best supplements to help your tummy back into shape is Collagen. Please note that you should not take this supplement while you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Collagen provides your skin with elasticity, texture, resilience and shape – exactly what your tummy needs after your baby is born. Marine collagen supplement is the easiest for your body to absorb and will help the tissue of your stomach regain its tone. Used regularly as part of your health regime, collagen supplementation can help tissue recover and support you in regaining your figure.
Returning your figure back to it's pre-pregnancy state should be a gradual process and any changes will take time to show so please be patient. Follow our tips and you will soon be able to fit back into your favourite clothes whilst remaining healthy and most importantly happy.