Our tummies all grow with pregnancy, of course. Fortunately, they shrink back down again, although with many of us, they just are not quite the same. Some of us have excess fat or that darn loose skin that just sort of hangs there. Tightening skin on your stomach can happen, but it will take time. I know, I know, that's not something you want to hear, but it's true. Want some tips and ideas to help speed up the process though? Great! Here they are:
1. Exercise. I can just hear the groans now. Sorry, because believe me, I know how tired you get from taking care of a baby, especially a newborn. I also know that caring for a baby takes up a lot of time, but exercise is going to be one of the best ways to go about tightening skin on your stomach. Try to exercise whenever you can fit it in. It can be walks with baby, getting to the gym, or doing workout DVDs at home (there are many DVDs now that offer 10, 20, 30 minute workouts if you have minimal time). Combining cardio with muscle toning is best to lose the tummy fat. Just doing ab exercises alone will not be good enough though, you need to lose the fat first, which is why you need the cardio as well. Some people have said that Pilates and yoga have helped with the toning. * Important Note: Make sure you get the "go ahead" from your doctor before doing any type of exercise. Women who have had c-sections generally have to wait longer than women who have delivered naturally.
2. Diet. More groans? I know, I hear you. Your diet is going to be another key factor in tightening that tummy. Now, I'm not saying to go on a diet, especially if you're breastfeeding, but just to eat a good healthy diet. You want to try to stick to things like fruits and veggies, lean proteins (chicken, fish, lean beef / pork, etc.) and whole grain foods. Check with your doctor first and get the "okay" from them before going on any diet that involves you cutting down on calories, etc.
3. Time. Tightening skin on your stomach is going to take time. Focus on losing your body fat and, as your body fat gets lower, your skin should tighten, but this will take time and therefore, patience on your part. It could take 1 to 2 years with a consistent exercise and healthy diet routine.
4. Uterus. After childbirth, your uterus is going to need a bit of time to shrink back to it's pre-pregnancy size. This generally takes a few weeks. Breastfeeding will aid the uterus to contract even more. So, if you've had your baby and you're sitting there thinking, "Ugh, I still look about 4-5 months pregnant", one of the reasons for this is the uterus still being in its larger state.
5. Water. Stay hydrated! Drinking the recommended daily amount of water will help you lose weight by keeping your metabolism up. It's also great for keeping you feeling more full and great for the skin!
6. Factors. There are a few factors that can contribute to your tummy shrinking. Things like genes, breastfeeding, your physical activity, weight gained during pregnancy, etc. Another example, if you've only had one child (as opposed to 2 or more), your odds are better for tightening skin on your stomach at a quicker rate. Factors such as genes, for example, may make it more difficult or take longer to tighten your tummy but again, just give it time, you can get there!
7. Pace. It is best to keep weight loss at a steady pace, not too quick. When you lose weight too fast, you do not give your skin time to catch up, resulting in excess skin.
8. Creams. Some people say that creams such as vitamin E, cocoa butter, moisturizer or preparation-H have been known to help with tightening skin on their stomachs. Some also say exfoliants have helped too. I personally have not tried any of these myself, so I can not say for sure, but I thought I'd add this information just in case you'd like to try it out and see if it benefits you.
9. Tummy Tuck. If you have given it your 100% effort, and really, really tried to tighten your tummy (which includes a consistently good diet and exercise routine for a good year or so), then a tummy tuck may be an option for you. I really believe that with dedication and patience that you can tighten your stomach without surgery but some women may decide that they want a tummy tuck in the end. It is a good idea to make sure you know the risks and also wait until you are done having children.