One of the most common worries women have after giving birth (aside from the obvious worries about being a new mom and all that it entails) is about her post pregnancy body. Specifically, women are concerned with how to tighten loose skin after pregnancy. It’s no secret that women have a lot of body insecurities, and the so-called “fourth trimester” can be a time when we are at our most vulnerable to self-confidence issues.
Loose skin after pregnancy is a totally normal occurrence. Because skin is stretched to its limits during pregnancy, we’re often prone to stretch marks, which can be permanently disfiguring. Even if we lose weight post-pregnancy, our bellies often don’t flatten out again, leaving us with an unsightly belly pouch that can make us feel insecure.
If you are looking for advice on how to tighten loose skin after pregnancy, I’ve got good news. There are several great tips for firming up the loose skin that pregnancy can cause. Read on for some of the best ways to restore, rejuvenate, and tighten loose skin after pregnancy so you can get back to your pre-baby body in no time.
What is a pregnancy pouch?
A pregnancy pouch, or “mummy tummy” as it is sometimes called is the protruding bit of lower belly that can sometimes be hard to lose after having a baby. Whether you are petite or plus-sized, most women report difficulty their pre-baby body back.
This is due to the physiological changes the body undergoes during pregnancy. The skin of the belly is forced to stretch in an unnaturally quick way leading to collagen rupturing and skin sagging. The result is a semi-permanent pouch that can be minimized through diet and exercise, but it will never truly be removed without extreme measures like surgery.
How long does it take for skin to bounce back?
For a lucky few with extremely good genetics, their skin will not overstretch, and they will bounce back fairly quickly. A lot depends on how active they were before and during their pregnancies and how good their diets were. For most women, it will take a concentrated effort over many months to regain their pre-pregnancy bodies.
The rule of thumb is that it takes nine months for your body to change and grow a baby. It should take no less for you to change back.
That said, it is important to keep things in perspective. Your body has done this amazing thing, and it has been changed forever. It may never be what it once was, and that is okay.
This is especially true if you are one of the 21% of women (nearly 30 million) who have a c-section.
Will loose skin go away on its own?
For some women, depending on how much they have gained or lost, loose skin may eventually go away on its own. This is usually true of women who have only gained a small amount of weight in their pregnancies and have very small bumps.
This is not always the case, however. Many times smaller women will be the worst afflicted because their skin is stretched more. At the end of the day, genetics and personal accountability both play a part in how well your body can bounce back after pregnancy. But if you really want to maximize your chances of getting yourself in the best possible shape after pregnancy, there are definitely some things you can do.
How to Tighten Loose Skin After Pregnancy
1. Prevention is better than a cure
It’s always best to start thinking about things before you start instead of trying to fix them afterward. If possible, begin following these tips before you even get pregnant if you can. If you are already pregnant, start as soon as possible. But if you’ve already had your baby, then it’s never too late.
2. Increase your water intake
Hydration is pretty much key to everything in life. Your health can benefit from drinking more water no matter what. But in the case of tightening loose skin, you definitely want to be drinking your 8 glasses a day.
Hydration is key to having soft, supple and stretchy skin. It boosts collagen production and helps it to bounce back faster. It helps it to look firmer and plumper, in the best possible way. So keep chugging!
3. Eat healthy fats and proteins
Healthy fats and proteins will help you to build muscle, which you’ll need help rebuilding after giving birth. Protein also boosts collagen, which is essential for stretchy skin.
If you are breastfeeding, you’ll also need extra protein and fat to make sure you’re getting essential nutrients for you and your baby.
4. Do regular strength training
Strength training can help to build muscle, which has a positive effect on loose skin. It also helps in burning fat. The effect can be that your belly looks flatter and less pouch-like.
Exercises such as sit-ups and push-ups are great. But low-impact strength training such as yoga or pilates are fantastic for new moms and can help to make you look leaner.
5. Keep skin hydrated
Using a good moisturizer is necessary, as dried out skin will look worse than anything. If your skin is loose and saggy, it needs to be helped out with good hydration. Look for lotions or creams with collagen, vitamin C or retinoids to help firm.
You can also look for a good oil-based moisturizer that you can massage your skin with morning and night. This will not only help keep skin hydrated, but the massage will get blood flowing to the area, promoting healing. Look for something with almond, jojoba or coconut oil for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
6. Breastfeeding can help
Aside from the obvious benefits of breastfeeding your baby, there are proven benefits for moms who decide to nurse their little ones. When you breastfeed, your body takes a large portion of the calories that you consume to make milk. The result is that your body doesn’t store as many calories as fat.
In fact, you may actually even dip into your existing body fat to keep your milk production going. This means you can lose weight faster and help tighten loose skin just by doing the most natural thing in the world.
7. Exfoliation is key
Exfoliation means removing dead skin cells from your skin’s surface. It helps to promote new skin growth, which is usually healthier and tighter than the old skin. And like massage, it promotes blood flow to the area, which increases skin regeneration and promotes elasticity.
Simply grab a loofah or rough sponge and pay extra attention to your belly or any area with extra loose skin.
8. Meditation and self care are essential
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “Healthy body, healthy mind,” you’ll know there’s a connection between your health and mental state. Keeping a positive mindset is really important if you have a goal. In this case, taking care of yourself in other ways unrelated to body image is really important.
Try not to make your loose skin the focus of your life. You have so much more going for you than a bit of a belly. You have a beautiful baby to look at and love. You have a body that has been through so much and came through it all. Keep looking at yourself with love and honor the woman that you are.
9. Take it slowly
Remember that it took a long time for your body to change into what it now is. Let it take at least that long to change back. Rushing it will not be beneficial. In fact, it can do more harm than good.
If you are trying to lose weight as well as tightening your skin, try to do it in a slow, controlled way. Don’t go for fad diets or jump on the latest bandwagons. Go slowly and steadily.
10. Treat stretch marks
There are plenty of great products out there that work well in minimizing the look of stretch marks. If you are feeling anxiety about how you look, you can use these products to give yourself a bit of self confidence while you work on firming up your loose skin.
11. Hit the spa
There are plenty of day spas that offer skin firming wraps that detoxify your skin and help you relax and reduce stress. They also offer a temporary reduction in loose skin. If you have an event you want to look good for, this can help you fit into a dress or feel confident for the evening. It’s a great way to give yourself a little treat as you work toward your goals.
Getting rid of loose skin after having a baby can be difficult. Learning to love yourself and your new body is always a good thing. We all have different priorities in life, and for some, our bodies are very important to our self-esteem, and there is nothing wrong with that. If you are looking for some great tips on getting rid of a saggy belly, I hope these were of help. If you have any great tips you can add, feel free to add them in a comment below.
Katie Reed is a passionate writer and mother of four vivacious boys from Salt Lake City, Utah. Drawing from her own journey through TTC, pregnancy, and the joys of raising children, she offers a wealth of insight into the world of motherhood. Beyond her heartfelt tales, Katie delights her readers with family-friendly recipes, engaging crafts, and a curated library of printables for both kids and adults. When she’s not penning her experiences, you’ll find her crafting memories with her husband and sons—Dexter, Daniel, Chester, and Wilder.