How Long Does It Take To Get A Flat Tummy?
If you've just had a baby, the chances are that you're already thinking about weightloss and returning to your pre-pregnancy stomach. Post-partum mothers often feel a lot of pressure to get back into their pre-pregnancy outfits and be showing off a flat tummy soon after they give birth. Many of us admire celebrities like Kate Hudson and Nicole Kidman, who are famous for the speed at which they toned up their post-delivery stomachs and slipped back into their fabulous red-carpet dresses.
Those of us who live in the real world, however, need to know that every woman is different and it may take one woman longer to shed those pregnancy pounds than it does her best friend or sister, for example. We're sorry to disappoint, but there is no definitive answer to the question "how long does it take to get a flat tummy?" after delivery. But that doesn't mean that you should despair from losing the weight and toning your muscles at a speed which is healthy and acceptable for both you and your baby.
There are many factors which influence the length of time it could take you to flatten your tummy after pregnancy. For example, your stomach muscles' ability to strengthen up could be affected by type of delivery you had (vaginal or c-section). Your natural metabolism will almost certainly play a role as might any existing medical conditions such as thyroid problems or diabetes. It's pretty obvious, however, that diet and exercise are going to make or break the deal as far as getting a flat stomach is concerned, just as they did even before you got pregnant.
Diet And Exercise
All post-partum mothers should be eating a healthy diet to boost their energy levels for the major job they just took on (namely looking after a baby)! And if you eat well and exercise too the chances are that you will lose the weight quicker than someone who snacks on sugary foods for energy and doesn't get much exercise. The type of exercise you do is also important. Light aerobic exercise (just after you give birth), building up to more intense aerobic exercise later on, will help you to burn fat. This should be combined with abdominal exercises specifically targeted at flattening the stomach. See our sections on diet and the best exercises after pregnancy for more information.
A word of caution: before beginning any diet or exercise regime after giving birth, you absolutely must discuss your plans with your doctor. This is especially true if you have had a difficult birth or your baby was born by caesarean section. If you are breast feeding, you need to be even more careful about your diet, especially if you are considering a program that requires cutting out an entire food group (such as carbs, which are found in bread, rice and pasta, for example).
Positive body image is just as important after delivery as it is during pregnancy. Remember, the happier you are, the happier and healthier your baby is likely to be. Don't put yourself under too much pressure by comparing yourself to other women and especially not to celebrities. The truth about celebrity pregnancies is that women like Nicole Kidman and Victoria Beckham have the money to spend on personal trainers, expensive diet regimes and child care so that they can go to the gym for several hours a day. Most women don't have that. Thank your lucky stars that no paparazzi are going to be following you around after you give birth trying to snap a photo of you looking tired and a bit overweight - and move on!
The Good News!
So if you are serious about getting a flat tummy after pregnancy, you need patience and you'll probably have to do some hard work. Here is some good news to get you motivated! A lot of the things we do as mothers anyway actually help us to lose weight. Breast feeding, for example, burns 500 calories a day! If you already have young children, don't think that they're going to stop running around just because you've had another baby. They're going to keep you moving! Pushing a stroller is also good physical activity. And if you are thinking of getting pregnant again, remember that the fitter you are before and during your pregnancy, the easier it will be to get back to your pre-pregnancy figure. You can begin working on your post-pregnancy stomach even before your baby is born (but always consult your doctor before doing so).