Loose Skin After Pregnancy: 7 Ways You Can Eliminate A Saggy SkinSurgery is the best corrective measure, but there are simple ways you can avoid it.by Rachel Perez . Published Oct 22, 2019
Women experience not only skin color changes during pregnancy, but also the skin on their abdomen stretches to accommodate your growing baby. Most of these skin color changes during pregnancy go away after giving birth, but skin elasticity is a different matter.
Like a balloon, the skin on your tummy expands when pregnant and deflates after giving birth. After about six weeks postpartum or earlier, if you’re breastfeeding, your uterus will shrink back to its original shape. Even after you’ve successfully gotten rid of your postpartum pouch, you may have extra loose skin on your tummy, and it’s normal. The skin needs more time to regain its strength and elasticity, and even then, it might not be exactly as it was before you became a mom.
Why only some women have saggy bellies
Almost all moms have loose postpartum stomach skin. “It’s just a question of degree,” Jim Pivarnik, Ph.D., a professor of kinesiology at Michigan State University who studies the effects of exercise on pregnant women, tells Self.
It mostly depends on a woman’s skin elasticity — basically, her genes. Women who have been pregnant more than once are also more prone to having loose skin as it’s been stretched repeatedly. How much your skin stretches during pregnancy also depends on your weight gain and physical activity while expecting.
After giving birth, your postpartum diet and exercise and how quickly you lose your pregnancy weight are also factors to having or not having a saggy belly.
How to get rid of loose skin after pregnancy
Most of the time, the skin on a new mom’s tummy will go back to the way it was within three to six months after giving birth, write obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Michele Hakakha, M.D., co-author of Expecting 411: The Insider’s Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth. But there are some things you can do to ensure you eliminate that saggy belly.
Drink plenty of water.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Drinking plenty of fluids keeps your skin hydrated, making it more healthy and tight — and more elastic. Water also helps burn more calories and prevent water retention in your belly. It can also help build collagen, the protein responsible for skin elasticity.
Eat a healthy diet with protein, fats, and vitamin C.
No to crash dieting, and it’s not recommended for nursing moms. You need a balanced diet, including protein and healthy fats, to produce breast milk. You also need protein for muscle growth and for collagen, which helps firm up the skin. Eating fruits and veggies high in vitamin C also encourages elastin production.
Set up a routine exercise.
Cardio workouts, such as brisk walking, swimming, jogging, or riding a bike, burn fat and helps tone your muscles. Strength training, such as yoga and Pilates, also improves muscle tone. These exercises strengthen your abdominal muscles, which can help support the overlying skin, explains Dr. Vilma Ruddock M.D.CONTINUE READING BELOWwatch now
Typically, doctors allow women who have just given birth to start exercising six weeks postpartum. But you shouldn’t do some abdominal exercises right away. Check first if you have diastasis recti, or separation of the abdominal muscles. A fitness coach can guide you on what types of workouts can close the gap in your ab muscles first.
Lose your postpartum weight slowly.
It’s best to lose weight gradually and steadily to protect the skin’s elasticity, Laura Arndt, a Pilates instructor, fitness professional, and creator of Matriarc, an app for postpartum healing through exercise and nutrition, tells Romper. A “slow but sure” approach to exercising the abdominal muscles also helps shrink the skin with your tummy, which also gives the skin more time to recover and regain elasticity.
Massage oils, creams, and lotions might help.
Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in some plant-based oils, such as almond oil, may help skin repair. Exfoliating the skin with essential oils may help increase blood circulation in the skin and get rid of old skin to make way for new, healthier skin. Several skin-firming lotions and creams are also available in the market. These are formulated to increase the skin’s elasticity through ingredients such as collagen, vitamin C, and retinoids.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Invest in comfortable shapewear.
When you’ve shed the baby weight and had gotten back your core strength, any loose tummy skin is not likely to go away — that’s okay. It’s normal for moms to have saggy bellies, and investing in reliable and comfortable shapewear can help conceal it when wearing curve-hugging outfits.
Try non-invasive skin procedures.
There are non-invasive procedures you can try first before getting a tummy tuck. These procedures use body-contouring technologies, such as high-frequency electromagnetic energy to contract your abdominal muscles, or radio-frequency energy to stimulate skin cells to produce more collagen and firm up the skin.