Don’t ask me, I don’t know.
Hahahaha all the people landing here from Google searches are gonna kill me.
To be honest, that’s something I’ve been going nuts over as well.
I read tons of articles and forum threads on this. How to lose weight after pregnancy, does breastfeeding help (yes, apparently), how many calories do you burn breastfeeing (something like 500 a day), how soon can I exercise after a C section (6 weeks at least), what exercises can I do after a C section, how to get rid of the ‘shelf’ you get from a C section. You name it, it’s probably in my Google history.
All sorts of tips are readily available if you do an Internet search so I’m not going to list all of them here. But I am going to say what I think worked for me, and what didn’t.
Admittedly, when I first found out I was pregnant, my first thought was HOW FAT AM I GONNA GET!?!?! From Instagram it looks like I’m back to my normal size now. Actually not really la wtf although I am close.
6.5 weeks postpartum I’m 40kg (down from 54kg), which is 2 kg more from my pre-pregnancy weight. My tummy is surprisingly flatter than I thought it could be although I probably cannot wear a bikini anytime soon wtf. My waist is 1-2 inches bigger than before and I still have some loose skin and flab in front and on the sides.
Besides that, like most other Caesareans, I have the dreaded ‘shelf’ above my incision scar. Like this:
Most clothes will hide it cos it’s located right at the bikini line. But no matter how flat my tummy gets, that curved line (which is skin hanging over the scar) stays and gives the illusion of a huge blob of fat hanging. 🙁
(I also have ugly red jagged stretch marks on the side, which depressingly, are not from the baby bump, but from all the water I accumulated from preeclampsia — the water collected on the sides of my waist like ‘handles’ and they drooped alarmingly and jiggled when I walked. I was horrified because I thought it was fat, but the doctor told me it was water and sure enough as I lost the water the handles disappeared but they left these ugly stretch marks. 🙁 )
Keep in mind this is an extremely good picture wtf. I wanted to take a photo for this post but weirdly today my tummy looks flatter than it usually does I swear. -_- Also this was taken in the morning before any food and the loose skin and flab and ‘shelf’ is hidden under my pants wtf.
Oh ya! I also should add that before this, instead of a straight vertical line going down, my tummy was slanted outwards, starting from under my boobs. It’s only gotten better recently and I’ll elaborate further later.
Ok so here are what I thought worked for me. I’m not a scientist so I don’t know for sure but like I said this is what I did which I think contributed. Or it can just be genetic. Lolol.
1. Eating healthy
You don’t say, Captain Obvious. But I believe that healthy eating habits helped a lot in losing all that weight! Because I was in confinement I only ate home cooked meals which are obviously healthier and less fattening. I haven’t had Mcds in 3 months. ._.
And don’t overeat la! Some old folks say you should eat more during confinement to replenish whatever you’ve lost but I don’t think that’s necessary. -_- Just eat if you’re hungry and stop when you’re full la your body is smart enough to dictate. You might feel hungrier if you’re breastfeeding but somehow I didn’t so I just ate like normal.
I did drink a lot of fluids though. My mom banned me from drinking water (traditional confinement no-no) so I drank lots of red date tea and milk.
Breastfeeding can burn use up to 500 calories a day so it can be a good way to shed weight! Your body stores fat during pregnancy for this very purpose anyway. After I lost all my water weight, I lost 4 more kg after coming home from the hospital which I think can be attributed to breastfeeding cos I definitely didn’t do any exercise.
Urut is the traditional postpartum Malay massage supposed to massage the ‘wind’ out of your body and to get back your pre-pregnancy body. I was a bit doubtful but since everyone kept raving about it I decided to give it a try.
The urut lady is supposed to ‘push the uterus’ back into place, thus flattening your tummy but because I had a C section mine didn’t. She did however give me a full body rub and massaged out all the knots in my muscles. If anything it’s a very good way to chill after giving birth. ^^
Best of all, my stomach (real stomach, under the boobs) prior to doing the urut was rounded and puffy. I thought it was fat but the urut lady told me it was ‘wind’. She massaged the area, I farted the entire day wtf and by the next morning, my stomach had flattened out! I guess it was trapped air in my midsection that she released.
4. Core exercises
Most women develop diastasis recti postpartum, which is when your ab muscles separate stretch out and split into two sides, leaving a gap in the middle of the torso.
I read somewhere that the separated muscles are weak and are not holding your organs tight, which also contributes to your tummy sticking out. It kind of makes sense because when I stood up my tummy would pooch out, but if I lay down, it became totally flat, as if the organs were really moving around inside.
You can check for diastasis recti by getting into the position of a stomach crunch (on your back, knees bent). Try to lift up your head a bit and your ab muscles will contract right? At the same time, push two fingers into your tummy, 1-2 inches above your belly button. If your fingers sink in and you can feel a hole, you have diastasis recti.
I had it too so I had to retrain my core first before I can do any workouts. If the DR is not so bad (less than 2 fingers in) it will probably go away by itself but I wanted to make sure la.
So I retrained it by just doing Kegels and transverse abdominals (which is basically pulling in your belly button to your spine) like 30 times each a day. You can do it any time. Gradually my stomach got flatter and tighter! There’s still some fat, but my torso and even my back feels tighter and stronger overall.
Oh if you have diastasis recti, don’t do crunches or situps or even certain yoga poses before it’s healed! They will only worsen your condition and then you’re screwed wtf.
5. Not gaining so much weight during pregnancy
A lot of the older generation told me “EAT MORE YOU’RE EATING FOR TWO NOW”.
So NOT true. Dr Teresa warned me that I am definitely not eating for two, and she gives all her patients weight gain limits (for health reasons and for easy birthing reasons). It varies from person to person but averagely a pregnant woman should eat 500 calories more only during the 3rd trimester (source Whattoexpect which is the highest figure I found already compared to other sources).
And you should make those calories count – ie no junk food or sugary food, but nutritious calories. (Although I was quite bad at this; blame Fighter for wanting sweet foods.) The less you gain, the less you have to lose after pregnancy. After losing all the baby and water, I was 5-6 kg above my pre-pregnancy weight. More achievable than trying to lose 16 kg lo please.
6. Belly wraps
I don’t think they work. I never tried shapewear or corsets (tempting but a bit expensive hahaha) but I bought a belly wrap from Taiwan and my urut lady also gave me another wrap. The urut lady’s one was better cos it was firmer and didn’t stretch as much as the other one, but I think I got complacent wearing it.
The wrap was holding my shape, so my muscles didn’t have to. So I think it’s counter-productive la. If I don’t wear the wrap I’m more aware of my muscles and keep them pulled in which helps to tone my waist further.
They say corsets work but you’re supposed to wear them indefinitely and I don’t want to be relying on something and faking it. I want to be slim LEGITIMATELY. Lol.
Despite all that I’ve just said, today my waist is still bigger la, even though it’s flattish, due to my rib cage having expanded to accomodate the baby (although weirdly my pelvic bones didn’t). It will go back to normal eventually but may take a year supposedly.
Either way I’m glad to be able to fit back into some of my old clothes (not all, some only lolol) and looking like my old self! I don’t know if this post was useful, but hopefully it helps some of you at least a bit. ^^