Q: Good evening doctor, I gave birth a month ago and my stomach is still as if am five months pregnant… Please what can I do to make my belly look the way it was before pregnancy? Your answer will be of great help, thank you.
A: Honestly, I’ve got no easy answers. It’s diet and exercise….oh and breastfeeding. But breastfeeding is not very helpful if one is not exercising and watching their portions. Again, the dictum of feeding for two here doesn’t also count.
The diet to focus on is the very same one we talk about all the time: fruits, veggies and complex carbs with focus on healthier cooking methods (less frying etc). Exercise should focus, initially on pelvic floor exercises especially if you’re leaking urine when you cough or laugh. To locate your pelvic floor muscles, try holding your urine when you feel pressed. If you are successful, then you have located the muscles you need. Then empty your bladder and lie on the floor. Contract those same muscles and hold the contraction for about 5 seconds and then relax it for about 5 seconds. Gradually build this up to holding the contraction for 10 seconds. Repeat this about 3 times a day. Once you no longer leak, you’re ready for your exercises.
Have you noticed how it is usually easier to lose the baby weight after your first baby and harder afterwards? 😀 Focus on building up your stamina gradually especially if you were not very active in pregnancy or before. Please remember to contact your doctor always, before starting any vigorous exercise program. As you get into the groove, get down with your aerobics, strength training and sit-ups et al.
This is where breast feeding comes in, if you’re exercising and eating right, breastfeeding can help lose weight…as much as 300 calories per day. Does tying a wrapper tightly round your waist help flatten tummy? Honestly, I’ve heard people who swear by that technique. So, what I’ll say is, if it works for you, why not? Just don’t tie so tight as to stop blood flow
How soon to start exercise after having a baby? Well, it depends on how active you were before and during pregnancy. If you were very active, you can start some light stretches as soon as you feel able. However, generally, we advise 6 – 8 weeks after birth to allow for a post-natal check to have been done. Again, start small and allow your body to get into the groove.
And for all those who asked questions about breastfeeding, this should not be a problem as once you position the baby correctly to the breast, milk is ‘produced’ for the baby through a let-down reflex. So, it is almost a misnomer to say one doesn’t produce enough. It is not very common. So, nursing mothers should ensure that they drink copious amounts of water and put their babies to the breast. If beast feeding problems continue, see your doctor with your baby to ensure that the baby is latching on to the breast properly.
Have a great day 😀