While some women accept their postpartum body, others may look for ways to tighten belly skin after pregnancy. It is natural for the skin around the belly to loosen after pregnancy and appear saggy. But it usually shrinks back to its normal state due to uterine contractioniXPeriodic tightening of the uterus muscles during childbirth or menstruation that occurs from the hormonal fluctuations.
Although it may take some time, with these useful tips and efforts, you will start to notice the original shape of your stomach. In this post, we have shared some effective tips to help you get tightened belly skin post-pregnancy.
Tips To Tighten Belly Skin After Pregnancy
The following ways might help in restoring and tightening loose stomach skin after pregnancy. However, they may not work the same way for all.
1. Eat healthy
Your skin requires nutrients to maintain its elasticity. Therefore, you need to take enough nutrients for the skin to remain resilient and soft. Have a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and fats to promote elasticity and the tightening of the loose skin (1). Consuming a healthy diet may also help in a few more ways:
- Fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, and strawberries, contain vitamins A and C. Vitamin A can help prevent drying of the skin (2) while vitamin C helps produce collageniXA structural protein that helps build the connective tissue, skin, bones, and tendons and provides body flexibility that gives firmness to the skin (3).
- Almonds, sunflower seeds, and hazelnuts contain healthy fats. They also have vitamin E and antioxidants that help keep the skin healthy (4).
- Sweet limes, oranges, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries promote collagen production that helps in tightening the skin. Vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, beetroots, and bell pepper are also good sources of collagen.
- Zinc-rich foods, including pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, cashews, and mushrooms, also might help in tightening the skin (5).
- Protein-rich foods such as eggs, pulses, soy milk, sprouts, and quinoa may tone the muscles.
2. Exercise to lose weight gradually
Exercise is an excellent non-surgical option to help tighten saggy skin by strengthening the abdominal muscles. It helps you lose excess weight, tones stomach muscles and reshapes your body. Exercising also promotes circulation, which improves oxygen supply to the tissues and helps boost collagen and elastiniXA protein found in the skin and other connective tissues that provides strength and elasticity to the body structures .
Your exercise regimen may include (6):
- Cardio exercises help tone the abdominal muscles by burning excess fat. For example, you may try brisk walking, jogging, bike riding, or swimming. But talk to your doctor about how soon you can start your tummy tuck exercises after your delivery.
- Strength training exercises strengthen and tone the muscles, which helps improve the skin’s elasticity and core strength. Cycling, crunches, and leg raises are some of them you may try.
Add variation to your exercise by either starting with cardio or strength training. Warm-up and stretch before you begin the workout. Try changing the exercise protocol every two weeks since you may get bored with the same workouts every day.
3. Breathing correctly
Before you participate in any exercise regimen or activity, correct your breathing rate. Breathe in deeply through your nose and let the air fill your lungs. Exhale slowly through the mouth to empty the lungs. The expansion and contraction of the belly through breathing may also work in tightening the loose skin.
4. Keep a healthy mind
Do not lose your calm if you are unable to tighten your belly skin. It takes time, and you need a healthy mind to focus on it. Involve yourself in activities that will keep you happy.
- Practice deep breathing and meditation
- Listen to your favorite music
- Play with your little one
- Have some outdoor activities such as gardening
- Utilize the baby’s sleep time to take a nap. A research study states that new mothers who slept for less than five hours a night are less likely to lose their post-baby weight and have also gained extra weight (7).
Focusing on your emotional and mental well-being will contribute to physical wellness that is essential to work on the loose belly skin. But you will require patience to attain the results.
5. Drink water
Adequate hydration helps promote and maintain the skin’s elasticity (8). Keep drinking water regularly throughout the day (9). It reduces water retention and burns calories, which can make the loose skin less noticeable. Using a moisturizer also contributes to the skin’s ability to tighten skin.
6. Breastfeed your baby
Breastfeeding is helpful for both you and your baby. A few studies show that breastfeeding might help a new mother lose a few extra calories a day (10).
7. Exfoliating your skin
Exfoliation promotes new skin growth that will be healthier and tighter than the old skin. It also improves blood circulation, which creates new skin and promotes elasticity (11). Use a loofahiXA natural sponge used for exfoliating and cleansing the skin or a bath brush to scrub on your belly while taking a bath.
Some homemade exfoliating scrubs you may try:
- Combine one egg white with half a teaspoon of lemon juice and two tablespoons of sea salt. Mix well and massage onto your belly.
- Combine half a cup of oatmeal powder, two cups of sea salt and a few drops of olive oil and grape seed oil, and scrub on your belly.
8. Try belly wraps at spa
Getting a skin wrap at the spa may add firmness to the skin, but it is temporary. A spa wrap contains sea salt, powdered kelp, clay, algae, or nourishing oils. All of them detoxify the skin (12) and help in tightening it.
9. Go for a massage
Getting an abdominal massage can promote blood circulation. However, check with your doctor before including it in your routine. You may use olive oil to rub the tummy line since the oil contains antioxidants (13).
How Long Does It Take To Tighten Belly Skin?
The speed and degree of transition will depend on various factors. For some, it might just take a few months while for others, it may take longer. A few contributing factors are:
- The size of the belly before conception
- The weight gain during pregnancy
- Activity levels during pregnancy
- Bone structure
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can stretched skin ever go back after pregnancy?
Stretched skin often develops broken elastic fibers, which may not return to their original state after pregnancy (14). However, as you progress in your postpartum recovery phase, the skin’s appearance may still improve, especially as you lose weight.
2. Which cream can tighten belly skin after pregnancy?
There are usually no specific firming creams to tighten the belly skin after pregnancy, and you may focus on keeping your skin hydrated. If you have severe stretch marks, your doctor may prescribe you tretinoin cream and other topical ointments (15).
3. What about non-invasive procedures like ultrasound or radiofrequency therapy for tightening belly skin after pregnancy?
Non-invasive procedures may be used to tighten skin after pregnancy, but only after consulting with your doctor to avoid complications (17).
4. How effective are tummy tucks for tightening belly skin after pregnancy?
Tummy tucks can help get rid of the extra fat from the stomach and repair the separated abdominal muscles, but certain precautions must be followed. It is essential to ensure that one is at a stable weight before performing the procedure, and only a certain amount of the sagging skin can be removed with the help of the procedure. Thus, discuss your requirements and possible outcomes with the surgeon before proceeding (18).
Loosened belly skin normally shrinks back to its original size after pregnancy, but it takes time and effort. Following certain helpful advice, such as eating healthily, drinking enough water, and exercising regularly, will help you achieve tighter belly skin after pregnancy. Focus on nurturing your baby since breastfeeding can help burn extra calories, potentially helping you lose the post-baby weight and tightening the skin. If you are still unable to shrink your belly skin, do not be worried; remember that maintaining a good lifestyle and being healthy and happy is more vital.
Infographic: Tips To Tighten Belly Skin After Pregnancy
Loose skin is common after delivery as it will take time for your body to return to normal after childbirth. Also, your belly skin may not retain its pre-pregnancy appearance. Nevertheless, try the steps discussed in this infographic to tighten your loose abdominal area after delivery.
- Eat a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats for healthy skin
- Exercise to build abdominal muscles and lose weight gradually
- Use relaxation and stress reduction techniques to keep your mind relaxed
- Belly size pre-pregnancy, weight gain, activity levels, bone structure, and genes affect time to tighten belly skin
2. Vitamin A; University of Rochester
3. Vitamin C and Skin Health; Oregon State University
4. Vitamin E and Skin Health; Oregon State University
5. Vitamins for Healthy Skin: Things to Know; Florida Academy
6. If It Feels Like It’s Impossible to Lose Belly Fat, This Is What an Expert Wants You to Do; Hospital for Special Surgery (2019)
7. Why Am I Gaining Weight After Giving Birth; University of Utah (2018)
8. Water Health Benefits; Michigan State University
9. Jaime Foster et al., Nutritional Needs During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding; Ohio State University
10. Weight Loss – for Mothers; La leche league International
11. Skin Care and Repair; Harvard Medical School
12. What Are Body Wraps; NW College School of Beauty
13. Cooking with Fats and Oils; Colorado State University
14. What happens to your skin when pregnancy gives you a stretch mark?; University of Michigan
15. B. Farahnik et al.; Striae gravidarum: Risk factors, prevention, and management; International Journal of Women’s Dermatology (2017)
16. Carolina Quintero Rodriguez and Olga Troynikov; The Effect of Maternity Support Garments on Alleviation of Pains and Discomforts during Pregnancy: A Systematic Review; National Library of Medicine