10 Tips To Tighten Belly Skin After Pregnancy, Without Surgery

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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 contractioniPeriodic 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.

In This Article

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

A balanced diet promotes tightening of loose skin

Image: Shutterstock

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 collageniA 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 elastiniA 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

Practice breathing exercises for correct breathing

Image: Shutterstock

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

Staying hydrated promotes skin elasticity

Image: Shutterstock

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

Image: IStock

Exfoliation helps in removing dead cells and promotes new skin growth that will be healthier and tighter than the old skin. It is believed to improve the appearance of the skin. Use a loofahiA natural sponge used for exfoliating and cleansing the skin a sponge, or a bath brush to scrub your belly while taking a bath (11).

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.
protip_icon Quick tip
An olive oil and sugar scrub can also help exfoliate the skin. You can add essential oils for added benefits, but consult a doctor first.

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

Abdominal massage can promote blood circulation

Image: Shutterstock

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).

Recalling her postpartum period, Nikki Sky, a mother, and entrepreneur, says, “Another thing that I did after getting out of the hospital and also up until the 6th week of 7th week postpartum mark was daily tummy massages. I cannot tell you how important it is to make sure that you massage that area really, really well. It gets all of the fluids out, helps with inflammation, and helps with muscle recovery (i).”

10. Try body wraps for skin tightening

Postpartum abdominal binding is a time-tested method to tighten the belly skin after pregnancy. It involves wearing a flexible and wide abdominal belt around the belly to compress the abdomen. These wraps provide support to the belly and back muscles and improve posture. They also help restore the shape of the uterus quickly and aid in the realignment of the organs in their pre-pregnancy positions.

Belly wraps have been proven to help with abdominal healing after a cesarean section by improving blood flow, decreasing pain, and supporting post-operative mobility. However, the binding should not be too tight to restrict your breathing or cause blood clots and injuries around your waist. In addition, you should also go for natural plant-based materials like cotton for the band and avoid wearing the band while sleeping for prolonged periods, especially at night (14) (15).

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
  • Genes
protip_icon Did you know?
Some postpartum maternity belts claim to minimize stretch marks by helping increase blood flow and circulation (20).

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 (16). 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 (17).

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 (18).

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 (19).

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.

tightening loose belly post childbirth (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • 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
Tighten Belly Skin After Pregnancy_illustration

Image: Dall·E/MomJunction Design Team

Personal Experience: Source

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

1. Weight management before, during and after pregnancy; National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
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. How To Safely Exfoliate At Home; American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD)
12. What Are Body Wraps; NW College School of Beauty
13. Cooking with Fats and Oils; Colorado State University
14. Ibrahim Karaca et al., Influence of Abdominal Binder Usage after Cesarean Delivery on Postoperative Mobilization, Pain and Distress: A Randomized Controlled Trial; The Eurasian Journal of Medicine (2019)
15. Postpartum Belly Wraps: Purpose, Types, Benefits & Risks; Cleveland Clinic
16. What happens to your skin when pregnancy gives you a stretch mark?; University of Michigan
17. B. Farahnik et al.; Striae gravidarum: Risk factors, prevention, and management; International Journal of Women’s Dermatology (2017)
18. Many ways to firm sagging skin; American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD)
19. What a tummy tuck can and can’t do; American Society Of Plastic Surgeons
20. 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

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Dr. Saurabh Phadnis is a consultant gynecologist and gynecological oncological surgeon at The Royal London Hospital (Barts Health NHS Trust), London. He did his general gynecology training in East England and subspecialty training in gynecological oncology at Barts Gynaecological Cancer Centre.

Read full bio of Dr. Saurabh Phadnis
Rebecca is a pregnancy writer and editor with a passion for delivering research-based and engaging content in areas of fertility, pregnancy, birth, and post-pregnancy. She did her graduation in Biotechnology and Genetics from Loyola Academy, Osmania University and obtained a certification in ‘Nutrition and Lifestyle in Pregnancy’ from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU).

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Swati Patwal
Swati PatwalM.Sc. (Food & Nutrition), MBA
Swati Patwal is a clinical nutritionist, a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and a toddler mom with more than a decade of experience in diverse fields of nutrition. She started her career as a CSR project coordinator for a healthy eating and active lifestyle project catering to school children.

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Dr. Joyani Das
Dr. Joyani DasM.Pharm, PhD
Dr. Joyani Das did her post-graduation from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra and PhD in Pharmacology. Previously, she worked as an associate professor, faculty of Pharmacology, for two years. With her research background in preclinical studies and a zeal for scientific writing, she joined MomJunction as a health writer.

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