After the arrival of your little bundle of joy, you probably expected your belly to flatten out, but instead are highly disappointed to find you still have belly pudge. A c-section can make the pudge seem that much worse thanks to swelling from the surgery and resulting scar tissue. Once you get the green light from your OB or midwife, you can begin a gym workout to lose your c-section pudge. To get the most out of your workout, combine it with a healthy diet of fresh, whole foods.
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During pregnancy, your body changes to accommodate your growing baby. As far as contributing to stomach pudge, your stretched and weakened abdominal muscles are partly to thank. After your baby is born, it takes time for the stretched muscles to return to their original length and strength. In the meantime, your belly will appear soft and pudgy. A c-section will further exacerbate this problem. During the procedure, the surgeon generally makes a horizontal cut across the lower abdomen. Rather than cut through the muscle, most doctors push the muscle aside to access the uterus and deliver the baby. It will take a significant amount of time for your body to completely heal but light activity is encouraged shortly after surgery to promote healing and prevent complications.
Targeting the abdomen will not directly reduce your stomach pudge but it will strengthen and reshape the abdominal muscles. Early on in the recovery period, you can safely resume Kegels and begin pelvic tilts and abdominal compression exercises. After your post-partum check-up, you may begin more strenuous abdominal exercises such as planks, side planks, curl-ups and bicycle crunches to further strengthen your abdomen.
Whether it's pudge on your stomach after a c-section or pudge around your thighs from too many doughnuts, pudge is pudge and it's made up of excess body fat. To reduce your levels, you must keep your body in a state of caloric deficit. If you burn more calories then you take in, your body will be forced to rely upon its stores of fat for energy. Cardio is an effective way to create this caloric deficit. Aim for 30 to 45 minutes on any of the cardio machines in the gym such as the treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike, rower or stair climber most days of the week. Begin slowly with 10 to 15 minutes of activity a day and work your way up to the recommended amount.
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Strength training will help build muscle throughout your body, thereby increasing your metabolism making it easier to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Because it requires the use of heavy weights to build muscle, you'll have to wait to get serious about strength training after your c-section. Lifting heavy often requires the use of the valsalva maneuver, which puts excessive pressure on your abdominal muscles. This could lead to uterine or abdominal wall ruptures or complications if done too early. Play it safe and begin with light weights or only your body weight to perform exercises like squats, lunges, pushups, shoulder presses and rows. Most gyms offer weight machines, cable machines or free weights that can be used to strengthen and build muscle.
Despite how much you want to get rid of your pudge and return to your pre-baby figure, you've got to take your time. Doing too much, too fast can result in a prolonged healing time and possible injury at the c-section site. Your body has a lot of trauma it has to recover from and if you're nursing, you've got that much more stress on your body. Be reasonable and smart, if you're exhausted then take a rest day. If you're still experiencing lochia and your bleeding becomes heavier, you're working too hard and need to back off. Enjoy your time with your new baby and don't stress about the pudge, it will come off eventually.