Becoming a new mom is a life-changing experience that brings immense joy, love, and fulfillment, but it also comes with a host of physical changes that can be overwhelming and difficult to accept.
From wondering if your vagina will ever be the same to body fat that stubbornly clings on, stretch marks that feel like they’re never going to fade, sagging breasts, loose skin, and lack of muscle tone that alter the body, the journey to reclaiming a pre-baby physique can be an emotionally and physically painful one for many new moms.
While these changes are natural and a badge of honor for many women, it’s understandable to want to look and feel like your pre-baby self again quickly. You aren’t alone if you are nodding your head with tears in your eyes, frustrated and exhausted as you read this. Most new moms feel discouraged about their post-pregnancy bodies and struggle to find the time and energy to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight.
We realize that regaining your confidence after pregnancy can be a challenging journey, and we want to support you in any way we can. If you want to get your body back after pregnancy, this blog has simple lifestyle changes and more advanced solutions to help you regain your confidence. It will be your go-to guide to set yourself up for postpartum weight-loss success.
Lifestyle Changes After Pregnancy
These first five tips to get your pre-pregnancy body back might be things you’ve heard a million times, but they are effective. Even if you’ve heard these tips, keep reading to discover why they are important and some ideas for finally making them work for you.
#1: Stay Active
As a new mom, it’s completely understandable that exercising is the last thing you want to do. Between feedings, diaper changes, and sleepless nights, finding the energy to work out can feel like an impossible feat. However, staying active is an essential component of getting your pre-pregnancy body back.
More than the physical benefits, exercise also has numerous mental health benefits. It can boost your mood, relieve stress, and help you feel more energized throughout the day. As a new mom, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily stresses of motherhood, but exercise can be a much-needed break for your mind and body.
We aren’t suggesting that you need to start training for a marathon or spend hours at the gym each day. There are plenty of simple ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine.
Taking your baby on a walk around the neighborhood, practicing yoga, doing a quick 10 to 20-minute full-body HIIT workout at home while they nap, or even just dancing around the living room can get your blood pumping and help you stay active. There are also mama and baby exercise classes. These classes are great motivators and an excellent way to bond with your baby and like-minded moms facing the same challenges as you are.
We should also note that you shouldn’t jump into an intense workout routine without first consulting with your doctor. Depending on your delivery method and overall health, you may need to wait a little while before exercising. Your doctor can give you specific guidelines on when it’s safe to start working out and what exercises are appropriate for your postpartum body.
Remember, being active doesn’t have to be anything crazy – even small bouts of physical activity throughout the day can make a big difference
#2: Eat Healthy and Stay Hydrated
As important as it is to stay active, as the saying goes, you can’t out-train a bad diet, and this may be especially true for new moms looking to shed baby weight.
We know, we know, eating healthy can be a challenge, especially when you’re busy and sleep-deprived. Still, it’s essential to make healthy eating a priority. The nutrients you consume are crucial for both you and your baby, especially if you’re breastfeeding, as the nutrients you consume are passed on to your baby through breast milk.
But even if you’re not breastfeeding, eating well is still essential for maintaining energy levels, regulating mood and hormones, and supporting overall health and well-being.
We aren’t saying that you should restrict or count your calories, but you should pass on the high-calorie junk food and snacks and stick to consuming proper portions of a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
The following foods are rich with nutrients that will help you feel fuller longer, especially when those 3 a.m. feeding calls begin:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains, like sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, and oats.
- Lean protein, like chicken breast, white fish, and lean beef.
- Leafy greens, like kale, spinach, and bok choy.
- Vitamin C, which can be found in oranges, tomatoes, and natural fruit juices.
Knowing you need to eat healthily is one thing; doing it is another. Here is a list of simple, time-saving strategies for making healthy eating more manageable so you are more likely to eat nutritious food instead of running through a drive-thru or dialing DoorDash.
- Stock Up: Make a grocery list that will stock your fridge and pantry for a few weeks. This will limit trips to the grocery store, which can be a time-consuming process. If you are concerned about freshness, frozen vegetables, fruits and meats, and canned goods are often just as nutritious as fresh. You could also buy fresh, cook, and freeze.
- Meal Prep: It might seem that meal prep is time-consuming. And yes, you will need to set aside about an hour once or twice a week, but preparing meals, or bulk batches of protein, carbs and veggies foods that can easily create meals, saves tons of time long term.
- Cook Smart: Many crockpot, pressure cooker, sheet pan and one pan or pot dinners can be thrown together in minutes. Spend a little time on Pinterest or google bookmarking meals that take 15 minutes or less to make.
- Keep Healthy Snacks On Hand: Include plenty of healthy, low-calorie snacks on your grocery list. Quality protein powder, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, yogurt, rice cakes, hard-boiled eggs, and air-popped popcorn are all excellent healthy options. Just keep your snacks balanced with plenty of protein to ensure you stay fuller, longer.
Being prepared and having healthy meals and snacks readily available is the best way to be less tempted to order take-out, open a bag of potato chips, or eat a pint of ice cream when nights are busy, or stress levels are high.
In addition to eating and snacking healthy, make sure you stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can help keep you feeling full, boost your metabolism, support healthy digestion, and is excellent for your skin. Keep a water bottle nearby at all times, and aim to drink at least 8 cups of water per day. You can also mix things up by drinking herbal tea or flavored water for a little variety.
Before we go over the potential calorie-burning benefits of breastfeeding, we want to say that we understand that some women may not be able to breastfeed or may choose not to for personal reasons. We want to be sensitive to all moms and assure you that there are plenty of other ways to achieve your weight loss and body goals. That said, if you can and choose to breastfeed, some experts say it can aid in weight loss and getting your pre-pregnancy body back.
The theory behind this is that breastfeeding burns extra calories. Some studies suggest it can burn up to 500 additional calories per day– a calorie-burning effect that can help new moms shed excess baby weight and regain their pre-pregnancy figure.
However, it’s important to note that while breastfeeding can aid in weight loss, it’s not guaranteed. Every woman’s body is different; some may find it more challenging to lose weight while breastfeeding. In fact, many new moms say they don’t start losing weight until after they stop breastfeeding. This is likely because breastfeeding can alter hormone levels in the body, making it more challenging to lose weight.
This doesn’t mean that breastfeeding is bad for weight loss or that you should stop breastfeeding if you can and choose to do so. Rather, it’s important to be observant, patient and consistent with your other weight loss efforts, like focusing on healthy habits like staying active and eating a balanced diet.
#4: Don’t Neglect Sleep
We can already hear you laughing at this one! We know that getting enough sleep as a new mom may seem like an impossible feat, but it’s important to prioritize rest whenever you can. Even short power naps can make a big difference in how you feel and function.
There are many ways lack of sleep can keep you from losing baby weight, one being the impact it has on your stress hormone cortisol. Not getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night is well known to cause the stress hormone cortisol to spike. You don’t want this to happen. Excess cortisol at the wrong times can lead to weight gain and weight loss resistance.
Sleep deprivation can lead to imbalances in hunger hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin. Leptin tells your brain that you’re full and should stop eating, while ghrelin stimulates hunger and encourages you to eat. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more ghrelin and less leptin, which can make you feel hungrier and lead to overeating. Moreover, lack of sleep impacts your energy levels, lowering your daily calorie burn and dampening your overall mood.
One simple strategy to prioritize sleep is to nap whenever your baby does. This may mean skipping the laundry or the dishes, but your body and mind will thank you. Additionally, creating a relaxing bedtime routine can help you wind down and fall asleep more easily. This could include taking a warm bath, reading a book, or practicing gentle yoga or meditation.
Another helpful tip is to create a comfortable sleep environment. Investing in a comfortable mattress, pillows, and bedding can significantly affect how well you sleep. And try to keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet to promote restful sleep.
Prioritizing sleep is an essential part of getting your pre-pregnancy body back. By getting enough rest, you’ll be better equipped to handle the demands of new motherhood, and your body will be better able to regulate hormones, burn calories, and maintain a healthy weight.
#5: Practice Stress Management
Being a new mom can be incredibly stressful, contributing to weight gain and difficulty losing weight. Above, we mentioned how lack of sleep could increase the stress hormone cortisol. What else causes that to happen? Stress!! When stressed, your body releases cortisol, which can increase your appetite and encourage your body to store fat, particularly around your midsection.
To manage stress, consider incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. You can also try to carve out some time each day to do something you enjoy, whether reading a book, taking a bath, or going for a walk.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family members when needed, and try to make “mom friends.” No one else can better understand the difficulties and pure joys that accompany motherhood than another mom.
Treat Yourself To A Mommy Makeover
Sometimes, diet and exercise will only get you so far. For example, you can lose body fat and tone your body but still be left with saggy, loose skin. Also, many women find it much more challenging to lose weight and gain lean muscle once they’ve had a baby.
If you are struggling to regain your pre-baby body despite diet and exercise, it might be time to consider cosmetic treatments or plastic surgery. Here are the five most common cosmetic procedures and surgeries after childbirth.
#6: Tummy Tuck After Pregnancy
A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is one of the country’s most commonly performed post-baby plastic surgeries. It is a fast way to eliminate stubborn fat and flab that won’t budge.
But the biggest perk of a tummy tuck is that it can do two things that diet and exercise can’t. A tummy tuck can remove stretched-out, excess skin from the abdominal area, resulting in a flatter, more toned appearance. It can also help to repair weakened or separated abdominal muscles, resulting in a much flatter, firmer, more aesthetically-pleasing tummy.
While a tummy tuck is considered an invasive surgery that requires some downtime for recovery, advancements in surgical techniques and technology have made the procedure less intrusive and with a shorter recovery time than in the past.
For example, some tummy tucks can be performed using minimally invasive techniques such as endoscopic or mini abdominoplasty, resulting in smaller incisions and less scarring.
Moreover, many surgeons now use advanced surgical tools and equipment, such as laser technology and ultrasound-assisted liposuction, to minimize discomfort, swelling, and bruising and enhance the procedure’s overall results.
#7: Breast Augmentation/Breast Lift After Pregnancy
After pregnancy, many women may experience changes in the appearance of their breasts, such as sagging, loss of volume, and enlarged nipples, that can negatively impact their self-confidence and body image.
Breast augmentation can increase the size and fullness of the breasts using implants, while a breast lift can raise and reshape the breasts to a more youthful position. These procedures can also address nipple position, areola size, and breast asymmetry, creating a more aesthetically pleasing and balanced appearance. You may even want to consider augmentation and a lift at the same time.
If you are breastfeeding, it’s best to wait until you are finished to have breast surgery, so your breast tissue is stabilized. Also, breast surgery procedures require a period of downtime, so you’ll want to keep that in mind when scheduling your surgery.
Luckily, modern techniques and technology have made the process less painful and recovery quicker than in the past. With proper care and follow-up, breast augmentation and a breast lift can be a safe and effective way for new moms to regain their confidence and improve their body image after childbirth.
#8: Liposuction After Pregnancy
After childbirth, many women may struggle with stubborn areas of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise, particularly in the abdomen, hips, thighs, and buttocks. Liposuction is one of the most popular cosmetic surgical procedures for removing excess fat from these areas, resulting in a smoother, more contoured body shape.
Liposuction is less invasive than a tummy tuck, as it does not involve tightening the abdominal muscles or removing excess skin. However, in some cases, liposuction may be performed with a tummy tuck to achieve optimal results.
In traditional liposuction, the procedure involves inserting a thin tube, called a cannula, through small incisions in the skin to suction out the fat. Recovery time from liposuction varies depending on the extent of the procedure, but modern techniques such as vaser liposuction have made the process less painful and recovery quicker than in the past.
With proper care and follow-up, liposuction can be a safe and effective way for new moms to regain their pre-baby body confidence and achieve their desired body shape.
#9: Cool Sculpting After Pregnancy
CoolSculpting is a safe, non-surgical, non-invasive, and relatively inexpensive cosmetic procedure that is becoming increasingly popular among new moms looking to improve their post-baby body shape and regain their confidence after childbirth.
As the name states, this procedure involves using controlled cooling technology to sculpt your body by freezing and eliminating stubborn pockets of fat in targeted areas, such as the abdomen, thighs, and love handles.
During the procedure, the CoolSculpting device is placed over the treatment area and gently cools the skin and underlying fat cells, causing them to crystallize and die. Over time, the body naturally eliminates the dead fat cells, resulting in a more sculpted and toned appearance. The procedure is generally well-tolerated and has minimal side effects.
CoolSculpting may require multiple treatment sessions to achieve desired results, but unlike surgical procedures such as a tummy tuck or liposuction, CoolSculpting requires no incisions, anesthesia, or downtime. This makes it an attractive option for busy moms who cannot afford to take time off from their daily activities.
#10: BodyTite After Pregnancy
BodyTite is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that is particularly beneficial for new moms who want to get rid of excess skin and fat in areas such as the abdomen, arms, and thighs but don’t want to undergo extensive surgery or have time for an extended recovery.
BodyTite requires only local anesthesia (you won’t be put to sleep), and most patients can return to their normal activities within just a few days.
BodyTite utilizes radio frequency technology to reduce stubborn fat and tighten loose skin. The heat energy created by the BodyTite device causes the fat cells to liquefy and stimulates collagen production in the skin, resulting in a more toned and lifted appearance.
The results of BodyTite are long-lasting, and the procedure is considered safe and effective, allowing new moms to achieve their desired body shape without the need for extensive surgery and downtime.
While BodyTite is not as invasive as plastic surgery, it involves a small incision to insert a cannula beneath the skin– this allows the RF energy to target both the fat and the underlying connective tissue.
BodyTite is an excellent option for those not ready to undergo liposuction or tummy tuck surgery but who want to achieve similar results without undergoing more invasive procedures.
Get The Post Baby Body You Deserve Today
The changes your body has gone through both during and after pregnancy are immense. Most new moms feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and discouraged that they don’t have the time or energy to return to their pre-pregnancy weight.
These feelings are valid and normal, but it’s important to be patient with yourself. You just created and birthed a human being! How long it takes for a woman’s body to go back to “normal” after pregnancy varies.
We want to emphasize that every mother’s body is unique, and there is no “right” or “wrong” way to look post-baby. It is important to remember that you are beautiful no matter what, and your body has accomplished an incredible feat by giving birth.
However, if you are depressed about your body after giving birth, feel self-conscious or are unhappy with certain aspects of your appearance, there is no shame in exploring plastic surgery or cosmetic procedures to get your pre-baby body back.
If you want to learn more about our mommy makeover or body sculpting procedures or have any questions, our experienced team is here to support and guide you on your journey toward looking and feeling your best.
Contact us at 615-443-0901 to schedule your complimentary mommy makeover consultation in Middle Tennessee today.