Friday, January 16

Your post-baby belly: Why it's changed and how to tone it

Setelah Irma berusia tujuh bulan lebih, mama perhatikan memang mama ada penurunan berat badan, thanks to breastfeeding. Tetapi tang di perut itu sangatlah besarrr. Nenek siap berprasangka yang bakal adik Irma dan Imran ada dalam perut. Oh no. I'm not ready yet!

Mama terjumpa artikel ni dan mama tepekkan kat sini.
Sumber dari babycenter.

Why do I still look pregnant?

You may be very surprised by the way your tummy looks after birth. Your baby is out, but there it is, right around the navel: a big, round, squishy puffball that makes you look like you're still six months pregnant. Many women also have a dark line down their abdomen called a linea nigra and a web of stretch marks, which are actually little scars caused by the extensive stretching of skin. Those who had a c-section have surgical scars to contend with as well.

It takes time for your body — and especially your belly — to fully recover from pregnancy. Imagine your abdomen as a balloon, slowly inflating as your baby grows. Childbirth doesn't pop the balloon, it just starts a slow leak. But don't worry — it's a steady one.

From the moment your baby is born, hormonal changes cause your midsection to deflate, shrinking it back to something closer to its pre-pregnancy state. It takes about four weeks for your uterus to contract to its normal size. All the cells in your body that swelled during pregnancy will begin releasing their fluids in the form of urine, vaginal secretions, and sweat. And the extra fat you put on to nourish the baby will start burning off (especially if you're nursing and exercising). But it takes at least a few weeks to see noticeable results.

Stretch marks and the linea nigra, however, endure longer. The good news is that stretch marks usually become considerably less noticeable six to 12 months following childbirth. Their pigmentation fades and they typically become lighter than the surrounding skin (the color will vary depending on your skin color), but their texture will remain the same. The dark color of the linea nigra will gradually fade over a year, but that too may not completely disappear.

How long will it take for my belly to shrink back to normal?

We've all heard stories of new moms whose tummies are tight and flat immediately after giving birth. Although this does happen, it's rare. For most women it takes months to get rid of the "pregnancy pouch" — and sometimes it never goes away.

Patience is key. It took nine months for your abdomen to stretch to accommodate a full-term baby, so it makes sense that it would take that long or longer to tighten back up.

The speed and degree of this transition depends largely on your normal body size, how much weight you gained during pregnancy, how active you are, and your genes. Women who gained less than 30 pounds and exercised regularly during pregnancy, who breastfeed, and who have had only one child are more likely to slim down quickly.

If you're not breastfeeding, you'll need to watch how much you're eating in order to lose pregnancy weight. You need fewer calories now that you're not pregnant. (See our "Diet for Healthy Post-Baby Weight Loss" and our "Diet for a Healthy Breastfeeding Mom."

What can I do to make my belly look better?

Breastfeeding helps, especially in the early months after childbirth. Women who breastfeed burn extra calories to make milk, so they usually lose pregnancy weight more quickly than their non-nursing counterparts.

Nursing also triggers contractions that help shrink the uterus, making it a workout for the whole body. But many breastfeeding moms say they have trouble losing the last 5 to 10 pounds. Some experts theorize that the body retains these extra fat stores to aid in milk production. Science hasn't yet tackled this question definitively. See our poll on whether breastfeeding helps you lose weight to learn what other nursing moms experienced.

Exercise also helps. Whether it's a stroll around the block or a postpartum yoga class, physical activity tones stomach muscles and burns calories. A rigorous exercise regimen that includes an aerobic workout and movements that focus on the abdomen can work wonders. (But before starting an exercise routine, make sure your body is ready.)

Some baby bulges require more effort. A low-calorie diet can help you lose weight, but give nature and exercise time to work first. Wait at least six weeks (preferably several months, especially if you're nursing) before cutting back on calories. Dieting too soon after giving birth may reduce your milk supply and can make you feel more fatigued.

And don't go on a strict diet — women need a minimum of 1,200 calories a day to stay healthy, and most women need much more than that — between 1,800 and 2,200 calories a day — to keep up their energy and mood. To lose about a pound a week, cut out 500 calories a day by either decreasing your food intake or increasing your activity level.

If you're breastfeeding, losing more than a couple pounds a week can release toxins — normally stored in your body fat — into the bloodstream, increasing the amount of these contaminants that wind up in your milk. So if you're losing more than 2 pounds a week after the first six weeks, you need to take in more calories.

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