Why Do I Still Have a Post-Baby Belly 1 Year After Giving Birth?

How do you reduce your tummy 1 year after giving birth? Great question! After delivering a baby, whether that be vaginally or via caesarian, your body is going to need some time to heal. Most doctors will clear you for exercise on average 6–8 weeks postpartum, but your body will still need some time to ease back into it.

One thing I’ve noticed as a common thread with many of my fellow mom friends and the UpSpring moms I get to interact with daily, is that they all have this idea of "bouncing back" after giving birth as something that’s going to happen over night.

Please, please, PLEASE, can we let this concept of ‘bouncing back’ die already?!

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It took your body 9 months to grow a human being and you should give it at least that long, ideally longer, to return to its new normal. Do yourself a favor and stay off Instagram for a few months after giving birth.While there are definitely women who get back into their prepregnancy jeans a week after giving birth, those are the outliers and definitely not the norm. Also, photoshop and filters are easier to use than the patience, time and dedication to getting back in shape the healthy way.

To your question about why you still have a post-baby belly, there are a few things you’ll need to consider before proceeding with action. You’ll need to assess where your body is at for anything to be effective.

Using a belly wrap after birth can help you a lot, but if you didn’t use one it doesn’t mean that you’re out of luck to get your body back in shape!


Postpartum Hip Changes

The most common reason women struggle to get a flat stomach after having a baby is due to an issue known as diastasis recti.

Diastasis recti occurs when the tissue that holds your abdominal muscles together stretches or rips. In fact, there was a study in Norway that found nearly a third of moms have or develop diastasis recti a year after giving birth.

If I was to speculate, I think you might fall into this percentage of women who suffer from separated abs, but this is great news because this means there are specific, targeted exercises that can help you! There was an amazing and detailed post done by National Public Radio that shows you how to find out if you have diastasis recti and what you can do about it here.

Another common problem is an issue with your pelvic floor. It’s not as commonly discussed as diastasis recti is becoming, but still equally, if not more, important. The pelvic floor affects things like urination and the ability to hold your internal organs up and in. Personally, I suffered from (and healed) a cystocele, which is when your bladder is LITERALLY falling out of your body (sorry for the TMI), but I think it’s very important to talk about the intense impact giving birth can have on a woman’s body.

Related: Speed Up Postpartum Recovery with Activated Bamboo Charcoal

We worked with an exercise therapist, Brooke Cates, to create 5 targeted exercises that can help you start healing your body and pelvic floor as soon as 1 day postpartum and I think it will still be incredibly valuable to you even a year after giving birth. Your pelvic floor is different than kegels in that it focuses on strengthening the inner muscles of your body and not just the external area. You can download the exercises here.

If you want to read more about some other exercises, specifically for c-section recovery, we have another article about how to slim your belly after a c-section here.

Sending you lots of love, patience and grace. Please don’t compare your body to other moms and simply be kind to yourself. You grew a human! Our bodies are powerful, amazing machines that can be fixed and tweaked if we listen to them. I hope the different possible issues I discussed here help you pinpoint what your body needs help with and that you are able to take some positive steps forward to heal.