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The shelf... how to get rid of post C-section tummy

(13 Posts)
expatnow Thu 29-Sep-11 13:09:47

Not sure if I am posting in the right place, but I am desperate! I had my second C-section 3 months ago and am struggling with my flabby belly and the shelf/ overhang of flesh. I know it is relatively early days, but are there any specific exercises I can do? I am going to the gym 2-3 times a week (when I can) but really interested in advice about sit ups/ abdominal exercises.

QTPie Thu 29-Sep-11 14:48:27


Have only had one C Section - so am very interested in the replies that you get (if I am lucky enough to get pregnant a second time, I plan a second ELCS).

You have to be VERY careful with abdominal exercuses (sit-ups/crunches) - they only work the superficial muscles and will make any abdominal seperation (which you are very likely to have) much much worse.

Have you spoken to your gym team? They should be able to set you a program that is suitable for post C Section recovery and sensitive to abdominal seperation.

Postnatal pilates is a REALLY good thing to do. I used to do a session that allowed you to take your baby with you (you had to leave the class when the baby got mobile though). ALso I know new mums who have done a lot of one-to-one post-natal pilates (although expensive).

One possibility (which is what I worry about if I had a second child - I sprung back after my first...) is that it is loose skin and not slack muscle - in which case it may be very difficult to remedy "non-surgically".

Do you moisturise your body? I slap lots of cocoa butter cream all over myself (although just didn't have time for the first 10 months post birth, I did do it throughout pregnancy). I am not convinced it helps though... I did bounce back and I look perfect when I stand up, but when I sit down, there is definitely "looseness" in my tummy (that wasn't there before) - I work out 4 times a week (DC1 is 20 months).


Katiebeau Thu 29-Sep-11 14:48:44

It's not gym/sit ups you really need. It's more pilates or Physio exercises for your core muscles. Sit ups just work the upper layer of muscles, not your core ones. Good luck!

soniaweir Fri 30-Sep-11 08:51:02

I really struggled after my 2nd c section. it took ages and ages and it's still not 100% but much better. DC is 15months. I started doing boxercise which was great and really worked the abs. I have a bit of a back issue so i ma going to start to pilates as the physio said it was the best thing for posture etc.

my other advise is once your DC2 is mobile you do a hell of a lot more running around and in the past month i have found that i have lost quite a bit of weight as i very rarely sit down in the day chasing after 2 toddlers!

TuttiFrutti Fri 30-Sep-11 16:19:40

I've had 2 cs, the last one 4 years ago, and for ages I had a flabby tummy and looked about 4 months pregnant so I sympathise.

It can go, but it does take time and effort I'm afraid. I lost mine through a combination of dieting (some of it will just be fat, and you can't spot-reduce fat) and going to the gym 3 times a week. I do a mixture of cardio and weights. I think you need the cardio for weight loss but the weights really help to tone up. Sit-ups are not the best for abs - have you tried the plank?

TooImmature2BDumbledore Fri 30-Sep-11 21:24:36

Is it just a case of losing weight and doing lots of toning exercise, then? I don't mean 'just' in that it's easy to do, only that it sounds like you can shift it with hard work and dedication.

QTPie Sat 01-Oct-11 08:37:34

Depends on a lot of of things, including:
- weight gain during pregnancy
- fitness/activity both before and during pregnancy
- weight before pregnancy
- age (skin is much more elastic in younger mums).
- maybe some genetics.

Being a 2nd child is quite key I think: skin has taken a hammering twice (and loosing elasticity) - it will be tougher to get back.

I was very active before pregnancy, was an athletic 9st 12, kept active during pregnancy (swam 50 lengths twice a week plus prenatal yoga), only put on anout 22/24lbs during pregnancy, lost all my pregnancy weight within two weeks of birth (despite eating like a horse - think the breastfeeding did it). But I was almost 36 years old when DC born. DID snap back into shape (started exercising, but only once/twice a week, at 7 weeks post CS): don't have shelf, but DO have noticeably baggier abdominal skin when I sit down (doesn't notice standing).

Hope to get pregnant again early next year: will be 38 and 2nd child - VERY worried about what will happen to tummy second time round.... sad. Know that Abs aren't be all and end all, but...

expatnow Sat 01-Oct-11 16:12:09

Thanks for the thoughts. Agree it will be a combination of things- but feel I've done everything right and it still sits there! Supposedly it is called a "mother's apron"! I only gained 23 lbs, was a good weight before and exercised regularly, ate well and exercised during my pregnancy (mildly) right up until the end. I am breastfeeding etc etc and yet still have this flabby tummy! I am 37 though...

I guess I will just have to keep at it and see if I can shift it eventually.

frutilla Sat 01-Oct-11 16:16:28

I had my 2nd section 7 months ago and am back to normal. It's gradual, but when my DS was about 2 months old I was sick of my belly so I bought a latex girdle and wore that for about a month and it really helped.

frutilla Sat 01-Oct-11 16:21:13

This is the one I got....

Mummyinggnome Sat 01-Oct-11 16:28:43

I saw someone post on here once that getting your body fat percentage down to 20% was the key. My body fat % is about 21/22% and still a little bit shelf like ( more of a 'lip' ) but when I can be bothered I get it down to 20% and it all but vanishes.

That's after three c sections on the last four years! I don't go the gym but in just ran around like crazy after my three babes.

Raven78 Sat 01-Oct-11 19:10:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

expatnow Mon 03-Oct-11 05:43:22

Thanks! Very good advice. Raven- do you have a copy of exercises or know where I could get them? I am abroad and so wouldn't have access to anything like that!

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