How To Lose The Belly Fat After Pregnancy – 5 Tips For Moms In 2024

Erin Shaughnessy, Health Writer
Dr. Michael DiLeo, MD
Consumption of a healthy diet, exercise, breastfeeding, and use of abdominal supports are how to lose the belly fat after pregnancy in 2024.
how to lose the belly fat after pregnancy
Postpartum belly fat can be reduced with everyday solutions. Photo: Ba Le Ho

You have just survived one of the most challenging and rewarding adventures in life — and the changes to your body prove it. 

Even though you are no longer pregnant, your belly has not immediately tightened back to its pre-pregnancy state. The extra weight gained during pregnancy remains, concentrated in your belly. You fear your muscles and skin are looser than ever. 

The first time realizing the cumulative effects of pregnancy on your body can be surprising. It makes many new mothers wonder how to get back their pre-pregnancy body and how to lose belly fat after pregnancy. Luckily, it’s a common problem with some everyday solutions. Read on to find out.

5 Methods To Lose Your Postpartum Belly Fat

  1. Eat healthy and hydrate.
  2. Start gentle exercises. 
  3. Consider breastfeeding.
  4. Wear an abdominal support when needed.
  5. Rest.

5 Ways To Lose Postpartum Belly For Moms

Here are the top five evidence-based solutions for how to lose your mommy’s belly and get back into your pre-pregnancy jeans.

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Eat Healthy And Hydrate

You have been eating for two, but now it’s just you again. Now is the time to detox your diet from any treats indulged in during pregnancy. 

Convert to a healthy weight loss diet including nutrient-dense foods such as lean meats, like poultry or fish; legumes, like beans and lentils; and vegetables, like broccoli and spinach. Cut out foods and drinks high in sugar and processed carbohydrates, such as soda, cookies, and chips. Refrain from alcoholic beverages, including beer and mixed drinks. 

To lose baby belly fat you should also monitor portion size. Aim for a deficit of 500-1000 calories per day for safe weight loss.[1] Eating high-fiber and high-protein foods will help prevent hunger pangs while creating healthy eating habits. 

Being dehydrated might affect food choices and slow your metabolism[2] while staying hydrated might increase feelings of fullness.[3] The amount of water you should drink depends on your sex, physical activity level, and the climate, but aim for around six to eight cups[4] for women and men, respectively.

Start Gentle Exercises

how to lose the belly fat after pregnancy
Gentle postpartum exercises can help lose fat. Photo: Shutterstock

Exercises that burn calories are the best way to lose postpartum belly fat. If you haven’t been exercising consistently during pregnancy, restart slowly. If you had a complicated birth or cesarean section, ask your obstetrician–gynecologist, or ob-gyn when to start exercising again.

Most women are instructed to begin with 20-30 minutes per day[5] of gentle exercises in the eight weeks after an uncomplicated vaginal birth or cesarean section. Gentle exercise recommendations include gentle walks, swimming, pelvic tilts, kegel exercises, and light yoga, such as the happy baby pose. Those light exercises will help to strengthen the pelvic floor while providing light calorie-burning cardio. 

Targeted abdominal exercises such as sit-ups and planks are not the right exercises to begin immediately postpartum. They can cause harm if they start too soon. It is especially important to wait if you had a cesarean section. 

If your belly muscles have separated during birth — a common postpartum condition called abdominal separation or diastasis rectiexercise likely won’t speed up[6] recovery. But it’s not harmful, either.

When you and your ob-gyn feel your abdominal core is healed and you are ready to take it to the next level, workouts such as high-intensity interval training, hot yoga, strength training, and running can accelerate how to get rid of belly fat after pregnancy.

Consider Breastfeeding

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,[7] breastfeeding can burn up to an extra 500 calories per day. This can make it easier for some women to lose the additional body weight gained during pregnancy.

Women who breastfeed for at least three months are more likely to return to their pre-pregnancy weight[8] than those who don’t. Breastfeeding can also help the uterus shrink back to its normal size more quickly, helping reduce belly swelling. 

Wear An Abdominal Support When Needed

While they won’t result in weight loss, a belly wrap might help support the stomach muscles. 

Recent research suggests that abdominal supports do not help the healing[9] of abdominal separation. However, abdominal supports such as shapewear, belly bands, and binders might reduce pain and swelling after a cesarean section. 

Cosmetically, this additional belly support can encourage good posture and a flat stomach, potentially improving self-esteem.

Abdominal supports should be worn in a way that provides gentle compression. Supports worn too tight might delay healing by reducing blood circulation to the affected area. 


how to lose the belly fat after pregnancy
Getting adequate rest is important for weight loss. Photo: Shutterstock

Rest may not seem like it is high on the list, but it is essential for losing postpartum lower belly fat. The body needs time to heal from the birthing process and regulate hormone levels,[10] such as cortisol — your stress hormone. Pregnancy and post-partum are high-stress periods that can increase cortisol levels.[11]

High cortisol levels are associated with increased appetite[12] and fat storage[13] — especially around the belly. Getting adequate sleep[14] of 6-8 hours per night, regular exercise, and restful activities — such as meditation, journaling, and yoga — can help reduce stress and cortisol levels. In turn, this can encourage healthier eating habits.

What Is Postpartum Belly?

Postpartum belly is the bulging stomach, loose skin, and expanded waistline that many women experience after giving birth. 

Your uterus expands to accommodate your growing baby, and your abdominal muscles stretch and possibly even split. Your skin had to stretch to cover it all. Once you have given birth, your muscles, organs, and skin need time to recover their original size and shape.

Things Moms Shouldn’t Do

It’s easy to hope for a swift recovery from pregnancy, and in some cases, women do rebound quickly. For most, however, it is a long process requiring consistent good nutrition, exercise, and rest decisions. 

Don’t try to rush your body or results. Change your diet to be more healthy but don’t starve yourself. Start your exercise program but don’t do more than your doctor advises. 

Gradually increase at a comfortable pace when you have healed your core. Consider breastfeeding but don’t get discouraged or feel guilty if it doesn’t work out. Don’t wear abdominal supports too tight to ensure good blood circulation. 

Finally, don’t forget to rest and take time for yourself. Your body’s recovery from birthing a new human being is a marathon, not a sprint, and you need to pace yourself.

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How Long Will It Take To Lose The Postpartum Belly?

You didn’t gain your mommy’s belly in a day so don’t expect to lose it quickly either. However, some changes do start to happen soon after giving birth. 

Immediately postpartum, while you may still look and feel pregnant, the weight and swelling from fluid retention and hormones begin to decrease. Any belly swelling associated with cesarean sections should also begin to go down a few days after birth.

Most women lose a significant amount of pregnancy weight after one month postpartum due to hormonal changes. During the next few months, your uterus will return to its pre-pregnancy size resulting in less lower belly swelling. 

By 12 months postpartum, a consistently healthy diet, exercise, breastfeeding, and rest plan will pay off. Your body will be much closer to its pre-pregnancy state — and maybe even better.

The Takeaways

Your post-pregnancy belly won’t be gone as soon as you give birth. However, it can be reduced by consistently following our five tips on how to lose belly fat after pregnancy. 

A combination of balanced diet, exercise, breastfeeding, abdominal support, and rest is the strategy. Following these steps, you can lose belly fat after pregnancy and get back into pre-pregnancy shape.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get a flat stomach after having a baby?

A combination of consistent healthy eating, exercise, use of abdominal supports, and rest will help encourage a flatter stomach. Breastfeeding burns an additional 500 calories a day, helping accelerate postpartum weight loss.

How can I lose my belly fat fast after pregnancy?

There is no safe way to reduce belly fat fast. However, focus on a 500-calorie daily deficit. This is done via healthy eating, exercise, breastfeeding, and rest, helping you achieve your goals more quickly.

Does postpartum belly fat go away?

Usually, yes. Some postpartum changes are permanent and some are not. However, a consistently healthy diet, exercise, breastfeeding, use of abdominal supports, and rest will increase your chances of losing your postpartum belly fat.

What is the fastest way to lose belly fat after pregnancy?

Consistently achieving a 500-calorie daily deficit through healthy eating habits, exercise, breastfeeding, and rest while also using abdominal supports to smooth and support your belly are the fastest ways to lose belly fat after pregnancy.

How do I reduce tummy fat after pregnancy and delivery?

Eat a healthy diet of lean meats, legumes, and vegetables. Also, exercise, consider breastfeeding, use abdominal support when needed, and rest.


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