Last modified on August 2022
With inputs from Dr. Pragnya Rao - General Physician
There is a common belief that getting a c-section might make it harder to reduce post-pregnancy belly fat. While a c-section does involve major surgery to the stomach area, you can still lose excess belly fat. In this article, we will take you through the c-section procedure and tips on how to reduce belly fat after c section.
We understand that during the COVID-19 pandemic you may feel unsafe to move out of your home for doctor visits or treatment and so we have included a majority of home remedies to help you reduce belly fat after c-section in an easy way. With MFine you can also consult top gynaecologists and dietitians through instant chat and video calls from the comfort of your home.
Chapter 1: How to reduce belly fat after C section in Indian mothers: Top tips
Your body is weak after a C-section and in need of essential nutrition, so do not follow a crash diet or start exercising immediately to reduce post-pregnancy weight gain and get back in shape.
Here are some top tips to reduce belly fat after c section:
- Get a Postnatal Massage:
Massages help to break up belly fat and release fluids from the lymph nodes which can greatly help in weight loss post c section delivery. Lymphatic drainage can reduce swelling by removing fluids and waste products. Body massages after a C-section boost blood flow and oxygen in your. body, ensuring recovery and improving immunity. Furthermore, a body massage releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers, as well as oxytocin, which stimulates your breast milk supply. A postnatal massage is usually recommended after two weeks or until the scar has completely healed after a caesarean section delivery.
Breastfeeding has the potential to help you shed pounds immediately after having a baby. It is one of the easiest methods of losing belly fat after a C-section. Breastfeeding also releases oxytocin, which aids contractions that shrink the uterus. This helps to get your uterus back into its pre-pregnancy size, making breastfeeding one of the most useful weight loss tips after C section.
On average, breastfeeding burns anywhere from 250-500 calories a day. In fact, women who breastfeed shed weight faster than women who bottle-feed.
In order to breastfeed your body has to burn calories. This requires a lot of energy, and your body needs to work hard to produce milk.
- Walk Off the Extra Weight
Walking is an easy and gentle exercise you can incorporate to lose weight after a C-section. It gets your heart rate up and your blood circulating and also does not put too much stress on your abdominal muscles and pelvic floortop of all that, walking improves your mood, and it’s always good to fill your lungs with fresh air. Try walking with friends or family to lighten your mood, or push your baby in a stroller. The weight of the stroller will help you burn even more calories without it being too hard on your body.
- Bind Your Tummy
Compared to vaginal delivery, a C-section calls for shedding numerous layers of tissue and muscle. Belly binding in such cases is a useful tool during the recovery period to help get rid of a hanging belly after c section. Belly binding entails tying a muslin cloth that looks like a bandage. This band, when wrapped around tightly, supports and keeps your abdomen in place. It also ensures that your incision heals completely and is a useful way to lose belly fat after a C-section. Although previous generations used simple pieces of muslin cloth, today, belly binding materials range from traditional fabric lengths to postpartum girdles.
- Take Up Yoga
Practising yoga has shown to greatly help in reducing tummy fat after C-section delivery. Some benefits of yoga include toning and strengthening the stomach muscles. Yoga also helps you deal with the stress of bodily and emotional changes. However, consult your doctor before taking up yoga after a C-section. Some harmless yoga poses to shed postnatal weight include:
- Bhujanga Asana: The cobra pose helps to strengthen abdominal muscles.
- Pranayama: The simple breathing exercise puts pressure on your abdomen and will help you to lose belly fat after a C-section.
- Suryanamaskar: Suryanamaskar is a well-known complete body workout which makes it a useful tip for weight loss after C section.
- Get Adequate Sleep
A minimum of 6 hours of sleep will help immensely in weight loss after a C section. New mothers can find it difficult to maintain a regular sleep schedule because of their newborn baby. Try to get sleep when your baby sleeps; this will also improve your emotional health.
“Recovering from C-section the right way is extremely important as it can have an effect on both your body and mind. To fasten the process, you can look at lifestyle and changes to your diet to reduce belly fat. However do not try crash diets or exercise immediately after C-Section because your recovery is not just important to you but also your little one.”
– Dr. Pragnya Rao, General Physician
COVID in India and guidelines for new mothers
The coronavirus disease that has claimed several hundred thousand lives in the country so far is yet to cease with the second wave still prevailing. Some of the risk groups identified are people above the age of 65, people with comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and pregnant women, and much recently teenagers and kids as well. Studies by the CDC say that expecting mothers are at a heightened risk to contract the coronavirus disease and hence must take necessary precautions. Doctors advice pregnant women not to take the COVID-19 vaccine in the first 12 weeks that are extremely crucial for the development of the fetus. However, pregnant women may choose to take the vaccine before entering their third trimester at 28 weeks.
– There are a number of ways to get back into shape and reduce belly fat after c section. However, don’t forget to start with gentle exercises and then gradually move on to high-impact workouts.
– You may also wear a compression belt or a garment over your C-section scar to avoid putting pressure and hurting it.
– Your body has to heal and requires nourishment, so take plenty of rest and do not exert yourself too much.
Chapter 2: How to reduce tummy fat after C section naturally: Foods to avoid
When you are breastfeeding, it’s important to remember that the food you eat will provide nourishment for both you and your baby. Thus, you should be extra careful of what you put on your plate. While healthy whole foods will provide essential nutrients, junk food and foods which contain harmful compounds can have negative effects. These foods can also make it more difficult for you to lose weight after a c-section.
Here are some common foods to avoid while learning how to reduce belly fat after c section in Indian mothers:
- Fatty and Junk Foods: Avoiding all processed foods like chips, baked goods, fried foods, etc. will help you lose weight after a C-section.
- Spicy Foods: Apart from causing gastric problems, the baby will also get a strong flavour of spicy food through breast milk. Furthermore, excessively spicy food also causes gas, heartburn, and indigestion.
- Citrus and Carbonated Drinks: Refrain from consuming citrus juices and carbonated drinks. These cause gas and flatulence. Consume only moderate amounts of caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee. Caffeine-induced drinks may affect the baby’s growth.
- Sugary and Refined Foods: Consuming foods high in sugar will spike up your blood sugar. This can cause insulin resistance and weight gain.
- Alcohol: Keep alcohol at bay; it impairs the mother’s ability to breastfeed. You should also avoid smoking while breastfeeding.
- Foods That Cause Gas: Avoid foods that cause intestinal gas such as chole, channa, green peas, besan, etc. They can be gradually introduced in the mother’s diet.
- Processed Foods: Avoid consuming too many refined and processed foods. Such products contain high amounts of salt, sugar, and fat, all of which are harmful to our health. If you are diabetic, eating rice after C section delivery can also be limited. Replacing these with fresh foods will keep undesirable additives at bay and maintain your energy levels.
– Foods to avoid after cesarean delivery include ones that are high in saturated fats, such as fried foods and aerated drinks. If you are diabetic, eating rice after C section delivery can also be limited. Including more fruits and vegetables will help you maintain a well-balanced diet.
– Bear in mind that eating healthier does not mean going on a diet. You have to simply give up on junk food and replace it with whole foods.
Chapter 3: Diet after C section to lose weight: A Sample Indian Diet Plan
Diet is especially crucial since the mother needs to breastfeed the newborn. In the first few months, breast milk is the only source of nutrition for the baby, making it all the more vital for mothers to maintain a healthy diet after C section to lose weight.
Good nutrition speeds up the recovery and stimulates healing of the uterus and abdominal wall, which are slit open during the C-section. Following a nutritious diet also helps the new mother to lose weight after a C-section.
Here are some useful tips on diet after c section to make the best use of a post-caesarean diet and to learn how to reduce belly fat after c section in Indian mothers:
- Have five to six small meals by spreading them out throughout the day. By doing so, you won’t consume three heavy meals at a time.
- Try to maintain a gap of two hours between meals. If you feel hungry, snack on fruits or nuts.
- Consume your meals unhurriedly. Chewing your food, instead of gulping it down at once, eases the process of digestion.
- Catch up on your sleep whenever possible. Syncing your sleep routine with your baby’s will help your body repair itself and keep you fresh.
- Avoid takeaway meals, junk, and processed foods. Try to eat only home-cooked food, and include as many fresh ingredients in your diet plan after a C-section as possible.
Below is an overview of an Indian diet plan for weight loss after a C section. It is specially designed to help new mothers learn how to reduce tummy after c section naturally and recuperate after surgery and stimulate breast milk supply.
|Food Item||Nutri Fact|
Helps to absorb nutrients
Best way to start the day for new moms
||Chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids and proteins|
||Good source of fibre.
Help smoothen bowel movements and prevent constipation
||Eggs are a good source of protein.
Zinc properties in eggs are beneficial for lactating mothers.
||Helps keep the body hydrated.
Helps restore pH levels.
|Food Item||Nutri Fact|
|Ajwain water,Jeera water,Coconut water
||Helps with digestion
Prevents heartburn and urinary tract infection
||A traditional Indian remedial food given to new mothers
Improved lactation, stimulates healing and combats weakness
|Dry Chikki with Jaggery
||Good combination of protein and iron|
|Food Item||Nutri Fact|
||Excellent source of fibre
A wholesome meal for new mothers
||Vegetables provide daily intake of vitamins, minerals and fibres
It is essential to cook vegetables before they are consumed
||Beneficial source of protein
It is important to consult your doctor about the kind and amount of chicken to consume during the nursing period
||Seafood boosts the amount of essential omega-3 in breast milk.
Consult your doctor about the kind and amount of fish to consume during the nursing period
||Rich in fibre
Provides a wholesome meal
||Beetroot and carrots promote haemoglobin and are rich sources of Vitamin A|
||Enriched with Vitamin A, Vitamin D, protein and calcium
Most beneficial foods in a postnatal diet
||Can be included multiple times in a day|
– The C-section is an exhausting and painful procedure for a new mother. To recover from the surgery, the mother needs ample rest and a balanced diet.
– If you are a new mother, try the above sample diet plan consisting of Indian food to eat after a caesarean delivery. This can answer your queries on how to reduce belly after c section delivery.
Chapter 4: How to reduce belly fat after C section: Foods to Eat
Although it’s important to consume a very light diet, it is necessary to follow a diet loaded with nutritious foods, as they need to replenish the lost nutrients. Plus, it also becomes essential that your body gets proper nourishment after delivery. As such, these are some Indian foods to eat if you are wondering how to reduce belly after C Section.
- Whole-Grain Foods
Essential Indian whole grain products contain iron, fibre, and folic acid. In addition to giving you a wholesome portion of enriched vitamins and nutrients, whole grains also boost energy levels and maintain breast milk supply. Whole grain cereals in India such as brown rice, oats, whole wheat and millets make a good option for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Proteins stimulate the growth of new cell tissues and encourage the healing process. Protein-rich foods help in tissue repair and maintain muscle strength after delivery.
Some of the protein-rich foods to eat after c section include fish, eggs, chicken, and meat. These can be consumed by Indian mothers who enjoy non-vegetarian food. While fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, eggs provide zinc which is beneficial for you and for your baby’s growth and development.
Vegetarian mothers in India can consume dairy foods, peas, dried beans, and nuts. They’re easy to digest and especially recommended during nursing. Dark-coloured beans like kidney beans and black beans contain iron. These are commonly known as rajma in India. Other options may include mushrooms, carrots, and dates.
Vitamins help in producing collagen and in building new scar tissues, ligaments, and skin. Green vegetables such as spinach, fenugreek leaves, broccoli, and lotus stem are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, iron, and dietary calcium.
To combat infections and strengthen immunity, mothers must eat vegetables and fruits like oranges, papayas, watermelons, strawberries, grapefruits, and sweet potatoes.
Indian fruits to eat after C section delivery include oranges and blueberries. These citrus fruits are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C and good for breastfeeding mothers.
- Fibre-Rich Foods
Constipation is a common problem experienced by new mothers. Poor bowel movement delays the healing process by putting pressure on wounds and incisions. Fibre keeps constipation at bay and stimulates smooth bowel movements.
Raw fruits and vegetables provide roughage, thereby giving relief from constipation. Oats and ragi are also rich sources of fibre content and are enriched in carbohydrates, calcium, proteins and iron.
Other protein and fibre-rich Indian foods to eat after cesarean delivery include lentils, green grams, and pulses.
- Iron-Rich Foods
Your Indian diet chart after C section to lose weight should include Iron as it increases haemoglobin levels and immune health and helps regain blood lost during delivery. Egg yolks, red meat, oysters, and dry fruits are rich sources of iron. Note that excessive iron consumption also results in constipation and should be avoided.
Consuming lots of fluids averts dehydration and keeps constipation at bay. A good fluid intake by new mothers helps easy bowel movements and also stimulates post-surgery recovery. Your Indian diet chart after C section to lose weight should include fluids such as coconut water, low-fat milk, non-citrus juices, herbal teas, buttermilk, and soup.
- Dairy Products
Dairy gives nursing mothers their required dose of protein, calcium, and vitamins B and D. Calcium strengthens the bones and teeth, relaxes the muscles, aids blood coagulation, and prevents osteoporosis.
During breastfeeding, 250 to 350 mg of calcium is transferred to the new-born baby.
Skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurt, and cheese strengthen your baby through breast milk. Calcium-fortified drinks, low-fat yoghurt, and milk are known to stimulate breast milk supply.
- Vegetables and Fruits
Fruits and vegetables loaded with vitamins, iron, and calcium should be included in the Indian diet plan after a C-section for new mothers, especially if they follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Breastfeeding mothers, too, can benefit from the antioxidant properties of fruits and vegetables.
- Indian Spices
Apart from the foods listed above, some Indian spices and condiments also help a new mother cope with the physical demands of childbirth.
- Ajwain is a widely used Ayurvedic medicine that contains thymol with antibacterial, antioxidant, antiseptic, and anti-fungal properties. You can consume it by simply boiling a spoonful of ajwain seeds in a glassful of water, or you can include it in vegetable dishes, rotis, or parathas.
Ajwain water helps a new mother against gastritis, constipation, stomach ache, indigestion, bloating, etc. It also cleanses the uterus and provides relief from the post-delivery pain.
- Cumin (jeera) is known to enhance milk supply and is a useful lactating agent. Cumin seeds stimulate digestion. You could either drink cumin by boiling a spoonful of cumin seeds in a glassful of water or use them in your meals, as part of dal or vegetable gravies.
- Turmeric is one of the most popular anti-inflammatory substances used in Ayurveda. Turmeric is commonly known to heal both external and internal wounds. It is also recommended for lactating mothers as it boosts breast milk supply. You can add about half a teaspoon of turmeric in a glass of warm milk and drink it every day.
- Asafoetida (hing) relieves gastrointestinal issues such as flatulence and helps with digestion. Adding a little hing to your vegetables or gravies also keeps intestinal gas at bay.
– If you are searching for how to reduce tummy after c section naturally, a nutritious Indian diet is recommended for new Indian mothers. Make sure to maintain a nutritious Indian diet after C section to lose weight, which is rich in carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
– Drinking plenty of water and liquids will detox and maintain the fluid balance in your body. Incorporating Indian fruits to eat after c section delivery, such as oranges and blueberries into your routine is also an essential step.
– Cumin, fenugreek, turmeric, ginger and garlic, and carom seeds (ajwain) are some Indian spices with medicinal properties that you can add to your diet.
Chapter 5: Weight loss tips after C section: Exercise when the time is right
As the saying goes, there is always a right time for everything. This is true even in the case of weight loss exercises after C section to lose belly fat.
After the multiple transformations, your body has undergone pre-and post-delivery, it is natural to wonder, how to lose belly fat after C section, and when can you get back to your original weight—however, you don’t want to rush this process by performing a rapid weight loss after c section.
Although caesareans in India have become common, the procedure is still major. The weeks following a C-section require a certain amount of time for complete recovery and healing. Needless to say, no two births are alike, and each case needs to be assessed according to the new mother’s needs.
When to Start Exercising After a C-Section Delivery?
Resuming exercise after a C-section requires a longer waiting period than it would after a normal delivery. For a smooth recovery, it is safe to get back to your post-pregnancy exercise regimen after 6 weeks of delivery and after a postnatal check-up with your doctor.
If you become impatient and begin exercising without waiting for 6-8 weeks after delivery, it may lead to harmful complications such as heavy postpartum bleeding, muscle and joint injuries, or the opening up of surgical incisions.
Furthermore, it is important to know that childbirth and caesarean section deliveries take a toll on a woman’s body. As such, overexertion of any kind may lead to complications. Below are a few weight loss measures to follow after C-section.
Which Exercises to Avoid After a C-Section?
Don’t rush into a strict postnatal exercise regimen for rapid weight loss after C section. Here are some exercises to avoid after a caesarean delivery:
- Cardio, high-impact exercises, and tummy-toning workouts are out of the question for the first six weeks after the C-section delivery.
- You should especially avoid abdominal-strengthening exercises after c section to lose weight, such as sit-ups and crunches, front planks, leg raises, and bicycles.
- Exercises entailing jumping such as jumping rope, squat thrusts, and jumping jacks are a no-no.
- Sprinting, running, and strenuous exercises such as body sculpting, Zumba, kickboxing, or any other physical activity that puts pressure on the C-section scar must be completely avoided.
Which Exercises to Do After a C-Section?
Here are some gentle exercises after c section to lose weight:
- Start by walking a few steps. Moving around will also probably make you feel better and release stress.
- Include light stretches as part of your post-natal exercise regimen. Focus on stretching your neck, shoulders, arms, and legs.
- Pregnancy, C-section, and breastfeeding may lead to a stooped back and shoulders. Practice sitting up with your back straight and keeping your shoulders upright. This will strengthen your stomach muscles and support your back.
- Start doing light pelvic floor exercises as soon as the catheter is out. Light kegel exercises can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and bowel.
While performing all these exercises, be careful not to put pressure on your C-section scar. Additionally, consult a gynecologist before resuming exercises after C section to lose belly fat.
Importance of Postnatal Exercise
Postnatal exercises form an essential part of recovery after your C-section. When performed correctly, they provide support and strength to your muscles and bones and also ensure a speedy recovery. Moreover, regular exercise after C-section boosts energy and mental health. Exercise also helps combat postpartum depression and ensures better sleep.
Continue low-impact cardio workouts for the first four to six months after a C-section delivery. Gradually, you can try walking, swimming, water aerobics, cycling, abdominal exercises, pelvic floor exercises, and other high-impact cardio exercises.
– Most new mothers are eager to follow weight loss tips after C section and get back to their pre-pregnancy shape. With a C-section delivery, the body needs time to heal first, so new mothers should wait 6-8 weeks after delivery before jumping into post-natal period exercises.
– The time required to lose weight post-pregnancy varies from woman to woman, so it’s important to be patient.
– Performing gentle exercises for the first six weeks will help you lose belly fat after a C-section delivery. After you’ve built up your stamina, you can slowly increase the intensity of your workouts.
Chapter 6: How to reduce belly fat after cesarean delivery: Best advice from mothers
Every woman’s pregnancy and post-pregnancy journey is completely different. While some might find it easy to bounce back after the delivery, others might have to wait a little longer to see results.
Here we’ve compiled some personal stories from real mothers about their post-pregnancy fitness journey. These stories can offer you several helpful tips on how to reduce belly fat after cesarean delivery and help you understand that you’re not the only one undergoing these changes to your body.
Housewife, freelance interior designer, PGT teacher, and fitness model
Harman Sidhu confesses that during pregnancy, she was confident that she would easily be able to lose weight. A C-section and excessive weight gain, however, posed a greater challenge than she expected. Fighting against all odds, Sidhu lost 28kgs in a span of 1 year.
While speaking about her diet, Sidhu revealed cutting down on sugar and carbs helped her remain active and energetic. Although the curb on sugar and carbohydrates made her weak initially, she felt the opposite after getting accustomed to the diet.
Popular YouTube Blogger
The MamaBacha blogger says new mothers after a C-section often experience stomach pains due to intestinal gas. Singhal says mothers should spread out their meals throughout the day to avoid flatulence. Five to six light meals a day and chewing carefully instead of gulping the food down are ways to keep the problem at bay.
She also recommends having warm to lukewarm meals in the first 10 days after a C-section. Having cold food and cold drinks may pose problems to the mother and the baby.
Popular YouTube Blogger
While speaking about her C-section experience, Moumita recommends mothers to remain calm and positive. The make U beautiful blogger speaks at length about her C-section experience.
During the C-section procedure, to keep herself calm, she engaged herself with positive thoughts. She reflected on her favourite song and kept thinking about her baby, whom she would meet soon.
Tots and Moms; a mother with two C-section deliveries
Further, Prashant also gives tips to keep the C-section wound dry. During the initial few days of bleeding, it is recommended to wear sanitary pads or diapers, she says. In the later period, however, she suggests keeping the wound as open as possible. Avoiding undergarments, wearing light and loose clothes, and giving up on tight elastic pants over the wound are a few ways to speed the process.
She also recommends mothers to not fret over the belly belt. According to her, a new mother will shed her baby weight eventually over two to three months.
– The above testimonials can be an effective guide for new mothers who want to know how to go about dealing with the various problems associated with C-section deliveries.
– The key takeaway is that it is possible to lose weight after a caesarian section, provided you eat a balanced diet and follow the appropriate postnatal period exercise regime.
Chapter 7: Frequently Asked Questions on How to Reduce Belly Fat After C Section
Will I have labour pains with a C-section?
In the event of a scheduled C-section, the caesarean takes place before you go into labour. In such cases, you will not notice any signs of labour. However, in cases of an emergency C-section, the surgery may be done after the labour has already started.
How is a C-section performed?
Cuts (incisions) are made through the wall of the abdomen and uterus. The muscles in your abdomen are separated and may not need to be cut. The incisions may either be transverse or vertical.
The baby is delivered through the incisions. Then, the umbilical cord is cut, and the placenta is removed. The uterus is closed with stitches, which gradually dissolve in the body.
What are the complications that occur during a C-section?
Not all women have to endure the complications of a C-section procedure. Infection, blood loss, blood clots, bowel or bladder injury, and reaction to medications or anaesthesia are some complications to be aware of during or after a C-section procedure.
Can I breastfeed after a caesarean?
There is no difference between a vaginal delivery and a C-section when it comes to breastfeeding. In fact, breastfeeding will help you lose belly weight faster. Provided both you and your baby are well, and your gynaecologist gives you the green light, you may breastfeed the baby shortly after delivery.
How long will I take to recover after a caesarean?
The recovery period differs from mother to mother. However, it usually takes longer to recover from a caesarean than from a normal delivery. Recovering from an uncomplicated caesarean section delivery usually takes between four to six weeks.
What kind of diet is recommended after a C-section delivery?
Good nutrition is essential to boost healing after your caesarean and also give adequate nutrients to your newborn. Do not give up on the good eating habits which you had developed while you were pregnant.
Foods high in protein, vitamin C, and iron are especially recommended for new mothers. Proteins foster the growth of new tissue. Vitamin C is crucial in healing and combats infection. Iron stimulates the immune system and raises your haemoglobin levels.
How long do I need to wait to resume my exercise regime after a C-section?
Generally speaking, it is recommended to wait at least 6-8 weeks before you resume your pre-delivery exercise regimen. Rushing into an exercise regime to reduce your post-pregnancy weight gain will only cause complications, so make sure you are patient and allow your body to heal.
Whether you give birth by C-section or vaginal delivery, the birth of your baby will always be a special moment of your life. Even so, it’s natural for mothers to think about how to reduce belly fat after a C-section at the very first opportunity after experiencing post-pregnancy weight gain. However, rushing the weight loss process can lead to dangerous complications.
The key fact to bear in mind is that you can lose weight after a caesarean, but you must first wait for your body to heal. In the meantime, it’s best to focus on your health as well as that of your baby.