Many new moms are dismayed to find that they have excess skin on their stomachs after pregnancy. Whether or not the skin can return to its pre-pregnancy shape is determined by several factors, including genetics, weight gain and age. Some women find that they can regain their pre-baby shape with diet and exercise. Others, especially those who have had several children, decide that surgery is the best option.
As with anyone trying to reshape their body, as a new mom, you must watch what you eat. Certain foods will help your skin be in the best condition possible to snap back to its former state. Foods with antioxidants are great for skin. You can find these in some fruits and vegetables, such as dark berries and artichokes. Eat unprocessed foods as often as possible, and shop for produce at your local farmers market. Choose lean meat and low-fat dairy products. Make sure to drink plenty of water, which is one of the best steps you can take for great-looking skin. If you are breastfeeding, do not cut your caloric intake. You will actually need to increase the calories you consume to make enough breast milk. It is also helpful to eat healthy foods while pregnant to limit weight gain and keep skin elastic.
Exercise will help to melt fat so that the skin can return to its pre-pregnancy tautness. Talk with your doctor to make sure that your body has recovered enough from delivery to exercise. Start with at least 20 minutes each day. Combine cardio and strength training to get the best results. If you only focus on toning exercises, you will build muscle, but it will still be covered by a layer of fat. Walk around the block with the baby in a stroller, or carry the baby in a front packer. Try a new video while the baby naps. Do reps of crunches each day to build up your ab muscles. Include reps of reverse crunches and oblique crunches to tone all of your midsection.
Some moms find that they can’t achieve their desired shape even with diet and exercise, so they opt for surgery. A tummy tuck can eliminate any loose skin that remains after pregnancy. As with any surgery, there can be risks and complications. There is also the extended recovery time to consider, which may interfere with your duties as a mother. Laser skin tightening is another procedure done by plastic surgeons that helps skin produce more collagen. Although it is a non-invasive solution to excess skin, it still has risks, such as infection and changes in pigmentation. Both procedures are quite costly.
Many plastic surgeons recommend that a patient wait a year after delivery to see if her skin will snap back on its own, because it takes her body a while to recover from growing and delivering a child. Be patient, and give it time. Some women decide to proudly wear their excess skin as a badge of honor earned from child-bearing. Regardless of your decision, enjoy your baby and your new role as a mother.