How to Tighten Loose Skin After Having a Baby

Asian mother woman use section postpartum scar measuring waist stretch mark loose lower abdomen skin she fat after pregnancy baby birth.

  • Saggy belly skin commonly occurs after the birth of a child.
  • Commonly, a wrinkled abdomen will shrink on its own as your body heals after having a baby.
  • Simple measures can be applied at home to help tighten loose skin on your tummy following a delivery.
  • Surgical and non-surgical options are available to improve the look of your postpartum belly.
  • Specific vitamins and supplements may aid in the recovery of your skin tone and elasticity.

Once we hold our newborn in our arms, we mothers tend to forget all the pain and challenges associated with childbirth. Still, after your little bundle arrives, all sorts of unforeseen issues may surface. Stretching your body in ways that are hard to believe is bound to leave some evidence behind following the blessed event.

Having birthed a larger-than-average baby girl, I’d prepared for stretch marks as my skin stretched beyond its capacity during the last month of my pregnancy. I remember looking down at my once flat abdomen and feeling shocked by the saggy skin that had taken over my tummy.

I wasn’t prepared for loose belly skin after pregnancy. I have a not-so-fond memory of my husband playfully poking at the excess skin on my tummy, which stung me.

After pushing out a bowling ball of a child and being left with a less-than-perfect post-pregnancy body, I didn’t appreciate his poorly-timed attempt at humor. Embarrassed, I wanted to improve skin elasticity in that area and fast!

Luckily, you can learn how to tighten skin after having a baby, along with ways to prevent this issue in the future. This may save you some grief as you move forward in your journey as a mother.

Why Does Skin Become Loose After Pregnancy?

The good news is that loose skin after childbirth is normal and is not harmful.

Loose skin after pregnancy is due to the weight gained in your abdomen to accommodate your baby. Although skin’s elasticity helps to adjust to your growth, the sheer size of your pregnant belly causes your abdominal muscles and skin to overstretch and lose their tone.

Once you give birth, the excess skin that covers your enlarged abdomen does not instantly shrink and go away. You’re left with saggy, wrinkled skin on your tummy and decreased abdominal muscle tone. Many women also experience fatty lumps on their lower bellies post-pregnancy.

Some women hardly notice this problem, while others are left with an abundance of wrinkled and excess skin after delivery. 

Factors That Influence Loose Skin After Pregnancy

The degree to which you experience loose skin after pregnancy depends on several circumstances, such as:

  • The size of the baby. The bigger the infant, the more loose skin.
  • Having multiples.
  • Your body fat percentage. Obese women tend to have more sagging skin after giving birth.
  • Your muscle tone. Women with good muscle tone and those who continue to exercise during pregnancy have less wrinkled skin after pregnancy.
  • Your age. Younger women typically have more elastic skin.
  • C-section deliveries tend to create a more unsightly tummy. 

C-Section and Loose Skin Post-Delivery

C-section births typically produce more baggy skin than vaginal births due to cutting the underlying muscles. The excess skin and fat hanging over your c-section scar is sometimes called a C-section shelf

Saggy skin, hanging lower belly fat, and C-section scars can be concerning for many new moms coming to grips with their new postpartum bodies.

But don’t get too discouraged, because there are ways to tighten loose skin once you have had a baby, even if you are post-c-section.

A woman with a tattoo grabbing the loose skin on her stomach after giving birth by c-section.

How Long Will It Take for Skin to Tighten After Having a Baby?

Many women start to notice skin regeneration in three to four months post-delivery. It’s important to remember to give yourself grace, be patient, and allow your body to heal. Time is your best friend when it comes to tightening loose skin post-pregnancy.

Many factors determine how long it will take for your body to bounce naturally back into shape. Don’t compare your c-section belly to a friend who birthed a tiny 5-pound child. Your age, weight gained, and having previously birthed children all play a role in the amount of time it takes for your belly to improve its tone. 

Tips on How to Tighten Loose Skin After Having a Baby

It’s unlikely that your provider will be the end-all for answers regarding methods to tighten excess skin unless you want to talk about tummy tuck surgery. Physicians don’t commonly provide tips for natural approaches to skin firming after delivery.

Doing your own research on proven measures to improve your tummy’s skin tone is your wisest bet to eliminate saggy skin effectively.

A Word of Caution About Remedies to Tighten Loose Skin

Beware of snake oils and potions that promise miracle cures for unsightly belly wrinkles and bulges. These can be a money pit for your hard-earned cash. Although there may be some compelling online “wrinkle-away” home remedy videos and blogs, most of these “cocktails” are unproven and may be a waste of time and energy.

Natural Recommendations to Firm Up Loose Skin After Pregnancy 

Simple yet effective measures to tighten loose skin on your tummy will help boost your self-esteem and prepare you for bikini weather.

6 tips to improve your skin’s elasticity and tone are:

  1. Drink lots of water. It’s a well-known fact that water is the fluid of life. Staying adequately hydrated improves skin elasticity, which is necessary to tighten loose skin. The US Department of Veterans Affairs states that adults should drink 8-12 cups of water daily to stay hydrated. Breastfeeding mothers need to consume additional fluids to achieve and maintain optimal skin condition.
  2. Stay moisturized. In addition to keeping your skin lubricated from the inside by drinking enough water, remember to hydrate the outside of your skin. Applying moisturizing creams or coconut oil daily will improve your skin’s ability to heal and tighten.
  3. Exercise daily. Besides helping to firm up and trim your tummy, you will lose weight faster if you incorporate 30 minutes of daily exercise into your routine. Impossible, you say? Consider taking your baby for brisk daily walks—both of you will benefit from the fresh air and exercise. Try to incorporate some specific muscle-toning abdominal exercise once you get the green light from your doctor to exercise.
  4. Consider breastfeeding. Nature has a way of helping you lose weight and reduce loose skin after giving birth. Breastfeeding is our biological method of resetting our bodies post-pregnancy.
  5. Try to avoid sleep deprivation. Is that a joke? Although taking care of a newborn takes its toll on beauty sleep, getting the proper shut-eye allows time for your body to rest and rejuvenate. The cells in your skin are happier when you are not run ragged. Nap when you can!
  6. Feed your skin. Your body craves proper nutrition after having a baby. Talk to your provider about a healthy diet to help achieve your pre-pregnancy weight and skin tone. Some of the protein-rich lactation snacks that your breastfeeding consultant may suggest are another great way to work in the necessary nutrients to nourish your battle-worn skin. The guide below is a simple daily plan for the essential dietary nutrients for new skin growth. 

Daily Nutrition to Firm Your Belly

Did I drink enough water?Drink 8-12 cups of water each day. More if you are breastfeeding.
Did I eat my servings of fruit?Consume at least 2 servings of fruit daily.
How much lean protein did I consume?The recommended amount of lean protein is at least 1-3 servings daily.
Did I eat enough vegetables?It’s recommended that you consume at least 3 servings of vegetables per day. 
Did I include healthy fats today?Consume at least 1 serving of healthy fats such as salmon, avocados and olive oil each day. 
Physiotherapist performing abdominal treatment on a patient who has recently given birth.

Surgical Options for Loose Belly Skin

Having a tummy tuck to remove loose skin after pregnancy is a consideration for some moms once they have tried more natural methods. Since most of us want to reserve a surgical procedure as the last option, give adequate time first to allow nature to tighten and strengthen the area. 

Although having expectations of returning to your pre-baby body may be somewhat unrealistic, having a belly tuck is a quick way to achieve a nearly flat tummy overnight. This cosmetic procedure removes excess skin and fat, with the remaining skin readjusted to achieve a smooth, flat abdomen. 

Some women request a little “nip and tuck” if they have a c-section. Discuss this option with your provider before delivery.

Non-Surgical Treatments to Improve the Loose Skin On Your Belly

Fortunately, for many women, there are now non-surgical options that provide a similar result as a tummy tuck. 

Non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as laser, ultrasound, and radiofrequency treatments are relatively painless, quick and do not require going under the knife. However, this option typically takes several sessions in a physician’s office and can get costly.

Products That Can Help Tighten Loose Skin

Certain supplements and vitamins have been proven to help improve the skin’s elasticity.

In addition to a balanced diet, nutrients found in the following vitamins and supplements may help in your goal to improve skin health and regain your pre-pregnancy body.

  • Collagen supplements (beneficial to promote skin elasticity)
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

Skin firming products and postnatal vitamins that include these ingredients, along with the previous tips mentioned, are doctor-recommended to promote healthy postpartum belly skin.

Can Belly/Skin Wraps Help Improve the Look of My Loose Skin?

Some women have noticed that skin or belly wraps are somewhat effective in smoothing and tightening the extra skin that puckers up on your tummy following a pregnancy.

Just be aware that the benefits from this type of treatment may be temporary.

Can Loose Skin Be Prevented?

You may be able to avoid loose skin after pregnancy if you apply specific measures while you are pregnant.

Ways to prevent loose skin on your belly are similar to methods used to tighten loose skin after pregnancy. By following the 6 tips to improve your skin’s elasticity and tone listed above while pregnant, you may be able to reduce or prevent this problem altogether.

How to Tighten Loose Skin After Having a Baby

The information WonderBaby provides is not intended to be, and does not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. Always consult with a qualified medical professional about your specific circumstances.

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