A cesarean delivery, commonly known as a C-section, is a medical procedure that assists childbirth by making an incision in the mother’s abdomen. There are numerous reasons why a mother would undergo C-section and about 30% of all births are done through this method. Having this alternative procedure does affect the mother’s recovery, and one of the most common effects of having a C-section is something called a C-section overhang.
There are a number of ways women can help reduce the C-section overhang on their own such as exercise, massage, getting enough rest, and eating properly. Cosmetic surgery can also be an option for those who want faster results.
This article will primarily discuss what C-section overhang is and the different ways women can encourage their bodies to lose it.
What is a C-Section Overhang?
C-section overhang is a common postpartum side effect in women who underwent C-sections. It is characterized by the layer of excess skin and fat hanging over the C-section scar. The condition is also known by other names such as the hanging belly, the C-section shelf, the C-section pooch, and even the mommy tummy.
Even when women do not undergo C-section deliveries, an overhanging belly can still be a relatively common postpartum condition. However, it has been observed to be more prevalent in those who have undergone C-sections because the horizontal C-section scar acts like a tight band that forces the excess skin and fat to hang over it.
How to Get Rid of C-Section Overhang?
Since C-section overhang is essentially excess skin and fat, exercise will always be a good suggestion to help reduce C-section overhang. However, it is important to remember that you are not yet at your peak physical condition. Therefore, it is critical that you must get your doctor’s approval before you decide to get back into physical exercise.
A physical trainer may also be a good idea to have around so that there’s a professional that can help guide your workout, minimizing the risks of you overdoing something that your body may not be ready for yet.
An outdated theory that you should avoid is spot reduction. Just because you want to lose fat in the belly region does not necessarily mean that you should focus on exercises that work the muscles around that area. It is especially important to avoid exercises that put pressure on the pelvic floor as this area is still recovering. A workout composed of a diverse mixture of exercises should be considered.
Before, it was believed that most of the calories used up by the body were utilized through three routes: metabolism, thermogenesis, and physical activity. Physical activity through exercise is the most popular among the three as it is the route that people can actively affect because metabolism and thermogenesis are both passive bodily functions – metabolism is the body’s way of sustaining itself, and thermogenesis is the energy consumed by the body as it processes the food eaten.
However, scientists believe that a significant bulk of calories are also utilized in a different route called non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).
NEAT consumes calories and energy through daily activities that can eventually add up. These are simple activities such as walking, doing chores, or anything really that moves the body. Although these activities are not as explosive or high impact as physical exercise, the calories consumed by these mundane tasks can add up and eventually be a significant contribution to weight loss.
NEAT is an excellent option for those who are not yet able to perform physical exercises. For new mothers, even breastfeeding can be a viable option as it is estimated to burn about 450-500 calories per day.
One way to think about getting rid of a C-section overhang is to compare it to losing weight since the goals of the two are basically in line with one another. Thus, another way to help get rid of a C-section overhang is by eating the right food.
Losing weight means obtaining a caloric deficit – this is achieved when more calories are burned than consumed. By eating the right food, you acquire the necessary nutrients that the body needs, thereby maximizing the calories you consume. In contrast, junk food is filled with calories but does not nourish the body, leading the individual to want to eat more, nonetheless.
Eating the right food can also mean getting into a diet that does not promote hunger. When people eat carbohydrate-rich food such as pasta and bread, they get full faster, but they also get hungrier faster compared to people who eat protein-rich food. This is because of the effect that food has on the hormones in the body that signal hunger and fullness.
Rest is among the best ways to help your body heal, especially after giving birth. When an individual sleeps, their body reroutes the prioritization of energy. Hormones released during sleep help calm the body, lower blood pressure, and slow down breathing.
Meanwhile, other hormones encourage the body to promote healing. These hormones signal the body to prioritize tissue growth, repairing blood vessels, restoring damaged muscles, and so on.
More white blood cells are also produced when people sleep. These are cells that target dangerous pathogens in the body, such as harmful bacteria and viruses. Having these pathogens can hinder the healing processes in the body.
Wear a Postpartum Belt
A postpartum belt, also known as a postpartum wrap or girdle, is a type of supportive shapewear designed to be worn around the waist. The pressure provided by the postpartum belt can help relieve the strain on the abdominal muscles and even postpartum back pain after giving birth.
A postpartum belt is an effective way to hide the C-section overhang as it lightly compresses the overhang towards the body. Moreover, the compression and support can also promote healing in the area, thereby expediting the healing process of the C-section overhang.
Getting rid of a C-section overhang on your own is completely possible. However, there are some people that might want faster results. For those people, they can consider getting cosmetic surgery done.
An abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is a cosmetic surgical procedure that helps remove excess skin and fat, unwanted scars, and even stretch marks.
This is a particularly common procedure in people who have lost large amounts of weight in short periods of time as they are typically left with loose excess skin hanging over their belly. However, it is also quite common for women after going through childbirth.