Looking for safe and effective ways to get rid of your mommy pooch?
You are in the right place.
After reading this post, you are going to learn:
- what a mommy pooch is and what causes it,
- strategies to help you get rid of it,
- how to design a safe mommy pooch workout, and
- things you should avoid to prevent your mommy belly from getting worse.
Let’s get started.
Although I am a doctor, I am not your doctor. This information is for informational purposes only and should not substitute the advice from your healthcare professional. All kinds of exercise and dietary changes are potentially dangerous, and those who do not seek counsel from the appropriate health care authority assume the liability of any injury which may occur. Please read my full Disclaimer for more information. Also, this post may contain affiliate links: meaning I may receive a commission if you use them.
What Is A Mommy Pooch?
Mommy pooch is a term used to describe a bulge that appears in the middle of your belly after you deliver your baby.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to predict if you will develop the bulge or not, and how bad it will be.
It largely depends on your anatomy, which is something you won’t know until after the fact.
What causes The mommy pooch belly?
The mommy belly is caused by stretching and weakening of the rectus abdominis muscles – (aka the six-pack muscles), and the connective tissue holding them together.
This connective tissue is known as the linea alba. As this tissue weakens, your abdominal muscles will separate along the midline.
Depending on your anatomy, and degree of abdominal separation, your internal organs can protrude and bulge out, creating the mommy pooch belly.
What Is The Difference Between Diastasis recti And Mommy Belly?
Diastasis recti is simply the condition that develops when your abdominal muscles separate along the midline.
So, diastasis recti is present in ALL women who have a mommy pooch.
But with that said…
Not every woman with diastasis recti will have a bulge. It all depends on your anatomy and the degree of abdominal separation.
How Common is Diastasis Recti & How Do I Know If I Have It?
Diastasis recti is fairly common. Studies have shown that it can occur in approximately 30-60% of women after giving birth.
Not only does it cause cosmetic issues. It can also cause:
To learn more about diastasis recti check out: How to Tell if You Have Diastasis Recti.
Does mom pooch go away?
The mommy pooch will not go away on its own.
Unfortunately getting rid of the abdominal bulge is a long term project.
You will need to:
- lower your body fat percentage through a combination of diet and exercise, and
- you will need to perform exercises to help rebuild and restore the strength in your core.
As far as diets go, you should eat foods that are nutrient-dense, highly satiating, and low in calories.
It’s important that you also avoid foods that cause bloating (which is different from person to person).
I go over several ways you can do this in An Easy Postpartum Diet For Busy Moms.
As far as exercises go, you should perform are ones that will help strengthen the deep transverse abdominis muscles (aka the corset muscle).
I’ll go over more details soon.
Can I get a mommy pooch after A c-section?
Yes, you can get a mommy pooch after a c-section.
The stretching and weakening of your abdominal wall are independent of the type of delivery you had.
Your abdominal muscles and connective tissue have to stretch to support your growing baby and uterus regardless.
As your uterus gets bigger, your abdominal muscles and fascia will weaken.
So, having a c-section does not prevent the diastasis or mommy pooch from developing.
Is it possible to get rid of the c-section pooch?
Yes, it is possible to get rid of the c-section pooch with a proper plan that lowers your body fat percentage and restores the strength in your core.
But first, I want to make sure you understand the difference between a mommy pooch and a mommy tummy overhang.
A mommy tummy overhang can also happen after a c- section – and it refers to excess fat that drapes over your waistline, over your scar.
This is what it can look like.
With that said, it’s important to note that sometimes you can have both!
The good news is:
Regardless of whether you have a mommy pooch or a tummy overhang after a c-section, the strategies to get rid of them are similar.
You must lower your body fat percentage through a combination of eating fewer calories, eating healthier foods, and engaging in regular physical activity.
You should also use this time to strengthen any potential diastasis recti by using dedicated exercises to strengthen your core muscles.
Now let’s go over ways you can get rid of the mommy pooch.
Strategies On How To get rid of lower belly pooch
Alright, now it’s time for strategies on how to get rid of the lower belly pooch known as the mommy tummy.
The first thing you need to understand is this:
You cannot spot-reduce fat.
This means that you cannot get rid of fat in a specific area of your body. This is especially true in your abdominal/belly area.
You might think that if you do enough ab work or wear a waist trainer – you will get a flat stomach.
This is NOT true.
The worst part is, if you do the wrong type of abdominal exercises (check out exercises to avoid postpartum) – you can worsen the condition.
That is why I created the…
Mommy pooch workout
The mommy pooch workout is designed as a free 7-day exercise program to kick start the restoration of your core muscles.
This exercise plan includes movements that are safe for you to perform in the postpartum period once you have received clearance from your doctor.
The workout includes three days of safe exercises you can do to strengthen your abdominal muscles, as well as three days of exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
It all starts with learning how to strengthen the deep transverse abdominis muscles.
This muscle wraps around your entire midsection to create a corset around your torso.
The easiest way to activate this muscle is by learning how to do posterior pelvic tilts.
Here’s what it looks like:
Posterior Pelvic Tilts
- Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- In this position, there should be a natural curve (arch) in your lower back that creates a small gap.
- From here, posteriorly rotate your pelvis while pressing your belly button down towards the floor.
- Your lower back should completely flatten against the floor.
- Hold this contraction for 3 seconds and release.
- Repeat for 10 repetitions.
The great thing about this exercise is that you can’t do it wrong. You physically cannot achieve this position without automatically activates your core!
This is one of the key exercises you should focus on during this time.
The mommy pooch workouts will show you a few other abdominal exercises you can do to help you get started today.
Enter Your Email Below To Get The Workout Free!
The second thing you need to do is improve your diet.
I won’t go into many details here as I have an entire post on how to eat healthy postpartum.
You can check it out here: A Simple & Effective Postpartum Diet For Busy Moms
Or, if you are looking for a comprehensive plan that outlines what you should eat, check out my premium product, The Postpartum Trainer’s Nutrition Guide.
How long does it take to get rid of mommy pooch?
The time needed to get rid of the mommy pooch depends on:
- your ability to lower your body fat percentage,
- how quickly your body begins to respond to the core exercises mentioned above, and most importantly,
- your consistency.
If you are consistent with these strategies, you may start to see improvements in as little as 6 weeks.
Depending on how wide the separation of the abdominal muscles is, this process could take longer.
In some cases, diet and exercise may never completely eliminate the pooch altogether.
As with anything in life, the best thing you can do is stay consistent.
You got this!
A Few Other Helpful tips For Reducing Mommy Belly / Bloating
Other ways you could try to get rid of your mommy pooch include:
Eating small meals
Data shows that it doesn’t really matter if you eat several small meals per day or 3 larger meals per day when it comes to weight loss.
However, eating small meals throughout the day will prevent you from consuming a large amount of food in one sitting.
Large meals can cause you to feel bloated, and make your bulge more obvious.
If you don’t already, try eating 4-5 small meals throughout the day.
You could also try adding a few of these amazing and healthy postpartum snacks.
Chew your food thoroughly
Have you ever noticed when you eat really fast your abdomen begins to swell?
That is because you swallow a lot of air when you eat quickly.
This air can bloat your intestines, which can further enhance the mommy pooch.
When you sit down to eat, try to
- put away the phone,
- turn off the tv,
- take your time,
- and really pay attention to the food you are consuming.
Experience all the flavors, chew everything in its entirety and really enjoy your food.
Another thing you can try is adding yogurt to your regimen.
Yogurt is full of probiotics- which are basically good bacteria.
Believe it or not, the bacteria in your gut are important for helping you maintain a healthy digestive system. Unfortunately, your diet can sometimes alter your gut microbiome, leading to an overgrowth of “bad bacteria.”
These bad bacteria grow can wreak havoc on your digestive system causing all sorts of problems like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, etc.
Yogurt is a simple way to help restore a healthy gut microbiome. Yogurt is also full of important nutrients like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and B vitamins as well as protein.
In addition, it will help you stay fuller longer and curb your appetite.
Make sure you buy the unsweetened flavor (that is not full of sugar), which can further aggravate your bloating accentuating your mommy tummy.
You could even add some fruit, chia seeds, and granola for an even more satiating snack.
Other Related Questions
What is mommy pooch surgery?
The mommy pooch surgery, also known as a tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is a procedure that can tighten the weakened tissues in your abdomen.
It is performed by a plastic surgeon and generally takes about 2-4 hours.
The surgeon will make an incision across your lower abdomen (usually from hip to hip and tighten the layer of tissue known as the fascia).
This will give you a more “toned”, slimmer appearing abdomen. A tummy tuck is an option for you if diet and exercise have not yielded the results you were hoping for.
With that said, all surgeries come with risks. Be sure to speak with your providers thoroughly to see if surgical repair is a good option for you.
Do I need to do anything about my mommy tummy?
Ideally, every postpartum woman should strengthen their core muscles after delivering a baby.
These muscles are important for spinal health, reducing low back pain, and improving your posture.
Regular training of the pelvic floor can also decrease your risk of pelvic floor dysfunction (such as pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence).
The good news is, you can start with really simple exercises and work your way up!
The mommy pooch and diastasis recti are common conditions that you shouldn’t be ashamed of.
By using the lifestyle strategies above, you might see dramatic improvements in your midsection.
Now I want to hear from you.
What have you tried to get rid of your mommy pooch?
Comment below and let me know!
Related Posts on The Mommy Pooch
- Mommy Tummy Overhang and How to Get Rid of It
- FUPA: What Is It and How to Lose It
- How To Get Rid of Baby Weight: Step by Step
- Loose Skin After Pregnancy and What You Need to Know
Get Four Free Workouts To Help Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor & Heal Your Mommy Tummy!
Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT
Brittany Robles is a full-time OBGYN physician, a NASM certified trainer, and a prenatal and postnatal fitness specialist. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in maternal health with a special interest in exercise and nutrition. She is also the co-author of The White Coat Trainer. Learn more about her here.
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13 thoughts on “The Mommy Pooch: What Is It & How To Get Rid Of It”
I have had 3 vertical cesareans in my late twenties now 65 I am at my ideal weight but cannot lose the pooch? Will I ever have an muscles?
Thank you so much for your comment.
Losing the mommy pooch can be quite difficult as it largely depends on genetics.
Although you are at your ideal body weight, you could still have a high body fat percentage. Do your best to continue improving your nutrition as much as possible as well as engaging in a core focused exercise regimen. There is a chance it may never go away.
Hope this helps!
Hi ! This makes so much sense. I really want to know more & excited to start I’m a mommy of 3 & I’ve had 2 natural births one cesarean. I’m 26 weighing 145 im 5’6, I’m not big but I have a mommy pouch & feel bloated all the time & I feel out of shape.
Thank you so much for your comment.
Be sure to download the free PDF to get started!
Good luck 🙂
Hi Dr Brittany! Your article and explanations were very helpfull! I have two C-section deliveries and my second one was at 40 years old. First experience was at 36 and I had lost wait more than I had when started the pregnacy. But now, at 42 years old I’m fighting to lose 10 more kgs to reach my normal weight and I don’t know what else to do. I tried eating healthy, got rid of fatty meals, extra sugar, reduces sweets, no snacks, lots of water, no soda drinks qnd so on but it doesn’t seem to work. Unfortunatelly I didn’t find time to exercise but I walk daily when taking out the kids to the park, I am active and energetic. Your article made me look at a different perspective knowing now more details about diastatis recti and those special exercoses! Tjank you for sharing! I will try more, this time!
Thank you so much for your comment!
It seems you are doing all the right things when it comes to healthy eating. Definitely try to add in some form of exercise to compliment your current lifestyle!
I had a emergency c section been 2yrs first baby can I loose the over hang belly ?????
Thanks so much for the comment and yes you can lose the overhang even if you have had a c-section!
It’s been 3 years since my last c-section and I know that genetics are not on my side. I have been able to add more excercise lately, and I am running a couple of miles per week (3 times). However, I overeat and consume too much processed food (sweets), it is my weakness. I know what to do but I clearly don’t follow through. I feel like my best option is to look into the belly tuck, which is also time consuming and costly but I feel it will take 5-10 years before I see results and that does not motivate me.
I’ve had my only daughter at 27 a natural birth, I was size 10-12 before pregnancy now I’m a 16 on bottom and a 18-20 on top and I don’t particularly big boobs, it’s all my belly, it’s constantly bloated there’s no saggy skin I literally look exactly how I did after giving birth, I was referred by my GP for a scan and it came back clear but the lady doing the scan said I’m very gassy and she could see the gas, I’m not sure how to proceed. I admit I have a good diet not any processed food for main meal they are all homemade but I do eat alot of Brean and cakes biscuits things like that and I drink alot of tea. I’ve downloaded your pdf so will try the exercises on top of my daily walks with my daughter but is there any other advice you can give me on where to start cause I’m feeling very disheartened especially with not only putting on some extra weight, which I could of dealt with that but this swollen stomach is awful, It gets so hard sometimes it’s quite uncomfortable. Any help much appreciated 🙂 thankyou
Thank you so much for your comment and congratulations on your daughter!
I am glad to hear your scan came back clear.
Regarding your abdominal weight gain I would stay away from processed foods as well as cakes and biscuits as these are usually full of empty calories and don’t really provide much nutrition.
Try using an app to track your calories and macros to see if you are consuming an adequate amount and make changes as needed.
In addition, make sure you are drinking enough water as teas can sometimes make you dehydrated especially if they are caffeinated.
Lastly, try engaging in exercise which can aid weight loss, decrease body fat, and strengthening your abdominal muscles.
Hope this helps!
It’s been 3 years since my natural birth, and I’ve always been curious as to when I can go back to doing normal Abdominal exercises. Even trying to do regular crunches I get a horrible charli horse on my abdominal muscle.
Thank you so much for the comment.
Make sure to always stay hydrated before and after exercise and ensure you are cleared to work out by your doctor.
If you google “100 Diastasis Recti Exercises” you will find one of my posts that have a ton of abdominal training exercise alternatives to traditional crunches.
If any exercise causes you pain you should avoid it!
Hope this helps!
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