Loose skin after pregnancy: photos, treatments and timeline

Loose skin is a normal experience after pregnancy. During pregnancy, the skin stretches to accommodate a growing bump. As a result, many women find that the skin around their tummy is loose after childbirth.

How quickly the skin returns to normal after childbirth can depend on many factors, including a woman’s weight, age, and genetics.

Although loose skin is not harmful, some women do not like the way it looks. In this article, we take a look at what these people can do to improve the appearance of loose skin after pregnancy.

A healthy lifestyle and diet can help minimize the risk of gaining too much weight too quickly during pregnancy. Avoiding weight gain beyond the recommended amount can help reduce the risk of sagging skin after pregnancy.

According to Women’s Health Office (OWH), women who exercise during pregnancy are more likely to regain moderate weight after childbirth. The OWH notes that exercise is safe during pregnancy, when women should aim to get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week.

Certain exercises that strengthen and tone the abdominal muscles, such as Pilates and yoga, are also safe during pregnancy. A tailor-made course specific to pregnant women is the safest option.

Learn more about exercising during pregnancy here.

Getting a good range of vitamins and minerals during pregnancy will help support the growth of the fetus and maintain energy levels. Eating a healthy diet can help support gradual weight gain during pregnancy while preventing excessive weight gain.

Learn more about what to eat and what to avoid during pregnancy.

However, loose skin is a normal part of the postnatal body, and it is not always possible to prevent it from occurring.

For those who find loose skin after pregnancy bothersome, there are ways to improve their appearance. We take a look at some of these methods below.

Learn more about treating loose skin here.

Exercise

Exercise can help strengthen and tone the abdominal muscles after pregnancy. the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Recommend starting with simple postpartum exercises, gradually working up to at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.

Anyone who has had a Caesarean section or experienced complications during childbirth should ask a doctor when it is safe to start exercising again. If not, it is safe for women to start as soon as they feel ready.

Basic strength training exercises, such as Pilates, yoga, and the barre, can help tighten and tone stomach muscles, which can help improve the appearance of loose skin. Cardio exercises, such as brisk walking, running, cycling, or aerobics can help tone muscles.

Learn more about losing weight after pregnancy here.

Nutrition

A balanced diet rich in vitamins, proteins and fats will help build muscle and stimulate collagen, which is an essential protein for healthy, firm skin.

Learn more about how to follow a healthy diet here.

To drink a lot of water can also improve elasticity and appearance of the skin.

Skin firming oils and creams

There is little evidence to support the claims that firming oils or creams can help reduce loose skin after pregnancy. They can, however, temporarily improve the appearance of the skin by making it more plump.

Studies have found that massaging the skin can help increase blood circulation and stimulate fibroblasts. These cells play a role in the production of collagen and elastin, both of which help firm and firm the skin. Therefore, just rubbing oil or cream on the skin can have a positive effect on its appearance.

Collagen supplements

The body naturally produces collagen, although this process decreases as the body ages. It may be helpful to take a collagen supplement to improve skin elasticity.

Although most studies focus on facial wrinkles, the results of oral collagen supplementation show promise. Collagen supplements appear to increase the elasticity, hydration, and density of dermal collagen, which can improve the appearance of loose skin.

Non-surgical cosmetic procedures

According to American Board of Cosmetic SurgeryNon-surgical treatments, such as radiofrequency therapy or intense pulsed light therapy, can help tighten excess skin on the stomach by heating the dermal layers and stimulating collagen production.

A person on treatment may need several sessions, and results tend to appear gradually over several months after treatment.

Laser skin tightening treatment also works by using heat to stimulate collagen and elastin. People can use it to tighten the skin anywhere on the body. One person may need between three and five treatments to see results, which usually appear gradually between 2 and 6 months after treatment.

Non-surgical procedures are convenient because they tend to be short and there is little to no recovery time. However, they may not be suitable for severe cases of loose skin.

Cosmetic surgical interventions

One method of reducing loose skin is to remove it surgically. This procedure is known as a tummy tuck or tummy tuck. According to American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, the results are permanent as long as the person maintains a stable weight after the surgery.

The different types of tummy tucks include:

  • Standard or full: Removes excess skin and fat just above the pubic hairline to the belly button. This procedure leaves a scar around the navel and a long scar on the lower abdomen.
  • Mini: Removes excess skin and fat below the navel, leaving a slightly shorter horizontal scar above the pubic mound.
  • Expanded: Involves the removal of skin from the upper and lower abdomen and sides of the body. This type leaves an anchor-shaped scar extending around the front and sides of the body and either side of the navel.

Surgeons recommend that women only have surgeries such as a tummy tuck after they have decided not to try again for pregnancy.

Babysitting assistance may be needed after a procedure due to weight lifting restrictions.

Learn more about recovering from a tummy tuck here.

Loose skin may never return to its pre-pregnancy appearance without medical treatment. However, diet and exercise can help reduce the appearance of loose skin after pregnancy over time.

The improvement will depend on:

  • weight and age of a woman before pregnancy
  • how much weight they gained during pregnancy
  • exercise and nutrition during and after pregnancy

It is important to note that the uterus can take about 6 weeks contract to her pre-pregnancy size, and this may take several months for the body to lose the extra weight it gained during pregnancy.

Excess skin around the stomach is normal after pregnancy. There are many factors that can influence the severity of loose skin, including age, weight, diet, lifestyle, and genetic factors.

There is little that women can do to prevent sagging skin after pregnancy, but a healthy, balanced diet and moderate physical activity during and after pregnancy can minimize it.

Manufacturers claim that various home remedies and supplements improve the appearance of loose skin, but there is little evidence to support these products.

Surgical procedures are the most effective treatment for women with moderate to severe loose skin, and the results can be permanent if they maintain a moderate and stable weight afterward.

Patricia J. Callender