C-Section Solutions: How to Eliminate the Pooch and Reduce the “Tummy Shelf”

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print

img_3650-crop-opt

Just in the last 2 weeks alone, I have randomly met THREE different moms who have asked me the same question. Then while reading my social media comments, I realize even MORE of you out there are hoping for my answer to (again) the same question. This is a sign, if you ask me. A sign that many mamas have a common problem and can’t seem to find help ANYWHERE! It’s a sign that you need me to blog about this. 😉 Now usually I includ dads, aunts, nannies, or any mom-like figure in my posts. But this is one Q&A that can only apply to a mother who has housed a watermelon-sized human (or two) in her tummy for 9 months!

If you’ve had a C-section or a hysterectomy, and you are struggling with the surgical battle wounds, this post is for YOU! Now don’t stop reading if this isn’t you…these tips and tricks can apply to any postpartum belly.

The common question goes something like this: “I had a C-section X# of years ago, and I have this shelf of skin now to accompany my pooch that I just CANNOT get rid of!!! How on earth can I get rid of my tummy shelf and postpartum pooch?“ Oh mama…that extra skin that gathers at the bikini incision line after a belly surgery can be so frustrating, as can be the seemingly permanent bulge! I get it…you are doing all you can to get rid of it, but sometimes it just doesn’t seem to want go away. And not to mention, it’s in one of the worst possible spots for that picture perfect profile you’re wanting to show off after popping that baby out. Well, ladies…it’s time to ditch the Spanx and “shelf” that tummy shelf problem once and for all!

Before we get started with my tried and true exercises, I need to make 2 things clear:

  1. Abs are made in the kitchen, as I always say. While people love to think that unlimited crunches or weighted sit ups can help reduce the layer around the belly shelf (and obtain those washboard abs we’ve always dreamed of), the cold hard truth is that ab exercises have NOTHING to do with minimizing that layer of fat over your abs to reveal the “bricks” underneath. It is a complete myth that you can spot reduce by working an area really hard. Fat is lost globally, which means all over your body at the same time. You may notice fat loss quicker in certain areas, but that has nothing to do with the exercises done to tone or work the muscle. So how is fat lost? With proper nutrition, first and foremost, and through increasing your calorie deficit with exercise.
  2. Just because your extra belly skin has not tightened yet does NOT mean that it won’t. While this isn’t always the case, I want new moms to be patient with your bodies! Any extra/loose skin over your abs will likely tighten (even if just a little) over time depending on your skin’s elasticity. But if you do have some loose skin that will not go back after lots of hard work and body fat burning, the fact is that we may have to learn to live with it—and appreciate that it is one of our worthy battle wounds we gained while creating our little miracle on earth or from surviving that surgery.

So while you cannot reduce the layer or get rid of the shelf with exercise (we just established that this is done with nutrition), resistance training plays a vital role in sculpting the muscles underneath the layer of body fat and skin. By training the abdominal muscles properly, you’ll add some shape to those muscles and create proper core strength to help you COMPLETELY eliminate the pooch. Bonus: Once that layer IS gone (by eating right), you will have some beautiful flat abs waiting for you.

Even better-we are going to create a solid core from the inside out to help minimize the all-too-common condition for postpartum moms known as Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation).

Need to close the gap?

Get 100% FREE ACCESS to this at-home Diastasis Recti self-check some of my favorite tummy-taming ab exercises.

Here are my top 5 favorite moves to flatten the abs, strengthen the core, reduce the pooch, and start feeling great again.

**NOTE: Please check with your doctor before doing ANY of these moves postpartum/post surgery, as every woman’s body heals at a different pace.

Vacuums: These are my EVERYDAY go-to ab move!! Sometimes I will do these twice a day. Plain and simple: Either sitting, standing, or lying on your back, inhale to fully inflate your lungs, then exhale. As soon as all the air is deflated from your lungs, hold your breath as you “draw in” from the inside of your lower abs, bringing your belly button in and up toward your spine. Hold for as long as you can, even if it’s only 10 seconds to start. When you can’t hold your breath any longer, slowly inhale as your abs remain drawn in. Work your way up to 5-10 sets of 30 seconds each day.

Looks like this: Inhale, filling your lungs…

vsco-photo-4-1opt

Completely exhale…

vsco-photo-2opt

“Draw in” from you lower abdomen, and hold.

vsco-photo-3-1opt

Side view of the move during the hold part…

vsco-photo-1-4opt

Vacuums work the inner core muscles that are too often neglected and will help improve posture, tighten your waistline, and stabilize your back (and we are all in need of that after 9 months of carrying a baby!!).

Dowel Rotations: These are another move that will focus on those overlooked internal core muscles and will also throw in some oblique stimulation to help bring in your waistline. How to: With a dowel or a broomstick across your back, perform a vacuum. On the exhale/draw in part, continue holding your breath and squeezing in from your lower abdomen as you slowly twist from side-to-side. Perform as many reps as you can on each side until you need to breathe. Rest. Repeat 5-10 times each day you do these.

Looks like this: Inhale, inflating your lungs completely…

vsco-photo-3opt

Exhale all of the air out of your lungs…

vsco-photo-1-1opt

Draw in from the lower abdomen, and hold…

vsco-photo-4opt

Slowly squeeze the abs and twist to one side…

vsco-photo-2-1opt

Then to the other.

vsco-photo-1opt

Planks: Planks are one of the best stabilizing moves for your core and literally target every single one of the abdominal muscles. Assume the plank position from your toes with elbows on the ground (can perform from knees if toes are too difficult). With your body in a straight/rigid line and core tight, drawing your belly button in and up toward your spine, hold the position for as long as you can. Work up to 5 sets of 30 seconds each time you perform.

vsco-photo-3-2opt

Heel Slides: These are another core-strengthening/diastasis recti-minimizing move for us postpartum moms that focus on those internal core muscles. This one targets the lower abs more than the others…which is right where that bikini incision is. Lying on your back with knees bent at 90 degrees, perform a vacuum (inhale, exhale, draw in). On the exhale and draw in, slowly slide one heel out to full extension, then back up to starting position. Inhale, exhale, and repeat. Start with 3 sets of 10 on each leg, working up to 5 sets of 15 on each leg over time.

Looks like this: Perform a vacuum…

vsco-photo-3-3opt

While drawing in, squeezing the abs, and holding your breath, slowly slide one heel down to an extended leg position…

vsco-photo-4-2opt

vsco-photo-1-3opt

Then back up to start and repeat with the other leg.

vsco-photo-2-3opt

Inhale and repeat.

Weighted Crunches (with caution): This is for those who want more!!! I ONLY recommend this once you KNOW you do not have diastasis recti AND once your doctor has cleared you for exercise that is a little more intense. This is the one move of the 5 that focuses mostly on the outer ab muscles (rectus abdominus)—the ones you see once the layer is gone. Lying on a bench with your shoulders hanging over the edge and the appropriate weight behind your neck (or no weight for starters), exhale as you crunch up as high as you can go, then inhale on your way down. Repeat for 3-5 sets of 10.

vsco-photo-2-2opt

vsco-photo-1-2opt

Recommendation: While I recommend doing exercise #1 every single day, the others can be mixed and matched. I like to combine exercise #1 (vacuums) with one of the other moves, alternating each day. So in short, 7 days a week I do SOMETHING—even if I just vacuum.

Keep in mind that every exercise is done with a “draw in.” Drawing in is NOT sucking in—it’s drawing in from the lower abdomen. Each time an ab exercise is performed, it should be done with this in mind, otherwise we risk actually CREATING a lower abdomen “pooch.” By targeting these muscles with every exercise, we are preventing this from happening.

One final note…it’s all about taking one baby step after another. While these may not seem like much, consistency will get you the results you want and the tummy you deserve! Try these out and feel free to comment below with related questions. I will answer as many as I can!

And guys…I’m so beyond excited to share My Abs After Baby-Closing the Gap program, 100% FREE! Check it out here.

Xoxo,

Heidi

Related reading:

Diastasis Recti: Closing the Gap
Carb Cycling 101
Emotional Eating: How to Take Control Once and for All

181 Responses

  1. Some of these comments are actually a bit strange! To me it?s obvious why Heidi doesn?t want to share the name of the cream! I respect that. Furthermore, depending on the cream it may not work for everyone. Then those people will be blame her for trying to push something that doesn?t work!

    Anyway! I am a former collegiate and professional (WNBA & overseas) women?s basketball player. I am 6ft and 145lbs with a BMI of a little over 19 lbs. I have 3 girls ages 5, 11 and 15 and each were csections. Yep I?m 42 with the dreaded csection pooch after being in tip top shape for most of my life.

    The interesting things is I understand the exercises that I need to do and the nutritional requirements to strengthen my core but I guess I needed the motivation to get started! Also a reminder of what I need to do since I?ve been done with sports for 20 years.

    My question though and comments may have been made on it. Sorry I didn?t read all the answers to possible questions. Can I get my flat stomach back after 3 csections without having a tummy tuck? I recently went to see a surgeon and she said that I don?t have any fat that would need to be liposuctioned out, but the skin will never tighten to lose my pooch! Is this true?

    Thanks

    1. Hi ShaRae: Yes, it is still possible to strengthen your core after 3 c-sections, and we always recommend talking with your healthcare provider about any possible diastasis recti issues before beginning any core exercises. As for how your skin will respond, that can be a very individual thing. We wish you all the best!

  2. Hello! I have had 4 csections. I had 3 horizontal incisions with the 3rd being classical on my uterus. And my 4th being vertical. Will these still work for me? I have lost weight but can?t seem to lose the fupa. Any advice?

    1. Hi Catherine! I’d definitely talk with your healthcare provider before trying any core exercises since you’ve had 4 csections. 4 csections? You are amazing, BTW!

  3. hi, a lot of commenters asking what body firming cream she uses, and no answer posted back here. Is this something that you can respond to? Seems like we all want to know! thanks.

    1. Hi BK: Hi spoke to Heidi, and the cream she uses is part of a multi-level marketing company, and so for that reason, she’s not comfortable sharing the name. I do hope you understand. We wish you all the best! 🙂

  4. Hello I was just reading your article and I would love to give it a try. But I fear that because of how long ago I had kids and I really haven’t tried to start losing my belly fat that it will not work. I have two kids my first was pushed out but my second was a c section. I also had belly fat from my first pregnancy. My first is 21 years old and my second is 18. Do you think your exercises will work for me?

    1. Hi Sherita: These exercises can work for anyone who would like to strengthen their core muscles! 🙂

    2. Hi how long would you say to do these exercises before you can resume to normal workouts ? Xx I?d say I just have over a finger separation and I had a c section 9 weeks ago.

    3. Hi Amanda: I’d definitely talk with your healthcare provider before resuming any core exercises after having a c-section and about when it’s best to resume normal workouts. And congratulations!!!

  5. Thanks for this article- I hope it will
    relate to me as well, I had cancer surgery which required a large incision in the same style as a C section and now have a puffed pocket of skin sitting on the top half of the incision and I?m REALLY hoping it will flatten down as time goes on as I continue to eat well and eventually will be allowed to exercise. Wish me luck!

  6. Thank you for these exercises. I love doing planks but have Diastasis Recti and have read that planks can make it worse, can you confirm? Heidi mentions only not to do crunches.

    1. Hi Yasmine: Since planks do involve the core muscles, I’d discuss any core-related exercises with your healthcare team first and then follow their recommendations, especially since you know you have diastasis recti. We wish you all the best! 🙂

  7. Regardless oh how good someone is at their job. If you have not had a c section and never experience a c section shelf. Why would you even want their advice in the first place. Having kids is one thing via c section & vjj is so different. You guys stop believing and trying to he like everyone else. She mentions the cream and hasn’t even tried to share the product with anyone. Which is so shady like waiving a meal at a homeless. So crappy tbh. As good as she is at her job and as famous as she is and regardless the reason some one that wants to help the people will.

    1. Hi Caddy: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Women who have not had a c-section can also experience the “shelf.” Women with hysterectomies can also develop a shelf, for example, as well as other women. In fact, these exercises can help any woman (even men) develop stronger abdominal muscles, which are so important. As for the cream Heidi mentions, she doesn’t feel comfortable sharing the name since she purchased it through a MLM through a friend. I do hope you understand. She just wanted readers to be aware that there are some creams on the market that can help. We wish you all the best! 🙂

    2. I think its a little weird she wont share the name of the cream. Saying shes not comfortable sharing it does not make any sense. If she swears by the company wouldn’t she want to put it out there? Im sure the company would love to have there product put out there

  8. Does everyone gets the extra skin hang over the incision site? I had one c section, iam 10 weeks post partum but I haven’t notice the this.

  9. Just had triplet girls last week! I?m giving my body PLENTY of time and grace and praise for the awesome job it did housing those gals for 31 weeks! I was looking into products to use to strengthen my skin on my stomach since I can?t start exercise yet, you mentioned you had a product you swore by? Could I get a recommendation? Thank you!!

    1. Hi Meghan! Congratulations on your new triplets! That’s so exciting! Unfortunately, I don’t have information for the skin product Heidi uses, and I apologize for this! We wish you and your new babies ALL the best! ?

    2. Hi Megan, I recommend you use pure natural Shea butter, doesn?t have a nice smell but it works. You can use a small amount twice daily, mixed with bio oil if you like. Shea butter isn?t suitable if you?re allergic to nuts

  10. Hi Heidi,

    It is great to come across this blog of yours. I had a c-section and my baby girl is 2 years and 8 months. I have lost tremendous amount of weight through diet however I still have a big flabby belly just above my incision and it is kind of frustrating. Is there any good exercise that can help me reduce that quick? Any tips from you would be appreciated ??

    1. Hi Rachita: Congratulations on losing your weight! That’s so exciting! Unfortunately, you really can’t spot reduce. Any unwanted fat will leave our bodies in its own unique way based on several factors unique to each one of us. Keep following a sound nutrition program, working out regularly (both cardio and strength training), and you should see some progress in that area. It can be so frustrating, but it can be done! You might also incorporate the exercises in this blog post into your workout routine to strengthen your core. You got this! 🙂

  11. Thank you for this, Heidi! I didn?t know about the c-section shelf thing until the other day and found your article when looking for more information online. Oh how I hate it. lol. I?m curious what your thoughts are on something though… I?ve had three c-sections: one 12 years ago, one 6 years ago, and my last 3 years ago. I am going to start doing the exercises you?ve described here and eating good trying to reduce this pooch as much as is possible for me to do myself. I have been working on it some and it is a little better than it was. At what point though would you guess it would be reasonable to come to the conclusion that the pooch has gotten as good as it?s going to get without surgical intervention?

    1. Hi Tina: Great question. Unfortunately, there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer as it depends on several factors. Eating well and exercising will go far to help reduce that pooch, and they will help you feel better overall too, which is also really important. This might also be something to discuss with your healthcare team and get their opinion on when/if surgical intervention might be necessary. We wish you all the best! 🙂

    2. Does everyone gets the extra skin over the incision site? I had one c section but I’ve not notice it. Iam 10 week post partum

  12. Oh! Also I am 66 and I still have the pooch and over hang from my 3 cesareans. Even after losing my belly at different intervals of my life! My belly would be flatter but the overhand was there! I realize that your program Abs After Baby is for new moms. My last child was born 28 years ago. But would the program still work for me? Thank you!

    1. Thank you for this post. Looking for some advice I had a c section 3 years and 10 months back and got a massive overhang, I have a over active thyroid problem but I want to get rid of the tummy as it is making my life miserable but the thing is I struggle with keeping the diet side healthy.

      Is there anything I can do more to get rid of the tummy as its making my life miserable

    2. Hi Victoria! In addition to these exercises, here are some FREE resources you can use to continue on your transformation journey: https://transformhq.com/freebies/ And if you?d like to try out The Transform App for FREE for 14 days, go here: https://transformhq.com/chris-powell-14-day-free-trial/ The app is full of nutrition (including several meals plans and 560+ recipes) as well as several workout programs from at-home to dance to gym-based and more!

      One thing since you mentioned you have a thyroid issue, we recommend you discuss any new nutrition and exercise program with your healthcare team first and then follow any modifications they might recommend.

      We wish you all the best!

    3. Hi Heidi,
      I?ve been reading about your program.
      I had my first c-section 22 years ago then my second and last 13 years ago. I?m a small build person. But this belly thing is like a sack of mash potatoes. I?d give anything to be rid of it. I went for a consult with a plastic surgeon. Who told me my muscles are dead and there?s no possible way to get rid of this pooch without surgery . Sooooo do you think your program can prove him wrong.

    4. Hi Tara: It wouldn’t hurt to give these exercises a try, right? As long as your doctor thinks they’re okay to do too. We always defer to your doctor’s recommendations.

  13. If food is an issue for losing belly fat.. do you have any suggestions ? I know eating healthy is the way to go and I?m in Weight Watchers right now. But are there certain foods that help or hinder? I don?t eat sugar, if anything I eat monkfruit. I don?t eat fatty foods. No butter, no red meat really. I do eat Veggies, fruit, and some carbs like oatmeal or sweet potatoes. What else can I do? Also I?m confused about the breathing technique? You breathe all your air out then hold? If you can?t, can you breathe and still hold in? Thanks!

    1. Hi Julie: Yes, you’ll hold your breath to do the twists after breathing out. And you really can’t spot reduce, any unwanted fat will leave our bodies in its own unique way. The most important thing is to follow a mostly nutritious diet (lean proteins, healthy fats, healthy carbs (fruits, whole grains, vegetables, legumes, etc.). We like the 80/20 rule: 80% nutritious foods, 20% of more of the “treat” foods you like and crave if you want them. Hope this helps! 🙂

  14. I am so glad I found this. I had baby #7, 11 months ago, my 4th c-sec. I appreciate all this great info right here in one place. Get right in the kitchen, get the abs working in a few precise moves! Thanks. I know with time everything will start getting back the way I want to see it in the mirror!

  15. Hi
    I?m 60 yr old, had 2 c-sections 2 years apart then had a full hysterectomy due to cancer 18 months later. I still have a flap!!!! I?m generally a healthy eater, walk about 3-4 miles a day with my job.
    Will these help me ?

  16. Hi
    My name is Chloe
    I?m 21 years old and I have a 1,5year old daughter.
    When I found out I was pregnant I weighed 75kg of muscle (I did workout a lot) by the time I delivered my daughter I weighed 87kg. After birth I have dramatically lost my weight down to 64kg and am working to get to 75kg again. But I?m battling to lose my ?muffin top? and loose skin. I don?t have Dias recti and even currently I do weighted workouts 3times a week and eat a healthy diet.
    I?ve been trying these workouts you?ve suggested but cannot see any major difference. Is there any other suggestions you could give ?

    1. Hi Chloe: This can be so frustrating! Here’s a blog post that can help: https://heidipowell.net/15538 And unfortunately, we really can’t spot reduce. Any extra fast will leave our bodies in its own unique way. So be sure you’re following a sound nutrition program, working out regularly, be patient with yourself and the process, and you’ll get there!

  17. Thank you so much for this, my baby boy is 7months and i finally gain enough courage to begin working again. My postpartum body made me very depressed and now I?m am ready get my pre postpartum body back

    1. Hi, thank you for these exercises.

      I just had a laparotomy to remove a huge cyst and the scar is a long horizontal one very much like a c-section scar, sans the baby of course.

      How long would it normally take for the abs to be fully flat again?

      I am actually an athlete and trainer myself but never had to deal with this before. Before the surgery i had abs, not as chiseled as yours, but they still existed at least. Now im struggling to get rid of the pudgy pooch thing that I’ve never had before in my life. The rest of me is relatively lean and toned so this is very frustrating.

    2. Hi! I hope you’re recovering well, and this can be so frustrating! And the answer to your question can be different for each person since our bodies are so unique. I’d give your body time to heal (some people can take up to a year to feel back to “normal”), eat healthy foods, work out as you can, get enough sleep…you know, all the things that lead to being and feeling healthy, and you’ll get there!

  18. Just saying. If I ask my health care provider what kind of workout should I do they look at me like a deer in headlights. They don?t get why I need to loose my abs so soon. So all we can do is eat clean most of the time, lift weights, aerobics. And be patient.

  19. Thank you for these exercises! This is my last attempt at hopefully getting rid of the this C-section pouch. I do have a question. Are we really supposed to inhale at the end of each move it exhale?

    1. Hi Liz: Yes, once you can’t hold your breath any longer, you’ll inhale at the end of each rep to prepare for the next one. Hope that helps!

    2. Im am 47 and over the past year I have gained 60 pounds. I had a C section at 25 . I now have my skin hanging over the scar. With it being this long after my kids will I see a result. Please any help would be appreciated.I feel hopeless I have had 3 back surgeries an on disability. I dont know what to do an I feel bad all the time. I just want me back. I feel like I dont know this person. So please any thing will help .

      Thank you,
      Angela

    3. Hi Angela: I’d recommend you discuss any exercise program with your healthcare team due to your back issues and then follow their recommendations. You could even show them these exercises and see what they think. We wish you all the best! 🙂

  20. Hi.
    I had 3 c sections. My last baby is now 8 months old. I still have this pooch hanging over the bikini line.
    I am 5’2 . My weight ranges from 102 to 105 pounds depending when i weight myself.
    I run 1 hour everyday 4 miles. I do some crunches here and there but moslty i run alot. It seem i enjoy running.
    I cant wear tight cloth because of this belly fat pooch hanging.
    How long should i give for it to go away? 1 year ? 2 years ? It is a silly question ! Do u think ur recommendation helps w my belly,?

    1. Hi Mehrangiz: I know this post-baby belly pooch can be so frustrating! I’d definitely talk to your healthcare team about any exercises they might recommend for you or if they have any other suggestions. And how long a belly pooch can remain can be different for each woman based on several factors. And that can be so frustrating too!

    2. I had a c section 3 years ago and I started to an work outs in bed and I would walk here and there and I?m eating a little healthier than before. I still have a pouch and some loose skin (not my main concern) and I want to those more than to at least minimize the pouch a little more. Would this be more beneficial than the abs work outs I do?

    3. Hi Shaniqua: These can be amazing workouts, and we always recommend you talk about any core workouts to help with DR with your healthcare team first and then follow their recommendations. What is best for one woman can be different for another. 🙂

    4. So you are saying that exercise can get rid of a pooch I question is I have had a tummy tuck and had to have a c section cut after and it looks bad to me will it go flat again they did it on my scar from my tummy tuck

    5. Hi Breanne: Great questions! First of all, I’d make sure and talk to your healthcare team about your pooch to see if it’s from Diastasis Recti or what. Then get their okay to do any core exercises and if any wouldn’t work for you. And make sure you’re following a sound nutrition program and working out regularly too. We like carb cycling. ? https://heidipowell.net/3713.

    6. Does everyone gets the extra skin hang over the incision site? I had one c section, iam 10 weeks post partum but I haven’t notice the this.

  21. Good morning, I have a vertical cut from an emergency c-section. Will any of these exercises help me. It looks like I have a butt for a stomach…..help!!!!

    1. Following this question because I too have a vertical incision from hysterectomy 5 years ago from ovarian cancer. This area/cut is a bit misshapen too. I have lost 15 of the 30 I gained from chemo, but have struggled losing the rest and trying to flatten ab area. I watch what I eat, but something is off – plus I know I was thrown into menopause from the surgery. Any advice would be gratefully appreciated. Thank you!

    2. Hi Diane: I’d definitely discuss any exercises with your healthcare team first to make sure they’re right for you and then follow their recommendations. 🙂

    3. hello!
      i had 3 c sections sept 2016, sept 2017, and sept 2018 to 3 boys and i have a belly pooch of extra skin. My OB said i have no fat its just extra skin from back to back pregnancies and c sections. i have been working out at the gym, focusing on my abs for about a month now, but i dont see a difference. any recommendations? please help.

    4. Hi Ya Za: I know this extra skin can be so frustrating! It can sometimes take longer than a month to see progress, so I’d keep doing what you’re doing, make sure you’re doing both cardio and resistance training, follow a good nutrition program, and incorporate the exercises in this post too. And be patient (that’s often the hardest part!). You got this!

    5. I didnt have a c-section. But, they did cut into my tummy when I got my tubes tied. I am a very small woman except for this annoying pooch in my tummy. I am a long distance runner and work out continuously. Nothing gets rid of this pooch. So frustrating.

    6. Hello. I had my 1st Csection at age 23 and an emergency one and they didn?t get me numb all the way. My 2nd C section I was 43 and he came a month early. He?s now 15 years old and I?m now 57 and now a widow and need to get this ugly, self confidence crushing part of my body off. You mentioned using creams too. Is there a particular skin tightening one you use? And can you help me???

    7. Hi Kristi: Thank you for reaching out! Unfortunately, I don’t have any information about which cream Heidi was recommending. We wish you all the best!

  22. Thanks for the awesome exercises!! I am starting these NOW! One question… I had a mini tummy tuck one year ago (corrected my diastases and belly button hernia). I did not have a ?pooch? prior. I am thin (5? 4?. 115 pounds). But, now a year later, I have a pooch above my incision scar across my lower abdomen. When I tighten my abs all goes flat but the very bottom. I just can seem to even suck that part in! Do you think these exercises can help me?

    1. Hi Kendra: We recommend you discuss this program with your healthcare team first since your case is a bit different. We’d hate to recommend something that wouldn’t be best for you.

    2. Just curious as I have The same medical abdominal issues – who did you get to do this surgery? I need both of these corrected and I don?t know where to start 🙁

    3. I’m over 50 and not unless i starve myself i can’t seem to lose belly fat or no other fat. Any suggestions on what i can do ?

  23. Hello Heidi and team!
    I have a lot of fat on the upper have of my belly, where my stomach and liver is. Can I get rid of that with the vacuum twist too?
    Because it?s some annoying stay on their place fat.
    Love you all
    Elyse

    1. Hi Elyse: These exercises can definitely help strengthen the core muscles, but unfortunately, you really can’t spot reduce. Any extra fat will leave your body in its own unique way, so stick to a sound nutrition program, work out regularly, and any trouble spots should get better! 🙂

  24. Had emergency c-section 24yrs ago and although am ideal weight and relatively fit cannot loose the pooch. I am embarrassed to wear fitting clothes and don’t get me started about bathing suits. I have given up…
    I was thinking about freezing the fat cells to remove the 3 inches of fat that only is above the bikini line and in the mid section. So other then this pooch; I look thin. Please help!

    1. Thank you for your comment! I can only imagine how frustrating this must be for you. You might want to give the exercises in this post a try and see if they might help your tummy pooch. It’s worth a try, right? We wish you all the best! 🙂

    1. Hi Nikki: They can help with tummy pouches, but before you start doing them, we recommend you talk to your healthcare team to see if you have diastasis recti, and then follow their recommendations as how to best work on that tummy pouch. 🙂

  25. Im a 5 c section mama (yes I didn’t mistype that 5 c sections)and boy oh boy do i have the battle wounds to prove it lol Im currently doing keto and i already lost almost 20 pounds. Im working on getting to 140ish being that im only 5′ 3.5′. But my stomach is really bugging me, i lost a ton of weight in my legs but my stomach is being stubborn. The bulge above the csection line is really a source of embarrassment for me. Im going to start doing these and im hoping it will help with back pain also. thanks for this 🙂

    1. I am also a 5 c-section mama! Usually don’t read about too many mom’s going through it 5 times! My kangaroo pouch is driving me insane and nothing I do seems to lessen the look of it one bit. I’m more insecure now then I ever have been due to the flap above my bikini line. I’ve used the vacuum workout after each of my kids and it seemed to tighten along with planking, but after my 5th one, it’s so hard to see any results! And even my jeans looks unsightly because you can see my pouch through my high-waist jeans! I’ve considered saving up for a tummy tuck, but my doctor doesn’t think it’s necessary because I’m not heavy enough. ( like really??) Anyways, I’m usually not one for discussions, but I was interested in letting you know that your not alone, although I have never met another 5 c-section mom before, I guess meeting you means that we exist! I’m going to work on my diet and hope that it will eventually go away forever!

    2. I?m a 6 c-section mom I had a great doctor so for my 3rd, 4th and 5th I was given tummy tucks but for my 6th it was an emergency and my doctors we?re not in so I didn?t get my tummy tuck this is the 1st time I had to deal with a shelf above my cut and always wanted to know how to get rid of it.

    3. Im also a csection momma currently doing keto. My csection baby is now 14 and i still have my pooch but am going to give these excercises a try!!

  26. I have had 2 csections (2012 & 2016).. I definitely suffer from that apron/extra overhang above my scar. I am a vegan/vegetarian and also practice intermittent fasting (eat between 1pm & 7pm).

    I have been thinking exercise would get rid of the pooch ? since nutrition is what will do it, is there a certain meal plan I can follow to burn the fat off the fastest?

    1. Hi Brit: Yes! For any transformation goal, including fat loss, nutrition is 80% of the process + working out. You can get some ideas about Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program in this post: https://heidipowell.net/2713, or you might be interested in checking out our app – The Transform App, which offers you a customized nutrition and workout program: http://thetransformapp.com. You might want to start with the Turbo plan from either the post or the app. Hope that helps! 🙂

    2. Thank you so much Team Powellr!
      What an amazing body! You inspire me!
      You are so rich! At 51I did my first 30day detox boot camp with Arbonne Nutrition, I am a consultant! ! Lost the shelf completely!
      Lasted three years then I started going back to some of the treats I liked.
      At 55 it?s back. I hate it!
      Back on detox! I also am prone to dumpling in the skin out of nowhere!!
      Is this also fat deposits! I?m going lean-full on healthy again, now I can sleep,brain fog lifting! At Christmas I couldn?t remember the gifts I bought,!
      Now I can remember names when introduced and the energy I feel so grateful, every time I RESET removing toxins!
      So we can lose our pooch and improve our best lives and help our friends??

    3. Hi! I have a question: whenever I work out and go on a diet, the first place where the fat diappears, are my boobs. And that is NOT the place where I want to lose shape…
      Is there anything you can recommend, to keep my whole body in shape? Flat belly with teabags, so to speak, feels like moving the problem. Thank you!

    4. Hi Barbara: Unfortunately, you can’t spot reduce, and any extra fat will leave our bodies in its own unique way, which can be so frustrating! Follow a sound nutrition program, work out all muscle groups regularly, do cardio, and you will get there! You might also like our app, The Transform App, which offers you a customized nutrition program as well as several workout programs: http://thetransformapp.com You can do this! 🙂

    1. Hi Jean: I’d definitely discuss this question with your healthcare team and then follow their advice! 🙂

  27. Question. I have heard that planking is a no-no if you have diastasis recti. Is that true?

    1. Hi Christina: Since each case of and the treatment for Diastasis Recti can be different, we’d suggest you discuss what’s best for you with your healthcare team and then go from there. 🙂

    2. I’ve heard that as well. Just one time makes me nauseous and stomach pain.

  28. If you have diastasis recti can you ever do regular ab exercises like v-ups and crunches? Those among others are discouraged when you have that condition and it never totally goes away does it?

    1. Hi Christina: Great question! I’d definitely talk with your healthcare team about this and follow their recommendations since the answer to your question can be different for each woman. 🙂

  29. I love that this post is personal! I?ve had two c-sections and the rest of my deliveries will be c-sections. It?s hard to get rid of the ?belly shelf? due to extra weight pushing on the scare/incision. These exercises sound like a great way to restrengthen muscles that have once been stretched and cut through!

  30. Hi,
    Can you please share the name of the AMAZING product you are using? I noticed several inquiries about this with no response. Are you not allowed to promote this product for some reason?
    Would greatly appreciate if you share. I don’t want to waste money on products that do not work.

    1. Hi Jen: I’m so sorry, but I don’t have the name of this product. 🙁

  31. I reduced my tummy bulge and after baby body weight with the help of Mummy magic weight loss tea. I was drinking this stuff three times a day before my meals and within two months dropped 35 pounds.

  32. Would you please consider sharing the firming cream you find AMAZING? It would save a lot of trial and error because there’s ALOT of products out there that don’t work and wasted money down the drain. ;-(

    1. I too have tried several firming creams over many years. Mary Kays cellulite gel is the ONLY one that helped. If interested, I can email before and after pictures.

    2. The stretch mark cream I sell is amazing! Good for lots of things.. sun burns, dry skin, eve on light enough for a facial lotion. Smells great too. Let me know if I can help ya out. I have 4 kids and use it daily.

  33. Hi there! I’d like to begin extreme carb cycling but I dont get it entirely… For instance i want to make my own meals but I don’t know how to do it… Should I count every gram of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins I put in my meals? If I eat brown bread which is in the carbohydrates category for example do I have to count the amount of fats and proteins in it?? Thanks for your help I’m lost!!
    Last question:if I weigh 181.9lbs and I extreme cycle how many calories fats proteins and carbohydrates must I eat per day?
    Thank you again I want to change my life… Definitely!!

    1. Welcome to carb cycling! There are some great meal planning tips in this post: https://heidipowell.net/10617. As for your last question, everything is figured out for you on all of Chris and Heidi’s carb cycles, and there is some great info and helpful charts in the blog post link I shared that will help you figure out which foods count in which categories. You can do this!

    2. Hi
      I have delivered my second child last nov and had gone through a c section. Now i have started exercising but feels like my pouch is becoming larger. I do not know whether i have diastasis recti. Personal testing is not working as I can’t even feel any muscles in my tummy..Is it possible for your mummy tummy to become larger as you exercise

    3. Hi Nina: It is possible for you to put added stress on your core area, especially after childbirth. I’d suggest you talk to your healthcare team…they are the best ones to help you figure out what’s going on and if you have diastasis recti and how to handle it. 🙂

  34. I want to say thank you for inspiration to loose. I am a stay at home mom of 4 and I am still working on just losing 80 lbs after having many health problems since I was 20 now 35. Had one misscarage n 4 c-sections n two other surgeries. Between candida, thyroid, pcos, fibroid, thickened uterus linning. I struggle with the c-section pouch. It is fustraining. We eat good due to my kids health reasons. How can i get a good work out in without excersies equipment.

    1. Thank you. I love watching the show. It’s amazing how you guys can do that. Thanks for helping people.

  35. Buenas tardes….. Quisiera empezar un tratamiento de perdida de peso. Ojal? puedan contactar conmigo. Saludos

    1. Hi Marisol: Chris y Heidi no est?n aceptando nuevos clientes en este momento, pero usted puede aprender acerca de su programa de ciclismo en carbohidratos – el mismo programa que utilizan en su programa – en este post: https://heidipowell.net/9060 . Y aseg?rese de seguir todos los enlaces dentro de la publicaci?n tambi?n. Todo lo que necesitas para alcanzar tus metas de transformaci?n est? en este post, ?y puedes hacerlo!

  36. Excited to try these exercises! In the blog Heidi mentioned that she was impressed with a very specific skin firming cream “AMAZING”. It works great or she would not be so impressed with this specific cream. I noticed several ladies have asked abt this and have not been acknowledged. Isn’t only fair to share the information since Heidi mentioned it so specifically? It is like dangling the unattainable carrot. If not, perhaps it would have been best to just recommend using some kind of skin firming cream instead of an amazing one she uses but is unsure abt putting the brand out there. Thank you. LOVE me some Heidi and the Powell family and look forward to the carb cycling app.

  37. I have been trying so hard to loose what I call 4 c sections and with my second child I fell and ruptured my spleen and they did a horrible thing to my stomach and cut me from breast to belly button which was also put back in the wrong place. I do yoga and run with my daughter and I’m doing a 30 day an challenge which is helping but please what I want is to have help getting my daughter Alley to love herself she is so beautiful but has no self esteem and is bullied at school. I can’t tell her she has to look at herself and eat better because I’m so afraid of hurting her feelings and I feel like she is at risk of diabetes and other health issues please help me so I can help my baby girl thank you Suzanne [email protected] com she is over 200lbs and I love her very much ?

    1. Hi Suzanne: I’m so sorry to hear about all you’ve been through! I’d discuss the exercises in this post with your doc and make sure they’re okay for you to do first. And it sounds like you’re definitely doing the right things to achieve your goals! You can do this!

  38. Nerium has an amazing body firming product, but it’s very expensive (I think about $120/tube). My boyfriend has used it with great results–on his stomach after losing 40 pounds. You have to find it through a distributor (no, I’m not one 🙂 )

    Anyway, that’s not why I am posting, though :). I had a question for Heidi/the mods. Why do you have to hold your breath during these exercises? Are they still effective if you hold the move and breathe shallowly? I have trouble holding my breath after the exhale/emptying of the lungs.

    Thanks!

  39. I have had 3 c-sections in a span of 8 years. I would like to lose at least 41 pounds to be at my target weight but I can’t find the motivation to do it. I have an 8 year old that I tried to race up to a stop sign (which was just a block) on my bike. I joked and got a head start and he still beat me. I want to be more fit. Not just lose weight. But I do have bad habits like eating candy and drinking soda every day. And I need motivation to do it. I don’t have family really to push me and my husband loves me, but if I say no or I need this, he will get it for me. And I can look up things every day and say I’m gonna do it, but I don’t. Any help you could give me on the motivation part?

    1. Hi Jeanie: Yes!!!! Here’s a post about Chris and Heidi’s carb cycling program, which includes several links. Be sure to read about and click on the part about promises. https://heidipowell.net/9060. Promises are definitely their #1 motivation tool, so I hope you’ll give them a try! You can do this! 🙂

    2. Hi Jeanie.. I would love some motivation too. Maybe we can work together on this!!?? Shoot me an email

  40. Great that so many women are trying hard to get fit. I am too intrigued of the firming product that heidi uses. Can you say on private email, is it available in NZ?
    I am 7 years on from 3 C Sections and am 46, and a pooch and ovehang still there though starting to see more definition in my abs since I have been doing an intense training program and also do martial arts, though can see why lots of people do not stay for the long haul as it seems to be taking forever!
    I have been strict with my diet not for 12 weeks . At 59kg at start i am now 56kg and fat percentage falling still so hope that it will continue in the right direction. What are your thoughts on oxyshred and such supplements? Any other tips to get rid of the pooch?

    1. Hi Vanessa: It’s best to discuss any supplements with your healthcare team first, and it sounds like you’re doing awesome! 🙂

  41. Hello Heidi

    I have had 3 C-Sections and was cut the old fashion way not the bikini cut. I have lost over 50 lbs. I was working with a trainer but they was unable to help me with my stomach, they said there was a certain way I would need to work my stomach and would need to research it but never did, I would love to know what can I do that will not make my stomach budge out more. I also hade to have a hysterectomy my insides had begun to fuse to everything do to scare tissue… Help

    1. Hi Rose: Since how each woman is affected by a C-section can be very different, it would be best to discuss what exercises are best for you with your healthcare team since they can work with you personally. We wish you the best! 🙂

  42. I had a c section as well but mine isn’t the bikini kind back in my days they gave you the ugly one and for years I have had the pouch and hate it will this work for me as well

    1. Hii, I have delivered my 2 nd baby 11 months before via c – section and I still look like 6 -7 months pregnant. I have a big pooch or hanging belly.

      Will you please help me for this.
      Is it still possible to reduce my mummy pooch pls ?

      Many thanks!

    2. Hi Ritz: It is possible to still reduce your pooch, but I?d definitely talk with your healthcare provider before trying any core exercises, especially since you had a c-section. Wishing you all the best!

  43. Thanks for the info. I have 13 children that include a set of twins 2 babies that were over 10 lbs and 4 c-sections. Don’t think my extra skin is going to go away but hopefully I can get ab muscles again. Have lost 80 lbs with 50 left to lose. I find you and Chris very inspiring.

  44. I am so happy that you wrote a blog about this! I am curious though, are these exercises safe to do if you have hypertonic pelvic floor muscles and prolapses? Thank you for sharing your insight!

  45. I would love to know the firming product as well, although I know there might be legal reasons why she can’t mention a product she isn’t sponsored by. I am 15 weeks pregnant and getting ready for my post baby body. Please tell us the firming product! So many are a waste if money. Thank you!

    1. Hi Sandra: You’ll want to chat with your doc about this and then follow his/her recommendations. 🙂

    2. Will it work with a 18 year old vertical C section? I have been doing core exercises. I have a little more fat to loose. The skin around the scar is a little loose.

    3. Hi Adriana! Yes, these exercises can work to strengthen your core and decrease any separation. 🙂

  46. Hey, I’ve watched so many of your programmers with Chris and a year to save my life. I have had two kids, my motivation to work out has disappeared, I hate looking at myself and feel miserable about how I look. I feel as if I am fat even tho I am size 10. Please can you help?

    1. Hi Becca: You can learn about Chris and Heidi?s carb cycling program – the same program they use on the show – in this post: https://heidipowell.net/9060. Their program can work no matter how many pounds you want to lose, and be sure and follow all the links within the post too. You can do this! 🙂

  47. Had a baby 12 weeks ago, lost all the baby weight(and a little more!) working out and eating well, feeling great…and then two strangers in three days ask if I’m pregnant. This post could not come at a better time. Thank you!

  48. Heidi did you have a C-section? It’s unclear, but it’s like the elephant in the room here. Can anyone tell me?

  49. Hi Heidi,

    Thanks for addressing this issue. It’s something I’ve struggled with for years. I like that you address the importance of nutrition. My question is, what “diet” do you most recommend? My husband and I recently started following a low carb-high fat food plan. I’m a little nervous about consuming so many fats, but there seems to be a lot of support for the theory. Your thoughts on the subject would be greatly appreciated. ?

    God bless!

  50. Please share you firming product, I’ve tried just about everything! Completely closed my diastasis, but I have loose skin around my belly button I cannot get rid of! Thanks

    1. I had great success with It Works wraps and defining gel. It is a direct sales product but I swear by it. Their main site should be able to connect you with a person who sells it if you don’t already know someone.

  51. I have tried a lot of firming products, and it’s been a year since my daughter was born and I still need a little help. I’ve closed my diastasis with a physical therapist but still have some lose skin around my belly button! Please share what I could try!

  52. Love this! Thank you so much. When are you going to come out with an app with your carb-cycling and workouts? I have your books but would love an App!

    1. Hi Lorien: Chris and Heidi are working on an amazing app that should be available in the next few months! Keep an eye on all their social media channels for any announcements. 🙂

  53. Heidi, thank you for your time! I’m a mother of three boys . 1 c-section and 1-9.3 oz giant! Lol my husband and I started on our fitness journey a year ago and have had great results. I’ve lost 45 lbs, 35 for him. But of course he has more gains! I’m still working on those problem areas…such as my stomach. Here is my question. I had back surgery two years ago and struggle everyday with back pain. I was diagnosed with several generic spinal diseases that cannot be fixed. (and some that can but I don’t want to go under the knife again) I’m excited to try the exercises listed in your blog because with my back problems my abdominal area is the hardest area for me to work on. Generally in the past year I power through the pain, for the end result. And try to skip anything that might injure me. How do I know if I am strengthening myself or hurting myself, if it hurts all the time? Any other exercises or advice for someone with a bad back?

    1. Hi April: Congrats on losing 45 lbs! With any back issues, it’s best to chat with your healthcare team about any questions you might have concerning exercises and your back issues since they understand your exact issues and can work with you on a one-on-one basis. 🙂

  54. You said you used an anazing body firming product, what was it called? Also what did you do to prevent stretch marks while being pregnant?

  55. Hi Heidi!

    I have tried many body firming products, but they just weren’t that effective. Which one do you use?

    Thanks so much!

  56. Hi Heidi,
    Thanks for the tips! I am pregnant with my third baby and I’m
    Definitely going to need these in a few months. I was wondering if you could tell me what skin firming cream you use.

    Thanks!!

  57. Just wanted to say I love reading your posts about true honest things that women go through. You are an inspiration to many, I struggle with weight gain because of my hypothyroidism. Do you have experience deal with people that have this condition? I’ve had two children and it’s extremely hard to lose the weight without cutting back almost all calorie intake.

    You and Chris are real people with real advice, thank you for the honesty.

    If my husband and I could meet y’all someday it would be amazing, my husband did body building years ago. We’ve seen yalls progress and it’s truly an inspiration to get there one day.

  58. Great information- – thank you Heidi! Would you mind sharing the name of the body firming product you use?

  59. Thank of for posting. After 2 c-sections, final was 2 years ago with full term twins, my stomach is a hot mess!!

    I always appreciate your candidness btw!

    1. I would also love to know the body firming product that you use. I have tried a few but haven’t found one that I really love.
      Thank you!

  60. Thanks Heidi for the C section tips I’ve had two boys. And both have been emergency c section. after we have had family pictures and got them back I told myself that it’s time to focus on myself and get back into shape and feel good about myself
    Thanks for all the tips you guys post of Facebook

  61. Thank you for thinking of us mamas who’s babies don’t want to blaze the “normal” path!! My oldest is 17 & I have tried for years to get rid of this pooch. My 2nd is 11 & in the last 5 yrs I have lost around 60lbs through diet & exercise. Here in the last 6 weeks or so I have gone to trying to eat 80/20 clean & mixing up my workouts with more Hiit, where I used to run mostly. I will try these as well & if it works great, if not Ive got great kids! Lol!! I love watching your show & the inspiring stories of weight loss!

    1. I had my last c section 18yrs ago and it still gets me down even now I can’t do planks or sit ups so will I be able to still lose my pouch if I do the first 2 exercises

    2. Hi Jackie: Any of these exercises can help heal your core, and if you have any concerns, I’d definitely talk with your healthcare team. Wishing you all the best!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.