What Does Your Birth Plan Say About Your Personality? Take The Quiz Today!
c-section pooch and scar

You vs Your C-Section Pooch. How To Love And Heal Your New Body

Are you wondering about your abs after a c-section? Maybe you noticed that your body looks a little different and that your skin seems a little looser.

No one warned you that you might still look pregnant months after having your baby. And your skin above your scar might make a shelf or overhang in a way it didn’t before.

If you are worried about this condition, you are not alone. This has been dubbed a “c-section pooch.”

This article will help you understand why you have a c-section pooch and what you can do to invite healing.

Additionally, I will provide you with my best recommendations for healing. Of course, healing does take time. So if you are in those early days after surgery, you will want easy, simple movements that reconnect you with your body. Not to mention, massage to loosen up your scar tissue and allow your c-section overhang to heal.

Consistency, achievable milestones and proper exercise are the core ingredients to healing your c-section pooch.

Every Mother

When I support moms through their surgical births, I always tell them about my favorite c-section recovery program called Every Mother. Every Mother has a specific exercises and movements you can begin weeks or years after your surgery to address the specific needs of your postpartum body.

It’s taught by a pilates instructor and PT – so it’s basically like physical therapy from your home. It starts simple and easy. But, it provides a path that will bring you to a stable and functional core that will allow you to heal your c-section pooch AND move into more movement if you’d like.

Read on to find out why this is so important for you…

How A C-Section Results In A Pooch

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. I participate in the Amazon associates program . I am an independent Bodi coach and work with other brands I love.

You may be wondering why exactly your surgery resulted in a c-section pooch. The answer may surprise you. What causes a c-section pooch? First of all, your surgery on its own is not 100% responsible. A c-section pooch is caused by a combination of things:

  1. Scar tissue that is stuck to muscle
  2. A layer of fat that overhangs near the scar
  3. Separated abs and damaged fascia, also known as diastasis recti

Pregnancy and the first months with baby are an incredibly demanding time of life. Often we have so many new responsibilities that the time and effort we used to spend preparing our own food and caring for ourselves transfers to others.

If you ate more sugar and processed foods, if you existed in survival mode, if you couldn’t take care of yourself the way you wanted, you are not alone. Please give yourself grace and recognition of the superwoman efforts you made in that time. Not to mention the incredible contribution you made to the world with the human you created! Thank you!

And, if it’s time to start focusing on you again, you are in the right place!

If you want to know how to get rid of a c-section overhang then you need to look at these three causes and take a multi-faceted approach. I will show you exactly how to do that.

Does A C-Section Pooch Go Away On It’s Own?

Yes! A c-section pooch can leave on it’s own. Your body is designed to heal!

Unfortunately, some women (including myself) don’t enjoy this luxury and have to give their body a little help.

The good news is that if you begin actively supporting your body to heal, you can often fully recover to the point that the only remnant of your c-section is a faint scar.

If you look at yourself and you think ‘I still look pregnant!” it’s likely that you have diastasis recti. This is when your abs separate during pregnancy and don’t come back together. This results in a pooch or continued look of being pregnant.

I remember when someone asked me when I was due, months after having my baby. It was definitely awkward and uncomfortable for both of us. But, my pooch did make me look that way. It doesn’t anymore though!

Can You Get A Flat Stomach After A C-Section?

Yes, You absolutely can get a flat stomach after a c-section. Your pooch can completely go away. For moms that are cleared for exercise, check out our 6 Secrets We Learned From Models About Getting Back In Shape After Pregnancy.

However, it is important to start gently. Guidance from trainers who are experienced in training the entire core, including the deep core, is very important.

Many moms need to spend their initial recovery time focusing on reconnecting with their body.

Learn how to move functionally and with control before trying to get into high impact or repetitive workouts.

It will protect and heal your body so that when you are ready, you can move in high intensity activities without risking leaking pee or having pelvic pain. Plus, a strong and functional core can help protect you from injury.

That’s why I recommend Every Mother to the mothers I work with who are looking to heal from a c-section. These are simple movements aimed at healing the deepest layers of your core first!

And no, it is not too late. You can heal diastasis recti even years later! So if you are ready to l feel great in your body again, don’t wait. Start today.

What Is Diastasis Recti?

Both your c-section scar and ab separation need healing. You can rebuild the lost connections and nerve pathways through movement, touch, excellent nutrition, and hydration.

If your c-section pooch won’t go away, and you’ve been eating well and exercising regularly, it’s likely because of diastasis recti.

Do you want to see the difference healing diastasis recti makes? Check out these before and after pictures!

Diastasis recti is when the fascia (connective tissue) that connects the left and right side of your abs becomes stretched out and damaged.

This means your 6 pack muscles will be further apart than normal, and not work as well as they should. It is very normal for this to happen during the third trimester of pregnancy.

In many cases, the abdominal muscles will come back together in the weeks following birth, but most women need some targeted exercises to help this process along.

Does A C-Section Cause Diastasis Recti

Some women wonder if their abs are cut during a c-section and if this could be the cause of separated or damaged abdominal muscles after birth.

Muscles are not cut during a c-section. (If they are, please speak with an attorney that specializes in birth injuries.)

However, multiple layers of connective skin, tissue, and fascia are cut or drawn apart during your surgery.

This means you will likely experience a ‘disconnect’, a lack of feeling or sensitivity, possibly even nerve damage, as well as a build-up of scar tissue around your surgical site. This lack of connection can last for weeks, months, or even years post-birth if not addressed. It is also the cause of your scar itching months or years after surgery as well.

This video goes over exactly what does or does not get cut during a c-section. I bet you never know you had so many layers to go through. Am I right? 

It is important to note that during your surgery, it is likely that your abs had to be pushed to the side and the fascia connecting your abdominals was cut.

This is why more women have diastasis after a surgical birth than a vaginal birth. It’s also why it’s important to work with a PT or do a restorative program like Every Mother after your surgical birth as step one in healing your c-section pooch. This is true even it has been years since your c-section.

How To Recover A C-Section Pooch If You Don’t Have Diastasis Recti

One of the most common questions people email me is where do I go AFTER I’ve done a recovery program?

It’s true. Often fitness and health goals are more lifestyle goals. Exercise should be a regular part of our lives whether its running, swimming, or following fitness programs. But physical therapy and Every Mother only last a few months.

That’s why I recommend moms grab a Bodi Membership with the Go + Glow Total Solutions Pack when you are ready for the next step in healing.

Bodi is basically the netflix of workout programs. There are hundreds of programs to choose from ranging from 3 week programs to on demand live workouts. Plus, if you sign up with my affiliate link, you can join my private group for friendship, inspiration and connection with other moms.

But, beside that, the total solution pack has a great collagen that helped my own skin look less stretched and more smooth. It’s perfect for moms looking to restore their body. And, it’s quite affordable.

You can see my favorite Barre and Pilates programs that you get access to inside the bodi membership here.

You will be surprised by how many options there are and how much your body can change as you commit to a regular, 30 minute routine.

Why Barre + Pilates To Resolve A Lingering C-section Pooch?

Overall, Barre and Pilates classes can be an excellent way to develop and maintain core strength, stability, and overall fitness. Plus, they shape your body in an incredible way. Why start here?

  1. Emphasis on core engagement: If you went through PT or Every Mother, you know how to engage your deepest core muscles. Now, you get support maintaining that and bringing in other core exercises as well. Not just your deep stabilizing muscles of the abdomen and back, but your glutes and obliques too. You can build strong abs and a toned belly without doing sit ups or other exercises that could worsen diastasis.
  2. Whole-body integration: In Pilates + Barre, exercises are designed to integrate movement throughout the entire body. These are the perfect routines for a toned, long sleek body. One thing I noticed, was when I moved from just inner TVA work in Every Mother to whole-body movements I slimmed down quite quickly. It wasn’t just the weight being lost, but it changed the curves and lines of my body. I loved that!
  3. Controlled movements: Pilates + Barre exercises are slow and controlled. This is important when it comes to preventing injury. When I started pilates, I had a shoulder and knee that were bothering me. With my PTs approval, I switched from yoga to Barre and Pilates and felt that my injuries were able to heal. More controlled exercise helped me avoid putting stress in the wrong place. Of course, if you have an injury, work with a professional to make sure your movements are right for you. I love seeking help when needed.

These types of programs build more functional movement than yoga classes, and are more gentle and restorative than HIIT or Crossfit type exercises. If you want to be giving a Gisele Goddess type energy, these are the types of classes that will help you create it. Both in their functional movement, and the energy and positivity you find there.

Because of the control involved, you are more likely to heal your core and pelvic floor with these approaches. You will also draw the sides of the abdominal walls together and minimize diastasis recti.

Plus, if HIIT and crossfit are goals of yours, these will help you have the core strength to come to the more advanced types of exercise in a safe way.

How Will Massage Help Me Heal My C-Section Pooch?

After your surgery, your body has to create a deep layer of scar tissue to hold everything together. The collagen in this tissue has a different structure than your normal tissues. 

(That’s why I love collagen supplements to help this collagen heal!).

This can result in your skin being pulled differently, and, your skin overhanging over your scar. Hello c-section pooch! This scar tissue can be a really small, but stubborn part of your c-section pooch. 

When you massage your scar, the tissue reorganizes itself and normalizes into tissue like you had before. 

Even better, massage helps reduce adhesions. An adhesion is when the scar tissue attaches to other nearby organs or skin and reduces blood flow, nerve connections and can cause quite a bit of pain. 

If you are feeling unsure about massaging your scar, or you had your section in the last 6 weeks, you may just want to do a gentle massage to get used to touching your body again. Or – work with a physical therapists! It’s amazing we have experts to help us with these things!

Proper massage of your scar tissue, that will help you resolve your c-section pooch, goes a little deeper and is not as gentle. This is a great little video to help you see exactly what massage movements are most helpful. 

How Can Nutrition Help Fix My C-Section Pooch?

What you eat plays a big role in your body’s ability to heal. There are certain foods that will help your recovery greatly and others that will get in your way.

For example, clean protein, lots of green and deep-colored vegetables, berries, good fats and fibrous vegetables and fruits are all good for recovering your c-section pooch. Additionally, including anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric, ginger, garlic, and green tea in your diet provides multiple benefits as well.

Ultimately, these foods will help your body to recover in the early day, months, or years post-birth. 

Remember to drink LOTS of water because staying hydrated is an essential factor for healing. Water, herbal teas, and water-rich foods are a must. 

If you can, try to avoid Alcohol, sugary drinks, and processed sugary foods since they can hinder your recovery. They are generally inflammatory and don’t hold a lot of nutritional value or benefit. Pick your treats carefully!

In Summary, How Do You Reduce A C-Section Pooch?

To reduce your c-section pooch, you need to address the damage done to your body during this intense surgery.

  1. Start by healing the fascia that connects your abdominals together by using appropriate exercise. Phase one is a healing program like Every Mother. Phase two is consistent exercise. Bodi is a great place to start here.
  2. Continue with massage to break up scar tissue.
  3. Eat well, to reduce the layers of fat that are sitting on top of your abdominals.
  4. Choose a high quality collagen that can help restore the elasticity and appearance of your skin.
  5. Above all, love your new mom bod! You only get more beautiful with age. If you don’t believe me, look at Giselle, Halle Berry and Jennifer Anniston. They are just as enchanting now as they were years ago. And SO ARE YOU! Let’s see you give that goddess energy you are made of.

Connection is key to healing diastasis, and also to regaining feeling and strength after c-section. Therefore, emotional, psychological, and physical self-care is a necessity for you.

When it comes to healing your c-section pooch, give yourself time, as well as plenty of rest. Your body is amazing and it will heal, be kind to yourself ❤️

I hope this article gave you clarity and confidence to move forward in healing your c-section pooch!

Other Great Resources For Healing Fully After A C-Section

What To Do The Night Before A C-Section

C-Section Recovery: The A-Z Guide

The Ultimate C-Section Recovery Kit

Breastfeeding After A C-Section

C-Section Scar Itching

C-Section Pooch

Your First Shower After A C-Section

Much love,

Suzzie Vehrs