“Why do I put on so much tummy fat during pregnancy and can tummy massage get rid of tummy fat?” is one question I face more often than others and I attempt to share my thoughts with you today.
Few women bid farewell to pregnancy with a perfectly flat stomach. As well as making room for your growing baby, tummy fat is a by-product of three main factors:
- Pregnancy. Pregnancy causes fat gain around the midriff so that the skin is able to stretch more easily as the baby increases in size, and so that your little one is adequately protected from the outside world.
- Hormones. Pregnancy hormones including oestrogen cause an expectant mum to store fat around her tummy and thighs in preparation for breastfeeding.
- Genetics. If your mum put on a lot of weight during her pregnancy with you, chances are you will too. Some women are automatically prone to storing more fat than others – unfortunately it’s just the luck of the draw.
Other factors that may contribute to a new mum’s waistline include diet, exercise and stress (the cortisol hormone released during stress causes excess fat to be stored around the stomach area).
When we think of tummy fat, we generally think of subcutaneous fat, which is visible just below the skin’s surface. In fact the appearance of a larger waist is often due to visceral fat, which is deposited much deeper within the body, and lies around your internal organs. Often visceral fat pushes your skin layer out further, making your tummy ‘stick out’.
Abdominal massage is an excellent method of shifting your post-natal tummy fat. A recent study by the Department of Nursing, Wonkwang Health Science College in Korea noted that abdominal massage with specific essential oils reduced belly fat in a group of post-menopausal women. Measured against a control group using simple grapeseed oil, the experimental group experienced a loss of both abdominal subcutaneous fat and overall waist circumference. Interestingly, body image in the experimental group was significantly better after aromatherapy massage than in the control group, possibly due to the ‘feel good’ factor of the scented oils.
While the above research relates to post-menopausal women, I have found the same results to be true with younger women using my traditional jamu massage techniques.
In addition to abdominal massage, I would always recommend to follow all your health professionals’ recommendations to lose weight after giving birth, whether that entails dietary changes or joining a gym. In my experience, the longer a mum retains her post-natal tummy, the more difficult it is to lose it. Good luck!
Karen Loke, Founder and Practitioner, Restoring Mums