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The C Section Pouch

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Excess skin and fat around the abdomen after a C section is commonly called a C section pouch, pannus stomach, mummy tummy, or apron belly. This can be emotionally distressing for many women. 

After giving birth, some women may experience a condition known as “mummy tummy”. This occurs when the abdominal muscles are stretched too much during childbirth, making them weaker and less able to support the body properly. This can result in a sagging area of loose tissue and stubborn fat around the lower abdomen. Luckily there are surgery options such as a tummy tuck available to treat this.  

Causes of C section pouch 

  • Pregnancy. After a c section, a common reason for having a “mum pouch” is that during delivery, the baby pushes down on the abdomen, increasing the pressure inside. This increased pressure can stretch the abdominal muscles, causing the stomach to bulge.
  • Weight gain. During pregnancy, gaining weight can cause the development of a C section pouch. The abdominal muscles stretch and weaken due to the extra weight from the growing baby, leading to the accumulation of adipose tissue and fat in the lower abdomen. This can result in the formation of a bulge or pouch.
  • Hormonal changes. Moreover, pregnancy can lead to hormonal changes in women, which may cause their body to store excess adipose tissue. Additionally, the release of estrogen hormone during pregnancy can weaken the connective tissues. As a result, it can be more challenging for the tissues to support and hold the abdominal muscles together.
  • Genetics. The development of an apron belly is also influenced by genetics. Certain women may have weaker abdominal muscles or insufficient connecting tissue from birth, which can impact the flexibility of the abdominal wall. 

Symptoms 

A protruding or bulging stomach in the lower abdominal region is the main symptom of a C section pouch. 

This can be accompanied by abdominal pain and discomfort when exercising due to weakened abdominal muscles, which are unable to effectively support the body’s structure. 

Intense pressure on the abdomen during delivery may cause a separation of the abdominal muscles, resulting in weakened core muscles that support the midsection. This can be another symptom. 

Moreover, when you have weak core muscles, activities like planks and sit-ups can be quite uncomfortable since your body lacks the necessary support. This can lead to discomfort and also enhance the chances of injury during exercise. 

Prevention and treatment 

Leading a healthy lifestyle is crucial in preventing and getting rid of mummy tummy. This means maintaining a balanced diet, frequently exercising, getting enough sleep, and avoiding activities that put too much strain on your abdominal muscles. Furthermore, practising good posture while sitting or standing can help support your core muscles and abdominal wall. 

To strengthen your core and improve your posture, try doing exercises that focus on your abs. You can try exercises like planks, pelvic floor exercises, and gentle yoga poses such as cat/cow stretches or downward dog. These exercises can specifically help with postpartum abdominal muscles, also known as mummy tummy. 

Regular use of supportive undergarments can help support your core muscles. In case you have a C section pouch, using a medical-grade abdominal binder might reduce its appearance. 

If non-surgical methods are not successful in treating an apron belly, plastic surgery can be recommended. This includes options like liposuction or tummy tuck to eliminate excess fat and tighten the muscles beneath the skin. 

Liposuction is a process that can eliminate excess fat from the abdomen. Although it can improve the appearance of a c section pouch, it does not address the underlying issue. If there is a severe separation of the underlying muscles, a tummy tuck may be advised. 

Tummy tuck surgery is a procedure that removes extra skin and fat from the abdomen while also repairing any separated abdominal muscles. It’s an effective solution for getting rid of a c section pouch because it tightens loose skin and reduces excess fat. However, like any surgery, it does come with risks. Before deciding on a treatment plan, it’s important to have a thorough discussion with your healthcare provider about all of your options. 

Can a mummy makeover fix a C section pouch? 

Mummy makeover surgery can effectively address the changes that occur after childbirth like sagging skin and unwanted abdominal fat. This surgery combines both abdominoplasty and breast surgery. 

To address the issue of a c section pouch, it’s important to consult a qualified plastic surgeon for personalized treatment advice. Though it can be challenging to manage both physically and emotionally, there are treatment options available. Before starting any treatment, consult with your GP or obstetrician for guidance.


Jordan Wayne, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle. 

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