This Is What A Post-Pregnancy Belly Really Looks Like

what does a post-pregnancy belly look like

In a time when women feel more pressure than ever to snap back a slim waist and flat tummy immediately after giving birth, it’s rare to see full and honest depictions of a post-pregnancy body that doesn’t belong to an over-trained, over-dieted celeb. So when we came across the blog Birth Without Fear‘s collection of images showing what a post-pregnancy belly really looks like, we were relieved. Finally, there’s a depiction of what a) real women look like, without airbrushing or crash dieting, and b) proof that not all women look the same, even after having kids.

There’s a wide range of body types in their post, and they all look great (and if your body doesn’t happen to resemble any of the photos, that’s also okay). But what we love about their post is that it’s honest and brave–and these women shared photos of themselves to comfort other moms and women, rather than to entertain the media or bash anyone’s body. As Birth Without Fear’s author explains:

Many women express concerns about their bodies and the changes they go through when pregnant. There is fear, shame and wonder of the unknown. Our post partum bodies are unique as our pre-pregnancy bodies. It will vary woman to woman. The shape you are pre-pregnancy, how much you grew during your pregnancy and how your body responds post partum. It can take time. You grew a baby 9-10 months, most women will not look the way they did pre-pregnancy over night (some do though). [...] So, to know what you may expect and that you are not alone, I unveil Post Partum Baby Bumps!

Go to her blog to check out more pics, and more amazing inspiration.

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    • Mia

      Is it bad that these pictures are making me terrified of ever having a child?

      • Aj

        I don’t know if it’s bad or not, but I’m terrified too.

      • Bearing

        So what you’re saying is “Gosh, these women look soooooo ugly that I would rather miss out on children than look like them!”

        Score one for feminism, I guess. Good thing this mother of four doesn’t need validation from people like you.

        News flash: give it enough time and even your face’ll start looking like that too, whether you have babies or not.

      • meteor_echo

        Nobody intended to give you validation here. You lack manners, mother of four children or not.

    • Dani

      I expected stretch marks with my first child because my mom had them, what I didn’t expect was a ton of EXTRA skin. There is NOTHING that you can do about it short of surgery. Pre-P weight I was 118lbs, gestational weight was 161lbs in my 40th week. I am back down to 119lbs and it is an enormous amount of extra skin. The more fat I’ve burned the more skin I’ve seen. It has seriously been a traumatic experience not being able to wear a belly shirt. :) LoL Luckily, I have a great BF who reassures me when I am considering blacking out all of the walls and removing all light bulbs, but it is very frustrating when you no longer have independent control over your body after birth. I’m allergic to the anesthesia, so traditional surgery (tummy-tuck) isn’t an option. I am considering laser surgery in the future.

    • Danielle

      I’m officially too paranoid to have a baby. I DO NOT want creepy tummy skin. *shudders*

    • Lo

      Thank you for officially scaring me into never wanting to personally birth my child. Ever. The End.

    • Patricia

      SOME people end up with loose skin that never really goes away, but that’s not typical. While it’s true that you can’t really know how your own body and skin will change with pregnancy, that’s certainly not a reason to fear having a baby. ((That’s what labor is for…! ;))

      For most of us, it’s not much different from other kinds of weight gain. When you lose the weight, especially if you lose it quickly, your skin takes a little while to catch up…but is usually does. It eventually tightens up and gets back to normal. Muscle tone returns with normal activity and a little exercise. And even stretch marks, if you happen to get a few, do fade over time.

      The key point is to understand that, in real life, getting “physically” back to normal just takes a little time. More importantly, you’ll have a healthier new “mental” normal……focusing on something…somebody….a lot more important than every little change in your own physique.

    • Sloane

      If all it takes is pictures of flabby looking bellies to swear you off of having children, then you’re not ready to have kids in the first place. And that’s fine. Not everyone should have kids. But what you’re actually doing is buying right into the whole “I’m a woman and must look like the airbrushed models in magazines regardless of reality” concept. Children change our lives in an infinite number of amazing ways. Who gives a crap about what our bodies look like compared to that? If it’s a choice between having my 18 year old belly back or giving up my son, it’s not even a consideration. I would rather trip over the excess skin hanging from my midriff if it would prevent all the hospital visits he’s had to endure. Having a hot sexy body that doesn’t require any work is awesome. But it’s a pale comparison to the love that having and raising a child brings. And ultimately, THAT is what the photos are trying to convey.

      • Kate

        Agreed. No matter how flat my stomach gets, I will always have some loose skin and a scar from my emergency c-section. But I have a beautiful son to show for it.

      • meteor_echo

        As long as it works for you.
        I’d fucking kill to have a “hot, sexy body”. And yes, some people don’t want children because they don’t want to ruin what they already have. Myself among them, yes.

    • Francine

      I lost the weight and the skin returned to how it looked before children. Just normal skin. I think everyone’s different. I do have a light line from my belly button down. They call it a “linea nigra.” It has faded quite a bit since pregnancy, but I can still see it. My husband calls it my “racing stripe.” My mom didn’t have any stretch marks (she had 5 kids and I have had 2). My sister had lots of stretch marks, tiger-like and she had one child. Everyone’s different.