A senior Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Dr. James Odofin, has warned women against drinking beer or hot water to lose belly fat after delivery, noting that it does not help mothers regain pre-pregnancy abdomen size.
Odofin who works at the Federal Medical Centre, EbuteMetta, also noted that applying hot water to the belly does not help women to lose belly fat after childbirth.
He stressed that women engaging in the practices, thinking they could help reduce belly fat, are only wasting their time.
According to the gynaecologist, drinking beer or using waist trainers or girdles does not have any effect in helping new mothers regain their pre-pregnancy abdomen.
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, Odofin said such health practices have no inherent health benefit in them.
“There are some myths and cultural practices that people think can help reduce belly fat after delivery but they are not really effective in achieving what they intend to do.
“Take for example that of using hot water on the abdomen. I do not see how applying hot water to your tummy will reduce either the abdominal fat gotten during pregnancy or even the size of the womb itself,” he said.
Odofin explained that within 10 days after birth the womb starts reverting to its normal position.
He added that all physiological changes associated with pregnancy will revert to their pre-pregnancy state six weeks post-birth.
“So, there is no need of using hot water to reduce the size of the abdomen,” he said.
Odofin also explained that women who have a big abdomen before pregnancy will still have same post-delivery.
“Some people have a big ‘tummy’ before pregnancy, so pregnancy makes it look as if it has increased; but after delivery, that big tummy will still be there.
“What will the hot water do? Is it to burn the fat or what, I don’t even know,” he said.
The senior consultant said that there is no mechanism of action for hot water in the treatment of abdominal fat.
He also explained that a woman’s abdomen will naturally snap back to its state when she starts breastfeeding her baby.
“God has done it in such a way that when you are breastfeeding your baby, the oxytocin that is released usually causes some kind of abdominal cramp, similar to menstrual cramp.
“That menstrual cramp feeling the woman is having during breastfeeding is what is causing what we call uterine involution – the womb is trying to reduce in size.
“Of course, it cannot begin to reduce in size without you feeling that something is happening. It is not a silent process, as you will feel some cramps.
“So, breastfeeding will make the womb come back to its pre-pregnancy state. That is number one.
“Secondly, the abdominal fat –which, naturally, is just what the woman gained in the course of the pregnancy – with the delivery of the baby and the placenta, all those physiologies will be reversed.
“So, whatever water or fat the woman has gotten during pregnancy will begin to reduce, meaning that there’s really nothing per se that the woman would need to do that will make the abdomen reduce to the pre-pregnancy stage.
“It will return to the pre-pregnancy stage within six weeks. That is why some people say a woman who delivers should stay at home for 40 days. This is more common in the Yoruba culture.
He explained that within those 40 days is “when every process and change that occurred in the course of that pregnancy will resolve itself physically, anatomically, physiologically and even emotionally. Everything will resolve back to normal.”
According to Odofin, it is not necessary to recommend medication or treatment for women after delivery to lose belly fat gained during pregnancy.
He, however, said that women who notice their abdomen being excessively large post-birth could have an anomaly such as fibroid.
He said such women after they have given birth should not expect the fibroid to disappear with the pregnancy.
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