How To Tell If You Have Apron Belly (3 Signs To Look Out For)

Pregnancy affects the body in different ways, and an apron belly is one of the most common. However, pregnancy is not the only cause of apron belly. You could realize that your tummy is larger towards your lower abdominal region and may droop slightly from weight gain.

Image of how to tell if you have apron belly

There are some signs on how to tell if you have apron belly, and knowing this will help you employ essential tips for managing it or figuring out how to get rid of apron belly completely.

This post discusses these signs and how to manage an apron belly. 

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What is an apron belly?

Apron belly is the extra skin that overhangs from the abdominal region to the pubic region, and sometimes extends even further to the thighs or knees. It is also called mother’s pannus stomach and occurs mainly during pregnancy or weight gain when the fat around your internal organs expands.

Pregnant women have a higher risk of developing an apron belly because of the fat that accumulates in the omentum. The omentum is an apron-like flap hidden behind the abdominal muscles. It covers the front of the intestine.

Apron belly is not a medical term but is commonly used to describe an overhanging tummy. However, pregnant women, men, and women who have lost a lot of weight can also have the issue.

There are quite some risks associated with apron belly, including increased risk of cancers (e.g. ovarian cancer), type 2 diabetes, inflammation, and other heart diseases.

Difference between apron belly and mommy pooch

Apron belly is not the same as mommy pooch, though some people think they are. Apron belly is caused by underlying fat that drapes over the waistline while mommy pooch may or may not be related to fat deposits.

Mommy pooch is a bulge at the middle of the stomach when the rectus abdominal wall separates, and this usually occurs after pregnancy.

How to tell if you have apron belly (3 signs)

Photo of a woman with an apron belly

Courtesy: CarisaDoll, Reddit

The apron belly is relatively easy to recognize; you can tell if you have an apron belly when you notice the following:

  1. An overhanging skin in your lower abdomen

The first sign on how to tell if you have apron belly is seeing a belly hang down like an apron. It can vary in size, and for some moms, the tummy could be slightly suspended over their pubic region, but others can have it extend to their upper thighs and even knees.

  1.  You can hold the fat

If you can grasp the skin around your abdomen, it means that it has sagged down and can be an apron belly. Any fat that can be comfortably held is called subcutaneous fat and can release toxins into your body. This is why apron belly fat raises the risk of some diseases.

  1. You feel some apron belly discomforts

Besides the emotional stress of the apron belly, some physical discomforts are other signs on how to tell if you have apron belly. Some of them are:

  • Your skin rubs or chafes

When your tummy sags down, it covers the skin below it and can rub or chafe. This is uncomfortable and can cause skin irritation. Some anti-chafing creams (like this one on Amazon) can help reduce this effect. 

  • Traps in hidden moisture

When the skin hangs down, it can be pretty challenging for air to access the skin underneath. This will leave the area feeling hot and moist. When not properly cared for, it can lead to several skin issues. You need good hygiene to keep this effect at bay.

  • Back pain

You may likely develop back pain since your body bears the extra weight in front. However, back pain can be more familiar to people with heavier apron belly mass.

How to get rid of sagging lower belly

  1. Target weight loss by  exercise

Since accumulated fat is the culprit for apron belly, losing weight through exercise is an excellent way of shedding it off. It is easier to burn off calories when you exercise your body and you also gain a healthy life. 

Fat around the tummy region is the hardest to lose because the tummy region has two layers of fat compared to the arms and other parts of the body, which have only one. However, you are advised to do exercises that help move your body and lose weight all-round.

Though crunches and other strengthening exercises can help, they shouldn’t be your first go-to because you may end up building stomach muscles instead of burning down the fat.

Depending on how much weight you want to lose and how quickly you want to do it, some exercises help you burn more calories than others. However, it’s good to start with walking, running, skipping, jumping, swimming, biking, cycling, climbing stairs, and other regular exercises.

Aerobic exercises help you lose more calories at a time. If you weigh about 160 pounds, (equivalently 73 kilograms), you can lose about 402 calories from aerobic water exercise. Low impact aerobic exercises can help you lose about 365 calories, golfing about 314 calories, hiking 438, and running about 606 calories, depending on how fast and long you run.

However, when losing weight for an apron belly, do it slowly so as not to have excessive skin hanging around when you are done. Losing too many pounds at a time can make it difficult for your skin to adjust to the changes and shrink along. This is where strengthening  exercises like plank and crunches will help. Check out more exercises for apron belly.

  1. Lose weight through diet

You are what you eat. The fat in your apron belly can continually increase, or decrease to nil if you manage your meals. The aim here should be reducing the number of calories you take in.

Photo of a meal with vegetables

With a lesser amount of calories taken in daily, your body will have no other option than to use the stored fat for energy. However, there are some rules to having long-lasting solutions from weight loss with diet. Some of them are

  • Always have breakfast. A healthy breakfast enriches your body with the needed nutrients and makes you less hungry during the day.
  • Eat your meals regularly. It is easier to burn calories faster when you eat meals at regular intervals because it helps you avoid the temptation of snacking on unhealthy foods.
  • Drink a lot of water. For some people, thirst can be similar to hunger, and they can take in more calories when all they need is a glass of water. Also, water helps flush out the toxins accumulated by fat in the system, leading to a healthier life.
  •  Consume more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber but have low calories and fat. Fiber is essential for weight loss and your body will benefit from the vitamins and minerals they provide.
  • Eat fiber-rich foods. The greatest challenge we have when dieting is curbing the hunger feeling. Fiber-rich foods can help you stay fuller for a longer time. You can only find fiber from plant-based foods like whole grain bread, boats, pasta, brown rice, peas, beans, and lentils.
  • Don’t ban foods. If you love healthy food that stays within your daily allowed calorie intake, you can still enjoy it. As humans, we crave the things we ban the most. So, if you ban your favorite meal, you’ll be tempted to run back to it shortly. So why ban it in the first place?
  • Eat with smaller plates. It is easier to control your food portions when eating with smaller plates. This gives your mind a picture that you are still eating your usual ration. Besides using smaller plates, eat slowly, as your brain needs only 20 minutes to tell your stomach that it is full. 
  • Limit your alcohol intake. We look at chocolates with a bad eye but fail to recognize that a glass of wine has as many calories as a piece of chocolate. Having much of it will lead to weight gain.
  1.  Love your body

Apron belly affects your dressing and can prevent you from wearing certain clothes. Bikinis are usually out of the question and can affect your intimacy. This can quickly make you hate your body and find ways to get rid of them by all means.

Negative emotions can get you depressed or anxious about how people think about you, and it’s not helpful when trying to lose weight. Depression and anxiety lead to hormonal imbalances, which can increase your stress level and make you more obsessed.

Hence, when trying to lose weight, remember your mental health alongside your diet and exercise routine. Also, you will never be able to nourish a body you do not love. So look at your body through an eye of compassion.

Also, stay around people that make you feel positive about yourself. It makes the weight loss journey a lot easier.

  1. Find ways to manage the loose skin

For most people, especially those with significant apron belly, you will likely have loose skin after losing the fat under your belly. This will most likely happen if you lose a substantial amount of weight within a short time.

Taking supplements and having a high water intake can help the skin regain elasticity, but for most people, this effort is not usually enough. They need medical procedures to make the results better.

Surgical and nonsurgical procedures to get rid of apron belly

Medical procedures are some of the most effective ways to get rid of an apron belly, especially the kind that can’t be lost with exercise. They are safe and effective when correctly done. Let’s look at some of them individually.

  • Laser and coolsculpting procedures

With just a few days, you can become apron belly-free with the laser lipo procedure. Laser liposuction is a medical procedure that quickly melts the fat under your skin. Physicians also call it lipolysis.

Cool sculpting is another effective non-invasive medical procedure for freezing away fat under your skin. With coolsculpting, you can return to your routine on the same day.

They have very minimal side effects and are very effective for removing fat.

However, you will need between $2000 to $5500 to do the laser liposuction or coolsculpting procedures. If you can afford that much, then it’s a pretty effective way to get back to wearing your jeans in no time.

  • Panniculectomy

Panniculectomy is a surgical procedure that’s used to remove the apron belly. Though most people call it tummy tuck, they are not the same. 

No doubt, many people end up with a flat tummy after a panniculectomy. However, people with more significant weights may not end up with a flat tummy, but you will be free from the apron belly.

Panniculectomy is an effective procedure for people whose skin has lost significant elasticity either from excessive weight or pregnancy.

With general anesthesia administered, you will likely be asleep while the surgeon takes off the extra skin hanging down from your tummy. By the time you are awake, your new body will welcome you. 

You’ll be asked to drop some lifestyle habits like smoking and drinking before undergoing surgery. Also, a few days before your surgery, you’ll be advised to stop taking blood-thinning medications like ibuprofen, aspirin, warfarin, and others.

Panniculectomy is an expensive procedure, but your insurance can cover it if your doctor prescribes it necessary for your health (if used to treat medical conditions like a hernia). However, if, in your case, it is considered a cosmetic procedure, you will pay for it.

 How to dress an apron belly

  1. Tuck in your tummy with pants

Besides supportive underwear, pants with bands that can tuck in your tummy are helpful when battling apron belly.

Also, avoid buying pants that will stop at the middle of your tummy as they will show an incredible bulge. So if your pants must have a high riser, they should be big and strong enough to tuck in your tummy.

  1. Opt for draped or ruching tops instead of clingy garments

The number one thing you should kick out of your wardrobe are tight tops. Yes, they look beautiful when hanging in there, but they won’t highlight your strength when on your body.

Tight tops spell out every fat bubble and make people see the flawed area more than you want. Instead, go for draping or ruching tops which cover the tummy pretty well.

  1. Avoid belts and other tummy emphasizing accessories

Belts are excellent accessories and can transform your dressing, but in the aspect of an apron belly, you need to avoid belts that sit close to the widest part of your belly. Also, only use belts when wearing a top, cardigan, or coat, and ensure they sit higher to avoid drawing attention to your flawed area.

  1. Use asymmetrical, draped, or longer tops with leggings

You should genuinely adore stretchy pants and leggings that tuck. They are pretty comfortable to wear and appear nicely with long asymmetrical or draped tops.

One thing you must consider when choosing a legging for your apron belly is the thickness of your leggings. Thicker leggings can tuck in your tummy and make it appear flatter compared to lighter ones.

  1. Don’t tuck in your skirt and pants

Tucking your tops into your skirt and pants draws more attention to your belly and creates a line across the widest part of your tummy. So, instead of tucking in, leave the top flying. For most women, wearing blouses that rest loosely on the tummy will be pretty effective.

  1. Avoid clothes that are bulky around the tummy area

Clothes that are bulky around the tummy will emphasize the area you want to hide. It will also make it appear bigger than it does. So, avoid clothes that have embellishments or pockets around the tummy area.

Instead, go for clothes with vertical loose drips that can elongate and perfectly hide the apron belly.

  1. Wear printed tops

Printed tops hide apron bellies quite well, and you should get them for your wardrobe. Lovely floral designs and prints distract the viewer that they do not notice that something is bulging in there. They are even more effective when these tops are long and free.

Lovely printed tops can be easily layered with lovely cardigans and jackets, and can make your dress exceptional.

  1. Consider your sleeves

When trying to hide an apron belly, you should go for tops whose sleeves do not end at the widest part of your tummy. Instead, go for sleeves that end below your hips or just above your belly.


If you’re wondering how to tell if you have apron belly, remember that an overhang or tummy draping down the waistline is the most important sign to look out for. 

You are not alone in the fight against apron belly, and like others, you can win. But while in the process, remember to love your body and follow the fashion tips for apron belly shared above. 

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