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What Is An Apron Belly? Practical Solutions And Comfort Tips!

Are you wondering what is an apron belly? We're going to talk about it, and if you have an apron belly, please know that you are not alone! 

What is an Apron Belly?

A pannus stomach is commonly referred to as an apron belly or a mother's apron. The apron hanging belly is a flap of excess skin, tissue, and adipose tissue (body fat) that hangs at the bottom of the abdomen.

An apron belly occurs when the adipose tissue surrounding the internal organs expands (often due to pregnancy), resulting in an additional apron-like flap under your abdominal muscles and in front of your intestines.

It’s not uncommon for people who are very plus size, have rapidly lost a lot of weight, or have had many babies to have a skin apron or hanging stomach. With this said, people who have never given birth or are thin can also have an apron belly. 

If you have an apron belly, you shouldn't feel ashamed! Know that having one often causes more emotional than physical distress.

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plus size woman with an apron belly

When you Google “apron belly,” “stomach apron,” or “mothers apron,” you mainly get tips on how to get rid of an apron belly – from weight loss (that often makes an apron belly hang lower but look more deflated) to surgery (that's not an option for many due to insurance or financial limitations).

This article isn't about changing your hanging stomach. It's about how to live with an apron belly and feel more comfortable on a daily basis!

Apron Belly Support Tips

Like a B Belly, an apron belly can be emotionally difficult for plus size people to have.

Yet, unlike a B Belly, an apron belly can be a great source of discomfort.

Anytime there is skin-to-skin contact, like underneath large breasts for example, you need to be cautious with any build-up of moisture and sweat because the skin there can become easily irritated.

It’s really important to keep a stomach apron clean because heat rashes, skin ulcers, and skin tags can occur due to the constant dampness in that area.

Related: Chub Rub Solutions for Thunder Thighs

One of the best ways to keep an apron belly clean is during your usual shower routine. The use of a shower brush or hand-held showerhead can be very helpful to thoroughly clean under the fold.

Following a shower, use extra time and care to make sure you get your skin completely dry. Using a hairdryer on cool can help an apron belly to get fully dry.

Then, depending upon the size of the apron, you might use pads or powders (anti-fungal powders are best and many plus size women recommend Micro-Guard Powder) to keep the area dry for the duration of your day.

Coconut oil is anti-fungal and can be soothing under an apron belly. Please note that cornstarch powder shouldn’t be used because it can cause yeast infections.

Some women have shared that an apron stomach girdle, like a plus size maternity support belt or band, can help to alleviate discomfort. 

When it comes to underwear recommendations for having an apron belly, the most popular options are plus size support underwear or plus size women's support boyshort briefs

It's important to know that you're not alone if you have a mother's apron!

Below you'll read quotes from our community members sharing their tips for hygiene, clothing options, intimacy, and more! Many suggestions will have links provided to products and images you can click on.

Please note that it's a good idea to check with your care provider before using any products that are unfamiliar.

This group finally gave me a name to my apron belly never thought of it technically, just have had it for years due to being pleasantly plump! – Janice

I just always called it my FUPA lol – Heather

My personal experience with this started after having my first daughter. I had always been big but my skin was tight not a hanging flap until after I gave birth.

Then my body changed and I hated the way it looked now. I would wash under it every time I used the bathroom at home because sweat collected there. I began to no longer love myself.

Then I joined a mom's group in our area and there were only three bigger moms there. I felt so out of place until one day one of smaller moms started complaining about her hanging skin and about five other smaller moms chimed in saying they had the same issue.

That day I realized it wasn't from me being fat that I had the hanging skin it was from me bringing this beautiful life into this world and that I wasn't something that I suffered through alone.

That day I began to love myself again.

I don't choose to hide my body anymore, its the only one I have got and I'm going to be proud of it. I even rocked a “fatkini” at the beach on summer vacation this year. – Trista

It's a change I bear that reminds me of the daughter I bore. Unfortunately, it means I can't wear what I wore. – Beth

a woman with an apron belly

Helpful Hygiene Products & Suggestions For A Stomach Apron 

I've had an apron belly as far back as I can remember. It got worse after my first c-section. I started having problems with chaffing. I started using an invisible solid stick deodorant every day. – Rebecca

Hibiclens: this is soap surgeons use to scrub up before surgery. It kills EVERYTHING and it stays active on the skin for hours and hours.

Maxi pads are not just for periods, perfect for keeping post-c-section wounds dry and infection-free. I just folded a maxi pad in half and stuck that sucker under my hanging stomach and healed perfectly! – Daniella

Monistat puts out an anti-chafing gel-cream that is a lifesaver under the apron! – Candice

Got a nasty rash? Get diaper rash cream (Desitin is the best)! Helps so much!!! – Lori

Goldbond is a lifesaver! – Audra

I use a big powder makeup brush to apply my powder under my tummy. Makes it much easier! I just make sure I lift and scrub while in the shower to remove the buildup of powder since that does happen. – Tamara

Clothing Suggestions For A Mother's Apron

No jeans for this girl, my belly enjoys stretchy pants that kind of keep my belly tight and I need them to be high wasted – Trudy

I wear plus size capri leggings, looser in the leg and have the tall waistband. Cowcow dresses, skater style and full skirt. – Olivia

Sizing up a 1-2 sizes of Spanx or similar support garments has offered me both support and shaping. It's uncomfortable to have my apron swing around when I walk even when I am not pregnant and this stops that. – Sarah

I had an apron belly before I got pregnant so gaining all the weight that I did really took a toll on me. The belly band was definitely great towards the end of my pregnancy and the first few weeks after my C-section. – Daniella

I've started wearing more plus size tunics and waist-less dresses or plus size empire dresses. I don't like the look of me in jeans or shorts anymore. Plus size leggings and plus size compression leggings squish me down are ok, but only if the shirt is long enough to cover the strange shape – Beth

I continue to wear plus size maternity pants just to keep it tucked in. – Camille

I've had an apron literally since I was 4 years old, and right now I've been through two pregnancies and lots of weight fluctuations. The two things I hate the most are the way it claps against the tops of my thighs if I run or just move too quickly. It's a very strange noise that is very noticeable! Compression workout pants help with that. – Sarah

Plus Size Underwear For A Hanging Belly 

I wear my underwear under my belly and my pants over. I'm extremely particular about this. My underwear ALWAYS bunches up in the back because of all the extra fabric, or they fall down because they are too loose. – Ann

I gave up underwear mostly. I wear something like sleep shorts instead unless it's that time of the month, then it's plus size briefs. – Elizabeth

I'm totally about to embarrass the crap outta myself, but here goes: As I've lost weight and the belly hang is worst, I've noticed my butt is smaller and I'm in desperate need of new undies…. my solution? I bought a size up (these undies go to a size 6XL) and wear them backward! – Susie

Intimacy Tips When You Have A Mother's Apron 

Pillows! Use under your hips especially. – Jessica

I wear a plus size baby doll lingerie top (like this 6XL lingerie) that puts a lot of emphasis on my boobs, straighten my hair, and full-on makeup so eyes are fixated on my upper half – Samantha

I have 3 kids…the clothes just come off. No time for special lingerie, lol! I have occasionally done no panties under a skirt if I have time to think ahead. Ha! The older I get I've learned to just embrace it, it's my body…if you don't like it then that's on you. There are plenty of guys that don't mind it. – Rebecca

Mother's Apron Additional Obstacles & Solutions

Omg and seat belts!! The seatbelt is supposed to lay “flat across the hips”. Yeah right. It sits right on top of my belly. – Breanna

Try a seatbelt extender if you're having this struggle. Safety is important and there's also no shame in asking for an extender when you're on a plane.

Wiping!? Gosh the belly makes it hard! – Jordan

(There are some options here too like using a wiping wand for longer reach as well as a bidet sprayer.)

Shaving is the worst… You want to be trimmed and sexy but to get that way you have to either master a belly hold and razor shave or plan some alone time so that you can lay on the bed and do this in privacy. – Natalie

I found Nair works a lot easier than razors! Not a perfect smooth but enough that if you don't feel like razoring, you can at least feel clean! They have a cream you can use in the shower now so a bit easier. – Becky

As a plus size mom with an apron belly (thanks kids!) using the standard peri bottle from the hospital and midwives was never easy but I made it work each time with 4 babies and 4 vaginal deliveries. Someone gave me the Fridababy Peri Bottle this pregnancy and it's amazing. It is easier to use because of the bent nozzle and the shape fits better in my hand. – Sarah

Apron Belly Surgery Options

I got a panniculectomy. I haven't had a c-section and my apron was from weight loss. My insurance covered 100% – if you have documentation of rashes it can be covered to be removed. I had a great plastic surgeon. –  Anna

My surgery with a tummy tuck, muscle repair, and lower body lift will be around $14,000. – Sue

As we shared above, for many people surgery isn't a possibility due to insurance and/or financial limitations. However, you can always talk to your care provider about options you may have.

Once again, please know that you're NOT alone if you have an apron belly! 

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Michelle Pelletier

Friday 30th of September 2022

I literally cried when I found this page! I didn't even know my 2nd belly was called an apron! Ive had mine now for 12 years and I've had horrible back pains and rashes. I I was ever told was lose weight. I also have pcos. I'll be talking to a doctor about treatments. Now! I finally have hope. Thank you all so much!

plussizebirth

Monday 3rd of October 2022

You're so welcome, and you're sure not alone!

JENN

Sunday 14th of August 2022

I have all kind of issues 4 c sections and my belly hangs. Still fat, no hips or thighs, no butt so finding underwear is horrible. Pants or shorts look awful. Loose at waist and tight at lower belly. Leggins look ridiculous skinny legs and hips and big hanging belly.. I wear tunic shirts and flowy dresses. Any advice??

plussizebirth

Tuesday 30th of August 2022

It sounds like you've tried so much and still aren't finding what works well for your body. Maybe join a plus size group on Facebook for lots of feedback and suggestions?

Karen

Wednesday 3rd of August 2022

I tried the panties under the belly idea, but when sometimes rushing to the bathroom, I couldn't get them down fast enough. The special panties are way too expensive.Then I had an infection a few times and got very frustrated. That's when I had my big dicovery! I use antiperspirant and also use a clean athletic sock under my belly! It holds it in place and absorbs any sweat. It isn't seen through clothes,they are cheap, (you can even use worn out ones from your partner) and just go in the laundry. No infections since.

Catherine Panos

Tuesday 10th of May 2022

This is the most wonderful article!! I started feeling better about myself as I was reading this...nope I am not alone. Ty soooooo much for sharing this!! Ty for the links to purchase these items !! You have a blessing for me!! 😊🙏💞💐💃

Amber

Wednesday 17th of March 2021

Reading this and all the comments has made me feel so much better!

I’m 36, mom of two (16 & 12). I’ve always been plus-size, and then two kids and a c-section later, my body was frustratingly unfamiliar. I worked really hard and lost 80 pounds! At 220, I was feeling so much better.

And then I got tired in a way I had never been. Doctors call it fatigue and it’s terrible. I slept all the time. I started having daily, debilitating headaches. I gained 70 pounds in 7 months. Then I got sick with diverticulitis that refused to heal which meant a couple weeks in the hospital and round after round of antibiotics. I was MISERABLE, fat, and struggling.

7 years after the original onset of fatigue, I went to the doctor with a hunch and asked for a cortisol test.

My hunch was correct. For 7 or more years I’d had a tumor growing on my pituitary gland. This tumor sitting on this gland in my brain was telling my body to produce 4x the amount of cortisol my body was supposed to be making. I had Cushing’s Disease.

And what is one of the hallmarks of Cushing’s? You guessed it—belly fat. It both causes an inability to lose weight and a tendency to gain weight around your midsection. On the day of my tumor-removal surgery, I weighed 420 pounds. That was a year ago, February 11, 2020.

It’s been a long road. The toll those 7 years took on my body is extreme, and rewinding that damage is slow and painful.

The fatigue, mostly gone. The headaches were caused by pressure from the tumor, so totally gone. I’ve lost 80 pounds and I’m starting to regain a lot of the muscle mass I had lost.

But here I am, after all that, with a HUGE apron. It almost touches my knees. My belly button has been pulled down by the weight of it and is now about 6 inches lower than it would normally be. I go without underwear more often than not because it’s either too big and slides down my butt or is too small and rips!

I relate to everything everyone said, from the gold bond and anti-fungals (lotrimin under my belly? Yup!) to the awkward wiping on the toilet.

The sheer relief of knowing I’m not alone is more than I can say. I hope adding my story to everyone else’s will encourage another along the way.

plussizebirth

Friday 26th of March 2021

You sure aren't alone, and thank you for sharing your story so others know they aren't alone.