Postpartum Care: Belly Binding

The Belly Bandit binder.

I first came across the subject of “belly binding” (or abdominal binding/compression) when I came across a product called the Belly Bandit. At first glance, I thought this was some new Hollywood-inspired fad that allowed women to look as if they had never been pregnant just days after birth. When I looked into it, however, I found that women outside of the United States have been practicing abdominal binding after birth as a way to shrink, tone and strengthen abdominal muscles and skin. The practice involves wearing a compression wrap around the mid-section, sometimes extending down over the top of the hips, beginning in the first day or two after birth and up to six to 12 weeks postpartum.

With my most recent pregnancy, the concept of belly binding intrigued me not only because the idea of shrinking my postpartum belly faster sounded appealing, but because I remember just how weak my abdominal muscles felt after the birth of my last two children. There are a variety of options and costs for abdominal compression wraps, ranging from as low as $15 for a no-frills, medical-looking device (like this one) up to $80 for the more haute couture options. Prior to birth and based on the advice of this article on belly binding options, I purchased a simple one-piece girdle for about $15. In addition, I also requested from my midwife while in the hospital a simple, medical-grade abdominal binder (which is usually given to moms after a c-section to aid in healing). After the birth of my third baby, my abdominal muscles felt weaker than I remember feeling for any of my prior births. When I stood up, it felt as if my gut would just plop out of my body! When the nurse brought me the abdominal binder, I put it on immediately — the relief was instant! I felt amazing! Like magic, I had strength and support and could easily get in and out of bed, maneuvering my body with more assurance than just a few minutes before.

Upon coming home, I continued to wear the abdominal binder throughout the daytime hours (they are recommended to be worn at night too for maximum effectiveness, but I took a break). The biggest complaint I have about the binder I received from the hospital is the itchiness of the material. I have found that wearing a thin tank top underneath makes it much more comfortable. And this, I imagine, is where it would make sense to invest more money in some of the other binding options, as they are made with higher quality material that can be worn more comfortably against the skin.

As for results, I am two weeks into the process and have noticed a considerable difference in how quickly my postpartum belly has shrunken down, not to mention the speed with which my abdominal muscles seem to have recovered. I am a believer in belly binding! In fact, I’ve been saying that this is my newest piece of must-know advice for expectant moms. Whether it’s your first or your fifth, you can benefit and feel better from abdominal binding after birth.

Avatar of Cara TerreriAbout Cara Terreri
Cara began working with Lamaze in 2004, two years before becoming a mother. Three kids later, she's a full-fledged healthy birth advocate and the Site Administrator for Giving Birth with Confidence. Most recently Cara began study to become a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and DONA certified doula (learn more about her services at www.SimpleSupportBirth.com). She continues to stand in awe of the power and beauty in pregnancy and birth, and enjoys helping women discover their own power and joy in the journey to motherhood.

Comments

  1. Anne says:

    I agree with Cara, the advantages of postnatal belly binding are massively undersold in the West. I used a tummy truss after the birth of both of my babies and found it really supported my lower back and helped my stomach muscle separation close.

  2. Malina says:

    I used one of these after both my csections , at the hospital where i had my second it was even a standing order for c section moms, w my first i didn’t use it til i got home, for fear of pressure on my incision, with my second, the nurses helped me put it on as soon as i was in recovery, world of difference! They are wonderful,especially in the first couple of days. Gives you support and pain relief!

  3. Tina says:

    Binding is really important and I found the Abdomend to be more versatile, and softer than the belly bandit, plus I didn’t have to buy 2 like they recommend, as the abdomend has a bigher attachment area- good luck!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] also recommend emptying your bladder often as a full bladder causes inefficient uterine cramps. Belly binding, or other forms of abdominal pressure, can also help relieve the [...]

  2. [...] helps with energetically realigning the body after birth and can feel very nurturing and soothing. Belly binding is also a nice addition after mother warming is performed to keep the body warm and [...]

  3. […] of your abdominal muscles. To aid in postpartum abdominal strength, you might consider wearing a belly binding apparatus, which provides more stability as you move around. For diagnosis and healing of diastasis recti, […]

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