So many moms ask me about belly binders postpartum. Are they good? Do they cause harm? Do they work? Should everyone wear a binder? What’s the best one? I’m going to answer these questions for you today.
Why? During pregnancy the abdominal muscles are stretched and lengthened to make room for a growing baby. After having a baby, those muscles take approximately 6 weeks to shorten and return to near pre-pregnancy length. Wearing an abdominal binder helps support those muscles in a shortened position to promote return to pre-pregnancy muscle length and more optimal function in the postpartum stage. Basically, wearing a garment that gives mild-moderate compression can support the abdominals to work better and recover.
Tons of options for postpartum belly binders are out there. My patients often ask me which is the best. My answer… The one that is comfortable for you and doesn’t increase pressure on the pelvic floor. Let’s take a look at some different options:
Bengkung Belly Binding. A traditional wrapping technique that is custom fit to each mama. You can order these online and watch youtube videos to learn how to wrap or you can have someone wrap you and teach you how to put the wrap on each time. The disadvantage here is the time and skill needed to wrap. Sleep deprived mamas may struggle with this option initially. The wrap does cover pelvic and abdomen, up to the ribs and bottom of the bra.
Corsets. These are typically hook and loop closures like your bra, a wedding dress or the classic corset seen in movies. They cover from the top of the hips to the ribs or bottom of your bra. Can have zippers or velcro as well. Often advertise waist training to shrink your stomach and provide high levels of compression to the abdomen. Corsets can limit mobility due to the increased structure and frame which is always difficult for a new mama. It also impairs rib and abdominal excursion beneficial during breathing and daily daily activities.
Velcro wrap belly binders. A velcro strap that wraps around your waist. These are more flexible than the corsets but cover the same area from hips to ribs. Velcro wraps give you flexibility in the tightness of the wrap and the pressure created intra-abdominally. My concern with these wraps is that women often feel they need to tighten them as much as possible, increasing the intra abdominal pressure excessively and creating downward pressure on the pelvic floor.
Tank tops. This is a newer type of abdominal support. These tanks are designed to help support the abdominal wall without excessive pressure to the abdominal cavity and pelvic floor. These tanks run from the upper thigh/lower pelvis up to or over the bra. Blanqi has become a popular option for this type of support.
Every woman after delivery should have this support. No matter your delivery method or length of delivery or number of kids you have. Having the right binder will give you abdominal support and help your abs do their job! If you had a vaginal delivery you can start wearing within the first 48 hours. If you had a C-section you’re OBGYN may have specific guidelines for you to follow but you can usually wear one of these binders over the top of the bandage covering the incision.
I hope I answered your questions and you have some better ideas about what binder you want to try. If I didn’t answer your question, let me know! You’re probably not the only one who has that question.