How to figure out if you need to use a postpartum belly wrap or not? Let’s take a closer look.
What is a Belly Wrap?
Typically, belly wraps are designed to be light compression garments that span the area from ribs to hips. You may also hear them referred to as belly binders, abdominal wraps, abdominal binders, or even postpartum girdles. They can be standalone wraps, like below:
They could some as shorts or pants that have extra material to cover the belly, like this:
The material is often elastic, but can also be made from natural fibers like bamboo, cotton, or muslin, like these:
Benefits of Postpartum Belly Wraps
There are benefits to using an after-birth belly wrap.
- Helps relieve pain
- Helps you get moving
- Helps increase blood flow
- Helps muscles and incision heal
- Lowers swelling from surgery
- Helps with posture
Using a postpartum belly wrap can offer some compression to gently hold your muscles in place as your body heals. Also, if you have Diastasis Recti, Using a wrap can compress and support your muscles as they move back into place. A postpartum belly wrap isn’t a cure for diastasis recti. If you still have an obvious gap between your muscles after eight weeks, you may have a condition called diastasis recti. FemFit Body Lab trainers can help you with this condition, you can read more here.
You can wear a wrap in cases of acute pain or dysfunction. So, if certain activities cause pain, and you find the wrap helpful in alleviating that pain, then use it temporarily while you work on rebuilding your core muscles. Or, if you are going to be doing more strenuous activities (like going on a long walk or wearing your baby for an extended period), and you feel the wrap helps, then use it. However, you never want to use it as a “crutch” and start relying more on your wrap for support than your own body awareness.
The appropriate length of time to wear a wrap varies by individual. If you are in pain, and have no childcare or partner to assist you in baby caring tasks, then you may need to wear it longer. If not, you may only need it for a few days to manage through some minor low back pain or SI joint dysfunction. The important thing is that you do not use it all the time just to feel a little better. “A wrap should never be used as an excuse not to practice moving your body with good mechanics and activating the correct muscles in functional activities.
Disadvantages of Postpartum Belly Wrap
While it may be tempting to use wraps for the purpose of speeding postpartum weight loss or shrinking your waistline, there is NO evidence showing that benefit. If a wrap is too tight or constricting, it can hinder the ability of the deep core muscles to function properly, and therefore hinder the rebuilding of the deep core. So yes, wearing a very tight binder could actually have the opposite effect of its intended purpose in giving you a flatter tummy. In addition, tight binders may also increase the pressure on the pelvic floor, which could lead to pelvic floor dysfunction. Because of these reasons, we say that the use of any extremely tight girdles or corsets, like the one below, is a clear NO.
How to Select a Wrap
If you have decided to wear a wrap, make sure to select one that supports with gentle compression. But still allows you to breathe and move comfortably. For a review of different wraps and their benefits, you can check out this piece on The Best Postpartum Belly Bands and Wraps by What to Expect.
Rebuilding Your Core
After your doctor clears you out to exercise, you can use FemFit Method to start rebuilding your core without a postpartum belly wrap. Learn how to find and use your core and pelvic floor muscles. A well-functioning core and pelvic floor bring several benefits. They help reduce pregnancy pains and injuries (especially diastasis recti and pelvic floor dysfunction). They help with easier labor & postpartum recovery. And also enable easier movement during pregnancy and through motherhood, helping prevent lower back pain.
Learn more about Postpartum Training with FemFit.