Do you know that postpartum belly wrapping has been around for centuries? In fact, it is a tradition in many different cultures that has been, and is still being practiced until today.
You may think that such belly wrapping is purely for aesthetic (or vanity) purpose, and while that is one of the most common reasons (hey, who can blame us - we all want to look good!) women look for the best postpartum belly binder even before they give birth, it is not the only reason for its popularity.
1. What is A Postpartum Girdle?
Postpartum girdle is a special compression garment that you wear around your abdomen/midsection for the purpose of, amongst other benefits, speeding up your recovery process after giving birth. It is also commonly known as postpartum corset, belly binder, belly wrap, belly belt, abdominal belt... you get the drift.
Although some may also refer it as the postpartum belly band, do not get it mistaken with the pregnancy/maternity support belly band. While both share the same purpose of providing back support, the latter is used during pregnancy mainly for its support/alleviation of back pain (for carrying that extra baby weight) whereas the former has many other purposes including getting your belly back in shape. You certainly do not want to be compressing your belly during pregnancy!
Most importantly, do not misunderstand a postpartum girdle to be the same as waist trainers - these use extreme binding to waist train or for 'weight loss' purpose and they can potentially squish your internal organs (yikes!), leaving permanent damage.
2. Top 5 Best Postpartum Belly Wrap
Many claim to be the best postpartum belt in the market for women, so which one is the best girdle? What's the best postpartum belly wrap?
3. Benefits of Wearing A Postpartum Girdle
We talked about postpartum girdles speeding up your recovery process after giving birth. Have you wondered how it does this and what are the other benefits?
This is how your belly looks during pregnancy and postpartum. As you can see, aside from your uterus stretching, your visceral organs are also squished together to make room for your little one.
You may also see that your visceral organs do not quite go back into their original place after delivery, and your skin may also became loose due to all the stretching.
1. Post-Delivery Recovery
After you give birth, the visceral organs will go back into place but because your muscles are so stretched out during pregnancy, there is a chance that both muscles and organs will not come back together even after your tissue has healed and your hormone levels return to pre-pregnancy.
What's left is a gap that won't close, known as "Diastasis Recti" or more commonly, "mummy tummy". This is the reason why some may still look pregnant even months after delivery. It doesn't occur to every woman, but about 40% of women are plagued by it, nonetheless.
A postpartum girdle helps to repair Diastasis Recti after birth as it compresses and tighten your uterus to help it return to its original size in lesser time. It also puts other visceral organs back to their place to prevent visceral ptosis. Not only does it tuck away your mummy tummy, it also helps you get your core strength back faster, which is essential to prevent permanent damage to your lower back and spine, bringing us to our next point.
2. Reliable Back Support
A good postpartum belly wrap will provide women with comfortable and reliable back support and compression. Women who wore a girdle post pregnancy find that there is a significant reduction of back pain, as well as feeling a decrease of pressure on their legs and back. When your comfort level is increased and abdominal muscles strengthened, you get to be active faster i.e. able to exercise which helps you to get back in shape sooner. Those that come with pelvic belts will also help with postpartum pelvic recovery correction.
3. Improved Posture & Support Breastfeeding
They are all interlinked, aren't they? Girdles give you better posture because you get extra support when your belly and back are wrapped and compressed so tightly together. You won't be able to slouch in one, anyway! And with a better posture, it improves and supports your breastfeeding experience all the more.
4. Body Shaping
This is perhaps the biggest attraction/reason women look for the best belly wrap. You can see people searching for the best "belly binder for weight loss" or "abdominal binder for weight loss" before giving birth because who doesn't want to look like they've never given birth before?
Now, do not get confused. Postpartum girdles will not help you lose weight. It is also not related to the controversial waist training that is so popular nowadays. Rather, it helps reduce swelling and any pregnancy-related excess weight or skin because your body is compressed tightly (in a safe way) to put everything back in place. This is perhaps why people often misunderstood it as weightloss-inducing because when your tummy is tucked in and waistline redefined, it does make you look instantly slimmer.
5. Confidence Booster
And when you get to feel slimmer instantly, it makes you feel better which in turn increases your confidence . This is a good thing because it keeps the postpartum blues/depression away. It is a very valid reason to want to look good after giving birth, so do not be afraid of being judged by your 'vanity' because you need to be healthy mentally and emotionally too. If looking good helps you achieve that, why not?
And so, you may say all these benefits lead to one thing - faster recovery for postpartum women.
4. When Should You Wear Your Postpartum Girdle
The answer is: it depends on whether you have natural birth or c-section.
For natural births, you should begin wearing after birth on the day you are discharged from the hospital. This is why you should be getting one now, even before you give birth as it will be one of the many items to pack in your hospital bag. Some women even wear it immediately after delivery to maximise results but we'd recommend checking with your doctor first to get the all-clear.
If you are not wearing one yet, do not fret! It's not too late and you will still see results if it is still within the first 6 months after delivery. This is because the hormones estrogen, progesterone and relaxin, secreted during pregnancy are still present in your body. These hormones loosen the abdominal muscles, pelvic structure and supporting ligaments and joints, making it easy for your body to shrink back down because it is still so flexible during this time.
If you have c-section, most postpartum girdles will require you to wait until your incision has healed, although this one from Bellefit (the best postpartum belly wrap for c section) allows you to wear it immediately after giving birth because it is specially designed for c-section mothers.
5. How Long Should You Wear Your Girdle
It depends on which postpartum girdle you get. Most will have instructions telling you the optimum hours you can wear them per day. Some allow you to wear day and night while others specifically tell you to remove it before you sleep. The bottom line is, you should never wear your postpartum girdle for too long in a day as you need to let your skin breathe.
You can, however, wear it for several months up to 40 weeks or for as long as you feel you need to before you are back to your pre-baby self and no longer need the additional abdominal support.
6. Why You Should Not Get A Cheap Girdle
You will see many postpartum girdles that are priced very low, some even less than $15 and you will be tempted to get one of these. Let us tell you, no. Please don't waste your money on these girdles because while their prices may be attractive (to say the least), more often than not, they do not come in good quality and have annoying issues like:
- rolling or bunching up when you move around,
- difficult to wear,
- thick and stuffy to wear,
- visible under clothing
With pricier post pregnancy belt wraps, such as those that we recommended in our postpartum belly wrap reviews above, you can have peace of mind that they are made from top notch quality fabric (some are even medically grade) that are light and microporous so that your skin can breathe through them. These will adhere to your skin better without causing any sensitive reaction which is very important because you will be wearing it for at least several hours a day, and comfort should be a top priority.
To choose the best belly wrap after pregnancy, know what you like or don't like i.e hook-and-eye or velcro, corset or band, groin flap or without, and price. Of course, important question like c-section (the best postpartum girdle c section) or natural birth (the best post pregnancy belly band for natural birth) should be the first question you consider as it will determine which belly wrap you buy ultimately.
To conclude, postpartum girdles will be one of the best thing to invest in that you will not regret. Yes, it is not a necessity and your body will go back to its old shape by itself, but if this external tool is able to expedite and ease your recovery process, why not give it a try? As long as you adhere to the number of hours you are instructed to wear, postpartum girdles are basically harmless. Of course, you should always check with your doctor before wearing one, and you should not push yourself to continue wearing it if you experience extreme discomfort.
Before you go, why not check out the following maternity care which you may need in your pregnancy journey, too?