The practice of belly binding after childbirth has been around for centuries and is still very popular in many countries. Women would wrap a muslin or similar cloth around the abdomen of a new mum straight after she had given birth to help give her extra physical support as her body healed. These days, there are different kinds of belly wraps available and some hospital even supply new mums with a postpartum wrap. A postnatal band can be used to help support your hips, back and abdominal muscles directly in the first weeks and months after childbirth, when your core muscles are at their weakest. Many mums use postnatal bands after vaginal births, but they can be especially helpful after a C-section birth. A postpartum belt provides help with supporting your surgical incision, holding your abdominal muscles together and increasing circulation at your surgical site to promote healing and decrease swelling.
Is postpartum belly wrapping safe?
Yes, using postpartum belly bands is completely safe. However, women who use them improperly can end up doing more damage than good. Always remember these important rules when using a postpartum support band:
Be careful not to fasten the band to tightly
Be sure to focus on your wellbeing and recovery, instead of trying to get your body to bounce back too quickly. As your core´s pressure management system has already been impacted by pregnancy and childbirth, if you tighten the band too much, you may place excessive pressure on your pelvic floor. The postnatal band should be tightened just enough to offer gentle support, but no tighter. Remember, the band is there to support you and should allow you to feel better and to breathe freely all the way to your stomach.
Make sure not to wear the band for longer than you really need to
A postpartum band can provide some much-needed support right after you give birth, but you should not wear it continuously or for an extended period. We recommend wearing the band for 2-8 hours daily depending on the level of support needed but there is no real time limit for how long you can keep the belly band on during the day. Postnatal bands are most effective when worn for approximately 1-3 months post birth. It is completely fine to begin wearing a postpartum belly band right after birth. In fact, this is when it´s likely to provide the most needed support for muscles that are feeling unstable.
You should start using your own muscles without support whenever you feel comfortable. The band will help you maintain good posture and activate your deep core muscles post-birth, but it is also important to allow your body and muscles to recover on their own. This does not mean doing serious ab workouts or hitting the gym. Your muscles will start to recover just by doing simple everyday tasks such as getting out of bed, picking up your baby and other normal movements.
As your core stability is weakened after birth, it is very important to remember to suck in your stomach and keep good posture when doing these basic movements – a support band can really help you with this. For instance, when sitting up out of bed always engage lower abs first - activating the pelvic floor & transverse abdominals or turn on your side and push up using your hands. In addition, there’s a whole bunch of non-exercise things, like how you breathe and how you hold your body (read: suck in your stomach) that can place unnatural loads on your linea alba, the connective tissue in your abdomen. Many mums will know how easy it is to develop poor posture for instance while breastfeeding or carrying your baby on one hip. A postnatal band is very helpful in reminding you of how to hold your body correctly without placing disproportionate pressure in places.
Check out our Core Restore Postnatal Support Band here.
When to avoid a postnatal band altogether
Make sure you get the OK from your doctor or nurse before you start using any wrap. Some women who have had serious complications during birth, such as preeclampsia, may be advised to stay away from belly bands. If you have c-section complications, wearing a band may not be advisable either. Women with a separation or infection in their caesarean incision are usually instructed not to wear a binder as it can make the pre-existing condition worse.
A story of Heidi, a mum of three, and her experience with our postnatal band:
I´m Heidi, a mummy to 2.5-year-old Willow 2.5, Aria who is 1.5 and Eden who is 7 months.
As you can tell I’ve had a baby every 12 months for 3 years and it is only now my postpartum recovery can really begin. I suffered with diastasis recti after each pregnancy and never managed to rectify it before I was pregnant again. Fast forward to the aftermath of Eden my separation was very severe, and I was put on the 14-week waiting list for physio. I was given specific exercises to support my postnatal recovery and told my recovery would take a minimum of 20 weeks.
I was then sent a postpartum tummy wrap from Lola&Lykke and began to use this right away. With my physio looming I ensured I wore this for a minimum of 4 hours per day to give my core some strength and boy merely a week after using it my back felt so much better already.
At my next appointment, my physiotherapist was confused about the noticeable improvement in my abdomen. He commented that the situation was not nearly as bad as his notes suggested. I explained to him that I had been doing my daily exercises and in addition, I had been using a belly support band. Showing the band to my physiotherapist he was very impressed by the improvement in my belly, especially as I had not been using it for long!
I’m over the moon to have such great results and finally I’m starting to feel a little more confident in my own body thanks to Lola&Lykke.