Postpartum Belly Binding- Should I do it?
Belly Binding Basics
There is a lot of conflicting information out there about what you should do with your belly postpartum. The abdominal wall has been stretched out through pregnancy and many find it extremely helpful to use something to support their body in the immediate postpartum time. However, not all belly binding is created equal and there can be a lot of damage done by what are sometimes referred to as “waist trainers.”
Be sure that:
You are not binding too tightly
Binding too tightly can put too much pressure on the pelvic floor. The goal is not to push everything in, it is to reapproximate the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscles (the ones that can separate during a diastasis recti) and give the core some additional support while it is recovering from pregnancy.
You have perineal support at the same time
There are many types of post-birth support garments on the market and it can be quite overwhelming to decide! Avoid any garment that binds the abdomen only. It should also have support for your pelvic region as well.
Myths of postpartum belly binding
Reality: Despite some celebrities showing their “postpartum waist trainers,” belly binding is not going to slim down the waist in any way. If the binding is too tight it can actually put strain on the pelvic floor and increase prolapse symptoms.
Reality: Belly binding is a tool, not a cure. It can not take the place of proper rehab of the pelvic floor, core and whole body system.
Myth: You should bind tightly.
Reality: Binding too tightly can negate any positive effects by putting too much pressure on the ribcage, abdominal cavity, and pelvic floor. You should be able to take a deep breath into your ribcage while wearing your support garment, and you not feel any restriction of movement. Additionally, you should not feel an increase in pelvic floor symptoms. If you are experiencing this you either have a less than optimal type of binder, or it is simply too tight.
Myth: You NEED to belly bind.
Reality: Not everyone wants to belly bind and that is just fine. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t feel like you need to do it. Belly binding does not and should not replace a solid rehab exercise program, which is the most critical piece.
OSM garment suggestions:
We suggest shorts or leggings style of garment for postpartum recovery, as they support both the core and the bottom and are easy to move around in. Make sure you get your correct size, as these are not as adjustable as other types and you do not want to size down and get something too tight. Remember, we are not “waist training,” (which is a myth), we are supporting the recovering body.
- Does not support the pelvic floor
- When too tight, can cause prolapse and other pelvic floor symptoms
- Restricted breathing, not good for core
- Stress the sympathetic nervous system, causing feelings of overwhelm and anxiety.
- Compression of the pelvic region.
- Compression and support for the abdominal and back without restriction
- Helpful post surgical birth for incision.
- Helpful for feeling support and “held” emotionally, without feeling restriction of breathing.
Belly binding is a personal choice. If you decide to try it out, make sure to research what you buy and even then, if you notice any pelvic symptoms from use, discontinue. Belly binding is not a solution, but it is an excellent tool for many moms to aide in recovery.