Expert guidance on the best and the benefits of postpartum belly wraps. Is it right for you? Plus the top picks for c-section moms.
Postpartum Belly Wraps have become trending over the last several years. Basically nonexistent a decade ago, now we see friends sporting them and recommending them at every turn. But what are the benefits of postpartum belly wraps and which ones are the best?
What is a postpartum belly wrap?
A postpartum belly wrap is an abdominal binder that provides gentle compression and abdominal support after giving birth to your baby. This gentle pressure can help if your body feels like jello and is in need of extra support.
As a mother-baby nurse, I gave a wrap to many c-section patients, but not vaginal delivery patients. More on why in a bit.
Why do I need a postpartum belly wrap?
You may not. A postpartum belly wrap (or postpartum wrap) can provide extra support when your body feels you need it, but there is very little research that shows the benefits of wearing one.
Some benefits to a postpartum belt may be improved posture, relief of lower back pain, back support, pain relief, and extra support for your internal organs. For best results use only light compression. A belly belt may help with daily activities as well. When you don’t feel supported in your tummy, it can be tough to get up and down with your baby. Much less tend to the house or run an errand.
New moms may find that abdominal wraps promote good posture and less pain throughout the day.
So who needs one?
The important thing to remember about postpartum compression garments is not to wear them too tight. Wearing them too tightly can actually put too much pressure on the internal organs and put pressure on the pelvic floor. If new mothers are experiencing incontinence (bladder leakage), pelvic prolapse, “feeling heavy in the vagina,” or like “something is coming out” they do not need to wear a postpartum belly band. It can do more harm than good.
Another consideration is mothers with diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is when the abdominal muscles (the rectus abdominus: your front abdominal muscles) separate. This is very common in pregnancy due to the growing uterus. Our core muscles slowly recover and work their way back together, but at times need some extra help to get there. Having belly support may help encourage core reconnection, but is best done with light tension ab exercises.
While having a conversation with a mother who experienced a cesarean delivery (c-section birth), she informed me that she no longer had abs. We were working together to help her regain some strength in her core and pelvis. I asked what she meant, and she replied, “I had a c-section. My abs were removed.”
This woman had spent years believing there was nothing she could do about her body because she falsely believed her ab muscles had been removed. After chatting more, I discovered she hadn’t been educated well after her c-section delivery. She also experienced diastasis recti in her c-section recovery, which led her further to believe she was forever in this condition.
She walked away that day feeling empowered. I felt sad it took her so many years before learning the truth.
Postpartum Belly Wraps: the best and the benefits
Here are a few of my top picks for the best postpartum girdle for postpartum recovery. Below I will also cover our top picks among clients for compression leggings. Usually, belly bands are used most often during the first few weeks postpartum, though some moms wear their band for a couple of months postpartum for support.
The Belly Bandit is one of the first postpartum period belly wraps made. It is simply designed to wrap around your tummy and hips with a velcro closure to help the recovery process. Breathable fabric helps keep it comfortable throughout the day. The Belly Bandit is a good choice for a basic postpartum belly wrap, but take care not to wear it too tightly. Light support is the best way to recover. Get it here.
The Bellafit Postpartum Corset is a postpartum girdle with a side zipper instead of velcro or eye closures. One thing I like about this one is that it is presized and unable to overly tighten while wearing. The zipper is much more convenient than eye closures. It covers the entire belly and sports front support panels to help with core recovery. Find it here.
The 2-in-1 Postpartum Belly Band made it to this list because of its good ratings and ability to fit within almost anyone’s budget. It includes a separate hip/pelvis belt to wear as needed. You can wear the abdominal binder plus the support belt or only one at a time depending on your personal needs. The 2-in-1 belly band uses hook and eye and velcro for closure. See it here.
Compression Leggings and Postpartum Shapewear
Compression leggings and postpartum shapewear provide great support for recovery after a vaginal delivery or a cesarean section. They aren’t usually as tight as a postpartum belly band but provide a little extra support after having your baby. These top picks are two of the best products I recommend to c-section moms.
These compression leggings come highly rated and recommended by mommy friends. They are also extremely budget-friendly and comfy enough to wear every day. Compression leggings are great after vaginal birth and cesarean birth. They help give a little extra support in the tummy and low back without putting unwanted pressure on the pelvic floor. Get them here.
2. The C-Panty
The C-panty is underwear made especially for the comfort of a c-section incision. It’s the only patented underwear for c-sections that come with a silicone panel to prevent itchiness, sticking, and scarring of the incision. It has a high-waisted design which also provides support right where a c-section mom needs it. These are pricey and cost around $35 per pair, but may be worth the splurge for the first couple of weeks of healing. Find it here.
Postpartum Belly Wraps: the best and the benefits
Back to why c-section clients may receive abdominal binders, while vaginal birth clients do not. Following abdominal surgery, it is common for moms to feel like their “guts are hanging out.” They feel they need extra support in the first couple of days and weeks. The belly bands provide them the ability to get up, down, and move around with better ease. Compression leggings are also a good option for c-section patients. They provide support and comfort without an extra wrap to put on.
I don’t recommend a postpartum belly band for all new mothers. Moms who are experiencing vaginal heaviness or incontinence can actually cause further symptoms of pelvic prolapse after wearing belly bands. Mothers who have given birth vaginally may not need a belly band at all. Reasons one would be recommended are if the mother has given birth to multiples, if she had an overdistended uterus, or if she feels she needs one.
It’s a good idea to have your OB healthcare provider refer you to a physical therapist following the delivery of your baby. Many insurance companies now cover these visits. Our bodies go through so much in pregnancy and childbirth. A physical therapist can test your pelvic floor muscles, along with all of the essential muscles, and make a recovery plan that fits your needs. While some women have a weak pelvic floor, others have a tight pelvic floor and your recovery plan needs to fit your assessment.
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