There’s indeed no feeling in the world quite like the way you feel the first time you hold your little one in your arms. You forget both everything you’ve gone through in your pregnancy and the pain you are currently in after bringing them into the world and for a moment, the sound of that first cry becomes the most beautiful sound you’ve ever heard.
However, not too long after that, you start thinking about what comes next. You are sore and exhausted, and you begin to wonder when your body will make a full recovery. Well, the first thing you need to know is that your body is going to be different than it was before the baby came. And that’s OK, you’ve just accomplished an amazing thing! So it’s going to be a few weeks before you recover fully.
Sometimes you may find that you need a little extra support for your abdomen to help speed things up a bit. That’s where postpartum belts come in. Wondering whether postpartum belts are safe or not? Well, this guide is going to cover exactly this and more. We’ll also offer a few recommendations of some of the best options that you are going to love.
This post is all about postpartum belts.
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What is a postpartum belt and what does it do?
A postpartum belt is also often called many things: postpartum girdle, postpartum belly wrap, postpartum belly band, or post-pregnancy girdle. All these terms refer to the same thing: a tummy-compression garment that is designed to fit around your post-pregnancy belly to help your muscles recover better.
Postpartum belts help reduce post-pregnancy pain and soreness, especially after a C-section. They also increase the rate at which your body heals to go back to its pre-pregnancy state as all the organs and muscles in your abdomen start to move back to where they were before your pregnancy. Finally, they can also go a long way in improving your silhouette after you’ve just had a baby, giving you a much-needed confidence boost.
So, are postpartum belts safe?
Women have been wrapping materials around their bellies to help support themselves and keep their abdomens in place for hundreds of years. This process has been shown to help improve the healing process after delivery.
This tells us that postpartum belts are safe and have been relied on for centuries if done correctly. Today, they are especially useful for women who have just had a cesarean delivery. When you have a c-section, your tissues and muscles are cut from the outside to get to your baby. Postpartum belts will ensure that all your muscles heal correctly by holding them in the right place.
Postpartum belts can also provide support to your pelvic floor as it heals. It holds all your muscles and ligaments in place as everything else falls back into its right position.
Additionally, postpartum belts can help make the transition period after delivery more comfortable. They can help reduce the pain, bleeding, and discomfort that comes with post-pregnancy recovery.
When are postpartum belts not safe?
While postpartum belts are generally safe and have lots of benefits, they also have some risks, such as:
- Itchiness or rash
- Too much pressure on the abdomen
- Pain and discomfort
- Pelvic floor prolapse
All these issues occur as a result of using the wrong postpartum belt or wearing your postpartum belt too tightly. Therefore, you need to be careful as you select your postpartum belts. We have outlined lots of tips below to help you do so.
You also want to think of your postpartum belt as a support tool, not a weight loss solution. When you wear it too tightly, it’ll only do more harm than good.
What are the benefits of postpartum belts?
Several studies support the numerous benefits of postpartum belts. For example, one study found that women who had c-section deliveries made faster recoveries when they wore postpartum belts than women who did not. They experienced less bleeding, pain, and discomfort than their counterparts!
Here are some other benefits of postpartum belts:
- They help promote abdominal recovery after delivery
- They encourage increased blood floor to the abdomen
- They help stabilize the pelvic floor after delivery
- They reduce fluid retention and swelling in the abdomen
- They are a great way to reduce the back pain that comes with post-partum recovery
- They’ll help improve your posture and make you more mobile after delivery
- Because they provide much-needed support to your abdomen, they make the healing process smoother and also make post-pregnancy workouts more comfortable
- They are also great for promoting healing if you’ve had diastasis recti. This is where your abdominal muscles remain separated after delivery. The postpartum belt will gently compress these muscles, allowing them to close sooner.
Postpartum belts worth purchasing:
Perfect for C-section and natural birth, this micro-net fabric garment is an FDA-listed medical device that helps speed up postpartum recovery time. You could expect gentle compression designed to reduce swelling post-delivery. This garment also helps with various postpartum pains including lower back, hips, and pelvic girdle, and assists with poor posture.
A great all-in-one option is this 3 in 1 postpartum recovery support girdle. This girdle not only helps reduce swelling, lower back pain, and corrects posture, it also helps support core abdominal muscles and assists in bringing your uterus to its original size faster, and safely. Each belt serves a purpose and targets a specific area of the body, so you have the choice to wear one, two, or all three at the same time or based on your preference and needs postpartum.
Made with bamboo charcoal material, this belly band is designed to wear right after birthing your baby, and with medical approval. The bone-free design allows for a more comfortable compression of the abdomen and helps reduce pain, especially after a c-section. It’s made to be non-slip, no-roll up, and non-shrink, so once you put it on, it should work with your body and offer the intended support.
Bengkunk belly binding is a more traditional approach that offers similar functions as the products above. Originating in Malaysia, this type of wrap is meant to help diastasis recti, the core, and the pelvic floor by wrapping a long cloth in a very specific manner across the body. This type of wrap hugs the body and provides both comfort and support to the new mother postpartum.
What to consider when wearing a postpartum belt:
As you can see, you have lots of options when choosing postpartum belts. At the end of the day, the one you choose to go for is a matter of personal taste.
Here are some of the main things to consider when wearing a postpartum belt:
- Length: postpartum belts come in a wide variety of lengths. The longer they are, the harder most people find it to use them.
- Closure style: they also come in various closure styles. The most popular are velcro and hook-and-eye closures, but this is a matter of personal preference as they all do the same thing.
- Budget: set your budget first before looking at postpartum belts as they are available in a wide range of price points.
Additionally, here are a few tips for when you wear your postpartum belt that will make your experience a lot more comfortable:
- Postpartum belts should ideally be worn directly on bare skin to make going to the bathroom easier.
- Do not wear them too tight. You should not have trouble breathing, walking, or sitting up straight when you have a postpartum belt on.
- Sometimes, especially early on, you may need help putting your postpartum belt on.
- If you notice that you have to take shallow breaths when you have the postpartum belt on, take it off and readjust it.
Finally, you need to remember that your postpartum belt will be most effective when you also take proper care of yourself post-pregnancy. Rest a lot (get as much sleep as you can!), eat a healthy diet, and drink lots of water. And you’ll notice the positive effects a lot sooner.
What to consider when buying a postpartum belt:
- Convenience: You want your postpartum belt to be easy to put on, easy to take off, easy to adjust, and be able to stay in place for as long as you need it to. They also come in a wide variety of closure styles, including velcro, hook-and-eye, and pull-on styles. Choose the one that works for you.
- Measurements: Before buying any postpartum belt, take your measurements and compare them to the size chart on the brand’s website. Your postpartum belt should be snug without being too tight. It should also not affect your breathing or movement.
- Design: The main postpartum belt styles are midsection and longline. Midsection styles are great for general support and do not feel too restrictive. Longline styles start below your bust and end at the hips. They are more restrictive and are great for improving your posture as well.
- Material: Go for something that’s made entirely of breathable moisture-wicking materials that will be comfortable to have on your skin for extended periods.
- Budget: There is a postpartum belt for every price point, so have a good idea of what your budget is before you start to shop for a postpartum belt.
If you have any doubts about your risk factors when it comes to using postpartum belts, consult your doctor or physical therapist for personalized advice.
How long do you need to wear a postpartum belt to see results?
For the best results, experts recommend wearing a postpartum belt for 12 hours a day for at least 30 days. You can keep wearing it for up to 2-4 months postpartum. You also get the maximum benefit the earlier you start, so you want to start putting it on as soon as possible.
That said, start wearing your postpartum belt no earlier than 2 days postpartum if you had a vaginal delivery. If you had a c-section, start wearing it after you have been discharged from the hospital.
The first time you wear it, only do so for around an hour just to test it out. Then gradually increase this duration by two hours every day until you can tolerate it for 12 hours a day.
When is it too late to wear a postpartum belt?
Your uterus experiences its fastest contraction rate between 2 days postpartum and 6 weeks postpartum. During this time, you’ll get the most benefit out of wearing a postpartum belt.
However, you can still get the benefits up to 4 months postpartum. This is the recovery period when any amount of compression on the abdomen will yield some benefits.
If you are more than 4 months postpartum, you’ll have to decide whether the costs of buying a postpartum belt outweigh the benefits you’re going to reap for just a few weeks.
If you are at the 5th or 6th-month postpartum mark, it’s probably too late to invest in a postpartum belt. You’ll benefit more from regular core workout sessions.
The only benefit you’ll get out of a postpartum belt after six months is the extra support and posture help. It will not help to reposition your organs or muscles.
Who should avoid wearing a postpartum belt?
Postpartum belts may not be perfect for everyone. If you have a c-section incision that is not healing as it should, or you had a condition like preeclampsia, a postpartum belt may do more harm than good.
For this reason, you should always be cleared by your doctor before using a postpartum belt.
When you are pregnant, your body goes through a lot. Not only do you gain weight but also your belly muscles expand and all your internal organs get rearranged. And this process takes 9 months!
Therefore, it is completely unrealistic to expect everything to go back to normal immediately after giving birth. You have to be patient with your body and give it some time to recover.
Besides, who cares if your body doesn’t “bounce back”? You have just done an amazing thing giving birth and you should be immensely proud of yourself (and your body!).
At the end of the day, there is no postpartum belt that can offer guaranteed results. However, using a good postpartum belt as advised by your doctor may offer the support you need along with a healing boost to make a proper recovery from labor and delivery.
And with the tips and recommendations offered above, choosing the best one for you should not be difficult. Good luck!
This post is all about postpartum belts.
Ghana, Samieh, et al. “Randomized Controlled Trial of Abdominal Binders for Postoperative Pain, Distress, and Blood Loss after Cesarean Delivery.” International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, vol. 137, no. 3, 2017, pp. 271–76. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.1002/ijgo.12134.
Huizen, Jennifer. “What Are the Benefits of Belly Bands and Belts?” Medical News Today, 5 Nov. 2018, www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323583#summary.
Smith-Garcia, Dorian. “How Belly Binding Can Help With Recovery After Delivery.” Healthline, 19 Apr. 2020, www.healthline.com/health/postpartum-belly-binding#why-its-effective.