Do Postpartum Belly Belts Really Work?
A Postpartum Belt After C-section Delivery
No matter whether you call it a postpartum belt, a compression wrap, a postpartum girdle, an abdominal binder, or simply a belly wrap, the idea behind all these are essentially the same. If you have had a C-section, you may be prescribed a postpartum belt to be used during your recovery process.
To begin, postpartum belts are the specially designed elastic garments that can encircle and compress your abdomen. Although abdominal wrapping or stomach wrapping is trendy today, we should understand that this is just a new name for the old concept. The idea behind these postpartum belts is that the material with which the belt is made of will protect your surgical incision, while the belt’s compression helps reduce pain after a C-section delivery. But, the benefits of using a postpartum belt do not stop here.
What is Stomach Wrapping and What is a Postpartum Belt?
For centuries, newly delivered mothers are asked to wrap their bellies using a cloth in various cultures. During your pregnancy, your body, more importantly, your stomach area will open up so much as your uterus and abdominal walls extend to accommodate the growing fetus. As a result of this, fat gets accumulated in these areas. After the delivery, these muscles don’t contract instantly and the fat will not disappear. Thus, the newly delivered mother will look like she is still in her 7th month of pregnancy.
A postpartum girdle or a maternity belt is a cloth that can be used to tie the stomach tightly to provide support to the abdominal muscles and organs. It’s believed that this procedure will help the organs that are flabby to go back to their original positions.
How Does a Postpartum Belly Belt Work?
As mentioned earlier, the popularity of postpartum belts has its roots in the tradition across various cultures worldwide. Although there is only a little scientific evidence to back the benefits of postpartum belts, they are believed to do the following things:
- Posture correction
- Stomach muscle toning
- Faster flat tummy
- Internal organs support
- Back support
- Back pain reduction
- Instant tummy tucking
- An increased comfort for movement
To put it simply, a postpartum belt is about getting active again after delivery, gaining confidence and comfort quickly, relieving back and muscle pain, and recovering from a C-section delivery quickly.
When Should You Start Wearing a Postpartum Belt?
According to some doctors, the newly delivered moms should wait at least 24 hours after childbirth before they start wearing a postpartum belt. If it’s a natural vaginal delivery, you can begin wrapping your belly within a few hours after delivery. But, in the case of C-section births, it’s advisable to wait until your wound is healed sufficiently before you start wrapping your stomach. This could mean at least 6 to 8 weeks. While this is a general timeframe, you are advised to consult with your doctor about the best time to start wrapping your stomach as she will have the most knowledge of your body and health.
Not only is the time of starting to wear a postpartum belt is important, but it’s equally important to know how to wear it. Initially, start with a couple of hours and see how you feel about it. From there, you can decide how much you want to use it, depending on your comfort levels. Most postpartum belt companies recommend using it all day and night, except when you are showering, for 30 to 60 days.
Also, make sure that you are not wrapping yourself too tight because too much compression can affect your healing. You must be able to breathe comfortably with your postpartum belt on. And, you should not feel limited in your movements while your stomach is wrapped. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, you should take it off immediately.
Do Postpartum Belts Really Work?
According to medical experts, abdominal binders have been prescribed for newly delivered mothers for a long time. They say these abdominal wraps help them recover from a delivery, vaginal or C-section, with the posture, support, and self-confidence.
Some doctors claim that postpartum belts can even help close the separated abdominal muscles in a condition called diastasis recti.
In addition to helping close your separated abdominal muscles and other benefits that are mentioned above, other purported benefits linked to wearing postpartum belts include helping your uterus shrink back to normal size, reducing pain, and protecting your C-section incision.
Let’s See What Doctors and Research Say…
While most doctors recommend postpartum belts to their patients, some think they are not very helpful. Now, our only option is to look at the available scientific evidence. We looked at the following research studies to get a clear idea:
- A 2010 study showed that abdominal binders helped patients walk farther than those who did not wear them following a major abdominal surgery. This study concluded that elasticized abdominal belts give a non-invasive treatment for improving walk performance, managing pain and distress, and improving patients’ overall experience.
- A 2017 study showed that patients who used abdominal binders after a C-section delivery experienced less pain than the patients who did not use them.
- A 2018 study showed that elastic abdominal binders may be associated with enhanced postoperative pain scores after a C-section delivery. It concluded that elastic postpartum belts are a promising non-pharmacologic way to decrease post-operative pain during recovery after a C-section delivery.
While all the above studies gave us the positive results associated with the use of postpartum belts after a C-section delivery, we can see that all the research studies, so far, looked at the results only a few days after surgery. Deeper insights are possible only if the studies are conducted with an aim of long-term effects of using a postpartum belt.
For now, we can conclude that there appear no harmful side effects associated with the use of postpartum belts, except when they are not used rightly. So, with all the positive effects that are mentioned above, you can start wearing a high-quality postpartum belt now.