6 Tips and Benefits of Wearing A Postpartum Belly Wrap
A Physical Therapist’s viewpoint on postpartum girdles and belly wraps; learn how to shrink your belly after giving birth with these 6 helpful tips and have a better understanding of the benefits to wearing one after pregnancy.
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
Did you know that there was even such a thing as a postpartum belly wrap (also known as a postpartum girdle)? Did you know that your waist line could shrink and your stomach can flatten in a matter of minutes after wearing one? Do you want to reduce the amount of looseness in your belly after just delivering a baby? I think we all would like that after 9 months of having our stomach stretched out, right?
It is possible to have those results with the use of postpartum girdles or belly wraps. Belly wraps and girdles help the uterus to shrink and return to its normal size quicker, thus helping your postpartum belly or your “belly that still appears as if you are pregnant” to go back to a flatter look.
**These wraps are not to help you lose weight or belly fat, but to help form and shape your midsection to appear flatter.
Postpartum Girdles and Belly Wraps
Let’s clarify something quickly. There are several names for these girdles. So when you are looking on the internet to buy something, check out all these names:
- Belly wraps
- Postpartum girdles
- Abdominal binders
- Postpartum wraps
- Postpartum corsets
- Postpartum binders
- Belly bands
- Belly binding wraps
Physical Therapy Approved: Postpartum Belly Wraps
As a physical therapist who went through childbirth 4 times, I highly recommend wearing a postpartum girdle. Later on in this post, I will explain the benefits to having one with you right after delivering your baby. However, right now I want to share with you what products I have used and what worked for me. Maybe my experiences can help shed some light on what to purchase when it comes time for you to pick out your own belly wrap.
My experiences with postpartum girdles have varied with each childbirth. With my first baby, I actually did not know about postpartum girdles until the very end of my pregnancy. I ended up delivering my baby 2.5 weeks before her due date and never had a chance to order one in time. I ended up borrowing a girdle from my sister-in-law. I loved the one she had. It was the Belly Bandit, and I was shocked how quickly my stomach returned back to its normal shape. (I’m wearing the Belly Bandit in this picture below).
This was my first baby, and I did not gain much weight to begin with, but I still had a large size pooch after giving birth. My uterus shrunk pretty quickly after using it for about 4 weeks. I loved how it stayed in place and looked seamless under my clothes. It was so easy to put on and just as quick to take it off. It was also easy to go to the bathroom while wearing it. I absolutely loved it.
I returned the Belly Bandit back to my sister-in-law after I was done using it and since she was pregnant with her 5th child, she was definitely going to need it back.
Unfortunately, I completely forgot about purchasing a new belly wrap when I was pregnant with my second baby.
When I delivered my second baby, I didn’t have anything to put on postpartum. I wasn’t very prepared this time around.
I remember having my husband run to Target and Dicks Sporting Goods to find some kind of abdominal binder or orthopedic back brace/support, but there was nothing feminine and form fitting for postpartum wear.
He found some generic abdominal binder in the athletic section of Dicks Sporting Goods, and I wore it for my newborn baby pictures. It basically didn’t work at all (as you can see in this picture of me which was taken 10 days postpartum). I still look very pregnant.
10 days postpartum after having my 2nd baby
So, later on I ordered one on Amazon, and due to my procrastination, I didn’t get to wear it until about 2.5 weeks postpartum. My results were a much slower than the first pregnancy
Even though I only gained 1 extra pound in my second pregnancy compared to my first, I did not get as good results the second time around due to the delay in starting to wear the girdle. The sooner you start wearing your postpartum girdle after delivery, the quicker the results you achieve with shrinking your belly size and shape.
During my 3rd pregnancy, I was more prepared. I spent some time doing research and looking at the best product for a good value. I’ll be honest, I was really trying to not spend a lot. I basically got what I paid for. I ordered a generic no-name 3-in-1 postpartum belly wrap on amazon. There are some pros and cons to this product.
Pro: IT WORKS!! Great compression, three different parts for added tightening and forming around your waist, hips and pelvis. It’s very adjustable, one size fits all, breathable and is safe for gradual progression early on during postpartum.
CONS: It slides up on your torso (especially when sitting), makes it difficult to move around while wearing and is not able to be worn under form fitting clothing (or anything flattering, like dressing up for church). It was too bulky and not seamless. I basically could only wear it around the house or under sweatshirts when I went out.
I wore it pretty religiously when I was at home. I wore it during the day but not at night. I would even take it off while nursing because at times it was too bulky and difficult to get into a comfortable position. But overall, I was very satisfied with the results, which were very quick and at times, instant.
This picture was taken 10 days postpartum after having my 3rd child.
10 days postpartum after having my 3rd baby
My 4th pregnancy: I wore the same one, since I had it already, but I regretted not buying a better quality one. My delivery date was in March, and I was excited to wear light-weight, spring clothes, but the generic 3-in-1 postpartum wrap that I had was just not fitting well under my clothes. I felt so uncomfortable going out. I know I would have had more confidence in myself and felt more comfortable if I was wearing something that I could bend over in and move around well in when taking care of my kids out in public, like at church.
I couldn’t even bend over to get to the back of my van to put the kids into their car seats because my girdle kept riding up. I really should have spent the extra money and got something that I would feel comfortable wearing for several hours throughout the day – something that I could wear under any outfit. I needed one that could get the job done and actually stay in place.
10 days postpartum after having my 4th baby
Now from doing more research, I think I would have liked to get a belly bandit again, which was the first one I used and borrowed from my sister-in-law. It was the most form fitting and streamlined. It was easy to move around in and was providing enough compression to help shrink my uterus. I highly recommend that for wearing in public.
When To Start Wearing A Postpartum Girdle?
I started day one after returning home from the hospital. It is safe to use it for 4-10 weeks, but I want to stress something important. You will gain the maximum benefit of the girdle if you start as soon as possible after delivery (no earlier than day 2 postpartum). The sooner you start, the better.
Your uterus is contracting and naturally returning back to its normal size after delivering your baby. The girdle is like an assistant to your already shrinking uterus. It’s giving an extra little “push” as your uterus starts to change its shape; the girdle helps it move faster to achieve the goals it is intended to accomplish.
**If you had a C-section delivery, you should check with your doctor first prior to wearing any type of compression garment around your trunk. You would not want to interfere with the natural healing of your incision or increase the risk for an infection to develop. The doctor will let you know when he/she approves wearing a girdle.
How Many Hours Should You Wear A Postpartum Girdle?
I recommend a gradual progression of wear time. Start with 2 hours the first day and work up to 12 hours a day. If you can tolerate more hours in one day, that’s fine. You won’t cause any damage. I just recommend checking your skin for any irritation. I also recommend removing the girdle while sleeping. It provides maximum benefit during moments of the day when you are up and active.
6 Postpartum Girdle Helpful Tips:
1. Read the rest of this blog to learn the benefits to wearing a belly wrap/postpartum girdle
2. Do a bit of research and read reviews on what wraps are out there (but if you don’t want to spend time doing that, go with my recommendation and buy a Belly Bandit.
3. Buy one prior then your due date so you have it ready to go after you deliver your baby
4. Commit to wearing the wrap as often as you can from the day you get home from the hospital until 4-10 weeks postpartum.
5. Exercise according to your doctor’s recommendations and guidelines (and after you receive clearance at your 6 week postpartum check-up). I highly recommend you begin with these postpartum core exercises first, which are safe and easy to do from home.
6. Eat healthy during your pregnancy and postpartum
6 Benefits to Postpartum Belly Wraps
1. Tactile Cues
Belly wraps are an added tactile cue to your core to remind you to tighten your belly (and it’s a reminder in various positions like standing doing the dishes or sitting while you are nursing).
When your girdle starts to feel uncomfortable or tight the longer you are wearing it, use that as a reminder to draw in your belly and perform abdominal bracing exercises by tightening your core muscles.
2. Assists With Uterine Contractions and Helps Uterus Return To Normal Size
During pregnancy your uterus has stretched out several times its normal size. Then after giving birth, it will naturally contract back down to nearly its original size. This can take a few weeks. An added bonus is if your are nursing, your uterus contractions are stimulated more. Usually around the 6 week mark, when you go back for your postpartum check-up with your gynecologist, your uterus should have healed and bleeding should have diminished (your doctor will check how well your uterus healed during your follow-up visit). The girdle is just another way to jump start the uterus to return back to its smaller self.
3. Abdominal Support
It helps support your belly post C-section and can protect you (remember to check with your doctor first to see if/when you are allowed to begin wearing it because of the healing incision site). Since your muscles in your abdomen have been stretched (and you may have a condition called diastasis recti), your muscles are not working at their optimum level.
The worst thing you can do to yourself is to further strain your abdominal muscles while doing your daily activities such as sitting up in bed, twisting while getting out of the car or simply by picking up your newborn.
Have the support from a binder or girdle, especially initially after giving birth, so that you are less likely to strain and cause further injury to your already weakened core. Remember though – no brace or supportive garment fully takes the place of good-old-fashioned active control of your own muscles in your body!
This goes hand in hand with abdominal support. Along with the weakness you might have in your abdomen, you also could have excessive weakness in your back muscles. Or maybe you strained your back after months of carrying the heavy load in your belly. The postpartum girdles can help support your back temporarily, but I highly recommend not relying solely on a girdle for back support because in the long run it will hinder your core strength due to your muscles relying on the support from the girdle instead of your muscles developing naturally.
5. Self Confidence
Gives the appearance of a flatter belly underneath clothing-a quick cosmetic fix! This does not mean you lose belly fat quickly, it just means your belly is shaped to be more flat and is squished together inside the wrap. It helps form your belly into a flatter look and thus looks more flattering under your clothes.
Quicker progress in belly shrinkage helps motivate you more. You will develop a stronger drive to continue exercising, eat healthy and lose more weight since you are already on the right track to shrinking and restructuring your belly shape and form. It’s like a snowball effect.
Now that you understand the benefits to postpartum girdles and you think it’s the right choice for you, I recommend you pick out the belly wrap that is best for your lifestyle and buy your wrap ahead of time. Have it in advance, about 2-4 weeks before your due date. You never know, your little bundle of joy might surprise you a couple weeks earlier than planned like my firstborn did!
I do want to clarify that there is no evidence out there stating that postpartum girdles help you to lose weight, and the best and most evidenced-based way to lose weight is to exercise accompanied by healthy eating (meals low in saturated fat and high in fiber).
But my overall conclusion of belly bands, postpartum girdles and belly wraps is that they assist the uterus during shrinkage, restructuring your belly shape and form in a way which allows your core muscles to activate at its optimal ability. Along with those benefits, the wraps have an added benefit of acting as a tactile cue or a “reminder” to tighten your core muscles while wearing the tightly fitting garment. This makes it more likely that you will continually activate your core muscles throughout the day while doing your normal daily activities.
I hope this was informative for you. If you have any questions about postpartum girdles and related products, proper use of the girdles or supplemental exercises to do while wearing the wraps, comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts on the wrap(s) that you have tried postpartum.
Up next, continue reading 4 Beginner Core Exercises For Your Postpartum Recovery and Diastasis Recti.
Dr. Jena Bradley, DPT
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
About Dr. Jena Bradley
Jena is a mom of 4 darling little girls, a physical therapist and founder of Live Core Strong, a blog focusing on motivating moms to live a life that incorporates fitness and fun throughout their motherhood journey. She aims to be the friend you always wanted to have who could guide you through the “fog” when faced with an “I don’t know what to do” mommy moment. At the most inconvenient time of her life, she embarked on a journey of sharing her story and expertise to inspire the next generation of healthy moms. You can learn more about Jena by visitng her ABOUT page.