We’ve all heard about the benefits of binding your belly after childbirth. A postpartum girdle or corset (also known as Belly Binding) is more than just shapewear. A good compression garment is designed to aid the body in recovery, particularly for those who are recovering from Diastasis Recti. 

There are many different versions of Belly Binding that have become popular methods for women to return their bodies to their pre-pregnancy shape. 

How does Belly Binding help after pregnancy?

Regaining movement and function in the body is the goal of most postpartum women.  

Here are a few ways a belly binder may help you achieve this:

  1. It provides postural support.
Women with back pain

Having a wrap around your hips and abdomen can help to hold your body upright to ensure movements in a safe and optimal position. After childbirth, mothers often experience lower back pain due to weakened abdominal muscles and poor posture. Having a support improves your posture and reduces the stress on your spine, which are vital components in rebuilding your abdominal and back muscular strength. 

  1. It may promote muscle recovery. 
Women with abs

A belly bind retracts the abdominal wall muscles towards the midsection. If you experience separation of your left and right abdominal muscles, this retraction may allow your connective tissues to strengthen and support these principal muscles more optimally.  The pressure exerted by the binder also stimulates these muscles’ natural responses to activate and contract, thereby strengthening over time.

  1. It may reduce postpartum bleeding.

By hugging your midsection together, the light compression of a wrap may help shrink the uterus and reduce your postpartum bleeding period.

  1. It may speed up recovery of C-section incision. 

Without compression or support, movements often cause immense pain at the site of the incision. A belly bind compresses over the incision and secures it, relieving the pain and reducing swelling.

Are there any downsides to Belly Binding?

There are a few cons to consider when deciding whether to belly bind. Here are a few:

  1. It may be uncomfortable.
Women with back pain

Many people may find the constant contraction of their abdomen uncomfortable and restrictive, especially with the long binding hours. 

  1. It may disrupt natural breathing. 
Women with breathing problems

Having your belly binded disrupts the natural breathing pattern, especially if it is wrapped too tightly. The diaphragm is unable to contract as lowly and may result in shallower and quicker breathing.

  1. Organ prolapse
pelvic organ prolapse

Organ prolapse could occur when the belly is bound too tightly or when the wrap does not reach the hips. The pressure on the midsection pushes the organs downward and may worsen the already weakened pelvic floor.  Recognise this prolapse by observing if you feel a pull or heaviness in your perineum or pelvis. 

  1. Interference with fashion 

Having a wrap around your belly will place limitations on your clothing choices. Consider if your closet is ready as well!

What can’t a Belly Binder do for me? 

The effectiveness of a belly binder has its limitations. Here are a few to know:  

  1. It does not promise effective or authentic muscle building and recovery.
women doing reverse planks

Reliance on an external support sometimes means that you end up losing out on a proper building of postural and movement awareness. The brace effect of a belly binder acts as a short-term solution to assist recovery, but does not provide any direct development of bodily awareness and muscular strength for the long term. When one is overly-reliant on the brace, muscles may end up relaxing its support for the body, gradually weakening themselves.

  1. It cannot fix Diastasis Recti. 

Diastasis Recti (DR) refers to a separation gap of 2.7cm or more between the left and right abdominal muscles. A belly binder would not be able to close this gap if muscular strength in the core and pelvic floor is not regained through proper exercises or treatments. 

How can today’s medical technology help?

Authentic muscular strength building is paramount to helping the body regain its original form. Regardless of your decision to belly bind, this is a recovery component that if neglected would result in more problems. With today’s advancement in medical technology, there are methods to promote muscle recovery and strength faster and more effectively. 

Orchard Clinic offers a variety of treatments that can help you through this process by increasing awareness and strength, effectively speeding up the overall recovery process. 

  1. Electromagnetic Therapy 

One of the biggest challenges of strength building is understanding what exercises to do and getting down to it. Our electromagnetic therapy utilises a technology that can stimulate up to 20,000 muscular contractions, thereby strengthening and toning the abdominal and gluteal muscles painlessly, quickly and effectively. This results in firmer, leaner and more well-toned muscles around, and is especially good for treating DR. You may combine this with actual physical floorwork to enhance the recovery experience. 

  1. Exilis Ultrasound & RadioFrequency 

Our skin undergoes tremendous changes after pregnancy. Even back at pre-pregnancy shape, some of us still experience skin laxity, which feels like loose and deteriorated skin. On top of that, there may also be stubborn fat that does not leave with exercise. If these are problems for you, consider our Exilis Ultrasound and Radio Frequency Therapy. Utilizing a combination of radio frequency and ultrasound, the technology helps to increase elastin and collagen from within so that you may experience tighter, firmer skin and bodily contours on the outside. 

  1. Shockwave Therapy

Two other conditions that often accompany the postpartum body are Stretch marks and Cellulite. It is important to know that the sooner you treat Stretch Marks and Cellulite, the higher your chances of recovery.  

Stretch marks

women with stretch marks

When our skin is pulled too tightly, especially during times such as pregnancy, the supporting layers of tissue beneath it experience tiny tears. This becomes visible streaks on our skin. Commonly occurring in areas such as the belly and thighs, stretch marks can come in red, brown, yellow or purplish hues. Most women experience stretch marks during and after pregnancy and may find it difficult to minimize its appearance quickly even with considerable effort. 

Cellulite 

women with cellulite

Another frequent skin struggle that troubles postpartum women, Cellulite occurs when the skin and connective tissues beneath become rippled and uneven. 

cellulite layers

Women’s skin, fat cells and connective tissue are vertically arranged. When the skin overlying certain areas of fat is pulled downward to the deeper tissues by connective tissue bands, allowing the protrusion of fat cells into the skin, it gives the appearance of cellulite in the form of wrinkles and lumping. The visibility can become more pronounced with age as the skin thins and loses elasticity with decreased collagen production. It can often be difficult to treat cellulite without therapy as breaking up of underlying connective tissue bands is required.  

pregnant woman with baby

If the appearance of Stretch marks and Cellulite on the skin bothers you,  Shockwave Therapy will be an appropriate solution. Energetic, acoustic waves penetrate connective tissues to break down enlarged fat cells, promote lymphatic drainage and stimulate collagen production. The rejuvenated connective tissues improve skin elasticity to attain an overall firmer, smoother and tighter appearance.

Conclusion

A belly binder is a good option for assisting postpartum recovery. The support and compression provided by the wrap can inspire positive effects through the body, especially in the spine. However, its action as an external support system is likely to be inadequate in the long term. Ultimately, aim to develop personal posture and movement awareness as well as stronger core muscles through exercises or professional therapy.

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Orchard Clinic is a specialised centre for Postnatal and Postpartum conditions, helping clients achieve healthy and pain-free lifestyles.

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