After the amazing yet physically exhausting experience of childbirth (yay new baby!), many new moms wonder when and if they should start wearing a postpartum girdle and whether it’s actually beneficial for their recovery.
Postpartum girdles, also known as abdominal binders, belly bands, or postpartum belly wraps, have gained popularity among new moms looking for extra belly support during their postpartum journey.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the benefits, things to consideration, and best practices for wearing a postpartum girdle, as well as the most ideal time to start using one.
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What Happens to the Postpartum Body
During pregnancy, the abdominal muscles stretch to accommodate your growing baby and the internal organs undergo significant changes.
After childbirth, the body gradually returns to its pre-pregnancy state, but this healing process takes time.
The abdominal muscles may be weakened, and the abdominal wall can be stretched or separated, leading to a condition called diastasis recti.
Additionally, new moms often experience lower back pain due to the strain on their core muscles during pregnancy and delivery.
These are all body changes you should talk with your doctor about at your 6 week appointment or at some of your last appointments before going into labor.
Benefits of Postpartum Girdles
So what can postpartum abdominal wraps do to help?
Postpartum girdles provide additional support to the abdominal area, lower back, and pelvis, assisting in the recovery of postpartum women, whether they have had a vaginal or cesarean delivery (c-section).
These postpartum belly wraps can offer gentle compression and help improve posture, reducing strain on the abdominal muscles and promoting better alignment of the spine.
By offering support to the weakened abdominal muscles, a girdle can help reduce lower back pain that many new moms feel.
For women who have a c-section, a postpartum belt can provide extra support to the incision area, helping you heal after having this major abdominal surgery.
The compression from the wrap also helps reduce swelling and promotes proper blood circulation, which can speed up your recovery.
When Is The Right Time to Start Wearing a Postpartum Girdle
So what’s the best time to start wearing a postpartum girdle?
The ideal time to start wearing a postpartum girdle varies from woman to woman.
Generally, it is recommended to wait for the green light from your healthcare provider, which is typically around two weeks postpartum for vaginal delivery and six to eight weeks postpartum for cesarean delivery.
During this time, the body needs to heal and adjust naturally.
Once you receive the go-ahead, you can begin wearing a postpartum girdle for additional support and comfort during your daily activities.
You’ll get the best results if you wear it consistently.
It’s best to look for girdles made from breathable fabrics like bamboo or lightweight materials that promote airflow to prevent discomfort or irritation.
Postpartum Girdle Considerations
When choosing a postpartum girdle, think about the level of support you need and your personal preferences.
Some girdles offer adjustable compression to accommodate changes in swelling and bloating, while others provide more rigid support.
Choose a girdle that fits well and provides a good balance between comfort and support.
It’s important to know that a postpartum girdle is not a magical solution for weight loss and shouldn’t be thought of that way.
While it can aid in the process by offering gentle compression and reminding you to engage your core muscles, it’s essential for new moms to focus on healthy eating, exercise, and patience for long-term results.
Remember, your body went through incredible changes during pregnancy, and it takes time to return to your pre-pregnancy shape.
Additionally, if you experience any discomfort or pain while wearing a postpartum girdle, consult with a healthcare professional or a physical therapist. They can assess your situation and provide guidance specific for your needs.
My Experience With Using a Postpartum Abdominal Binder
With my second pregnancy, I decided to try a postpartum belly band and after a lot of research landed on the BELLY BANDIT – Original Postpartum Belly Wrap.
I ordered my normal size (medium) and hoped for the best.
While it wasn’t cheap, about $50, I figured the worst that could happen would be that I hated it and I could just take it off.
No one was forcing me to use it and what could it hurt?
My Thoughts on the Belly Bandit – Original Postpartum Belly Wrap
I loved that the belly bandit had up to 9″ of adjustability so you can continue to tighten the wrap as you size down (you’ll read below why this was important!).
It also was soft and comfortable, eased back pain, and helped me to feel supported in my new postpartum body.
My uterine contractions were definitely more intense during my second postpartum period, so having the postpartum band add extra compression felt better to me.
Wearing the Belly Bandit Belly Support for the First Time
I planned to use my postpartum belly wrap in the hospital the day my baby was born.
But, man! Was it TIGHT.
I couldn’t even get the velcro to meet and fit me that first day, so I waited.
But by day 2, with my husbands help, I was able to wear the belly bandit.
I kind of liked the way it felt.
Yes, it was definitely tight, but it wasn’t itchy and it felt kind of good to feel like my abdomen was secure.
I would wear it for several hours a day, but sometimes I’d get tired of it and take it off.
If it wasn’t in the right spot, it would definitely dig in while I sat.
So did it work for ME?
I appreciated the support, but never wore the belly belt as religiously as they recommended.
I did get a flat belly eventually postpartum, but contribute a lot of that to regular walks and exercise.
Re-Using the Belly Bandit for My Next Postpartum
Since I enjoyed the feeling of light compression after my baby, I decided to try using my same Belly Bandit after my 3rd baby as well.
The postpartum corset was in great shape and looked like new except for the folds and bends created in it during my last postpartum stage.
Unfortunately, those bends made it a lot more uncomfortable this postpartum and I did not wear it very often.
Don’t forget, that it’s recommended to consult with your healthcare provider before using any postpartum wrap to ensure it is suitable for your specific needs and recovery process.
Is My Postpartum Belly Binder Covered By Insurance?
When I bought my postpartum belly bandit wrap, I had NO idea that it could possibly have been covered by insurance.
I just bought it with my own money, because I thought that was what you did!
However, I encourage you to do a little digging into your insurance or HSA/FSA to see if you can get it covered, just like you can get a breast pump covered.
The coverage of a postpartum belly binder by insurance varies depending on your insurance plan and the specific terms and conditions outlined by your policy. Some insurance plans may provide coverage for postpartum belly binders as part of postpartum care, while others may not.
To figure out if your postpartum belly binder is covered by insurance, it is best to contact your insurance provider directly. They can provide you with detailed information about the coverage and any requirements or documentation needed to submit a claim (Sometimes you need special doctors notes or have to be so many months postpartum).
Inquire about the specific codes or criteria that need to be met for reimbursement so you can request that from your doctor.
Additionally, it’s a great idea to consult with your healthcare provider on anything they recommend. They may be able to provide guidance and assist in documenting the medical necessity of a postpartum belly binder, which could support your insurance claim.
Remember to keep records of any discussions, correspondence, and receipts related to your postpartum belly binder, as these may be required during the claims process.
When can I wear a girdle after birth?
The ideal time to start wearing a girdle after giving birth varies, depending on the type of delivery and individual circumstances.
In general, it’s best to wait for the okay from your healthcare provider.
For women who had a vaginal birth, this is typically around two weeks postpartum, while those who had a c-section may need to wait until around six to eight weeks postpartum.
It’s important to allow your body time to heal naturally before introducing additional support; however, listen to your doctor’s advice and follow their medical instruction.
Does wearing a girdle help flatten your stomach after pregnancy?
Wearing a girdle or postpartum belly wrap can provide gentle compression and support to the abdominal area, which may help to flatten the stomach after pregnancy.
The compression can assist in shrinking the uterus, reducing swelling, and supporting the abdominal muscles as they regain strength.
However, it’s important to remember that a girdle alone is not a guarantee for a flat stomach.
Eat healthy, get regular exercise, and give your body time to heal.
These are all important factors in restoring your pre-pregnancy body shape.
How long does it take to tighten loose belly skin after pregnancy?
The time it takes to tighten loose belly skin after pregnancy varies for every person.
It can depend on factors such as genetics, skin elasticity, weight gain during pregnancy, and how well you take care of your body postpartum.
In general, it can take several months to a year or more for the skin to regain its elasticity and tighten naturally.
Having consistent exercise, a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and maintaining a healthy weight can all contribute to improving your skin elasticity and promoting tighter abdominal skin over time.
Does breastfeeding make you lose weight?
Breastfeeding can help some women lose weight fairly quickly after birth.
It burns calories and can help with postpartum weight loss. However the amount of weight loss varies from person to person.
Some women may hold on to some excess weight until they are done breastfeeding, and just can’t seem to lose weight while breastfeeding.
It’s important to note that weight loss should be approached in a healthy and gradual manner.
A balanced diet and regular exercise are essential for overall weight management.
It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian for personalized guidance on nutrition and weight loss while breastfeeding to ensure both you and your baby are getting all the necessary nutrients you need.
Can you reuse a postpartum wrap the next time you’re in the a postpartum period?
In general, it’s definitely possible to reuse a postpartum wrap for subsequent postpartum periods. However, there are a few things you need to consider:
1. Condition: Ensure that the postpartum wrap is still in good condition. Check for any signs of wear and tear, such as stretched elastic, fraying fabric, or damaged closures. A wrap that is in good shape will provide the necessary support and compression.
2. Size: Confirm that the postpartum wrap still fits you properly. The size of your abdomen may have changed between pregnancies, so make sure the wrap is not too tight or too loose. A proper fit is important for effective support and comfort.
3. Hygiene: Keep in mind that hygiene is important when reusing a postpartum wrap. Ensure that it has been properly cleaned and sanitized before using it again. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for washing and caring for the wrap.
4. Personal preference: Consider your own comfort and preferences. Some women may prefer to use a new postpartum wrap for each pregnancy, while others may choose to reuse the same one. It ultimately depends on your comfort level and the condition of the wrap.
As said many times, it’s always a good idea to talk with your healthcare provider for personalized advice on postpartum recovery and the use of postpartum wraps for subsequent pregnancies. They can give you guidance based on your individual circumstances and help you make an informed decision.
When and Why to Wear a Postpartum Girdle: A Comprehensive Guide
Deciding when to start wearing a postpartum girdle and whether it’s the right choice for you depends on many factors, including your recovery progress, healthcare provider’s advice, and personal comfort.
While postpartum girdles can offer additional support, promote good posture, and assist in the healing process, they are not a requirement for all new moms.
Listen to your body, discuss with your healthcare provider, and make an informed decision that aligns with your postpartum recovery goals.
Remember, each woman’s postpartum journey is unique, and what works for one may not work for another.