I have had two post partum experiences; one with a belly binder, one without. Unfortunately, the two experiences were more than 5 years apart from each other, which means I was older and so was my skin. That said, belly binding post partum has a few uses that I discovered.
The biggest reason I see women asking about belly binding is for vanity reasons. Yes, some claim that they will help your stomach go back to a more normal state if you wear it constantly for 6 weeks with the exception of washing yourself. That claim is of course relative to going without a binder. There haven’t been any quantitative studies regarding these claims, however, sometimes believing in something is better than not.
With my first post partum experience, I did not use a belly binder at all and ended up with a relatively flat stomach by just 2 weeks post partum… Now, if only history repeated itself 😉 I had a picture, but I have no idea where it is. Worth noting, just in case one of you is wondering, I had linea nigra that had become prominent after the birth of my daughter and yes it did fade away after about 3 months.
With my second post partum experience, my stomach flattened relatively quick which I believe in part was due to the excessive (yet needed) uterine massage that I received (this is where the press on your uterus from your abdominopelvic region in order to stimulate the uterus into contracting to stop a hemorrhage… Not something that should be done unless there is, indeed, a hemorrhage). Although my stomach was decently flat, it remained larger than I was used to for about 3 months before it looked like my regular old tummy.
I wore the binder daily for the first few weeks, but it was a real pain in the butt. I had ordered two sizes — a medium which was grossly too large, so I ordered an XS which was grossly too small. Aha, I am a dork. I used them both, regardless. I don’t believe they did a darn thing for my stomach in terms of visual improvements, but I feel like they played a very important role in my back’s health.
After you give birth, your ab muscles are pretty much non-existent. Add onto that, you still have a lot of relaxin left in your body. This hormone relaxes your ligaments and tendons, making your joints looser than normal. Your entire core is floating and loose, in other words. Using a belly binder helps to suport your back by replacing your abs in a way. If my back got sore, I would slap on the binder and it would help.
All said and done, would I recommend a belly binder to others? Sure… If you:
- Have spare cash (these things can be anywhere from $12 to $120)
- Are having a cesarian section (it can help bind the wound for healing and prevention of evisceration)
- Have back problems already
- Have abdominal diastasis (separation of your abdominal muscles)
- Won’t have much help at home with the baby (and thus will be doing all the physical work)