How belly binding works
Social media might have you believing that belly binding is a new therapeutic option, but it’s been around for centuries.
In short, belly binding includes wrapping a material (usually cloth) around your abdomen. The material is usually wrapped tightly and helps to provide support and keep your abdomen in place.
This can be helpful as your body will continue to experience changes after giving birth, and that support can help your body heal properly.
While previous generations relied on simple pieces of muslin cloth, today belly binding can range from traditional fabric lengths to postpartum girdles made from a variety of materials.
Belly binding and C-sections
Especially if you had a cesarean delivery, belly binding can be a useful tool during the postpartum recovery period. In contrast to a vaginal delivery, a C-section requires cutting through numerous layers of tissue and muscle. Belly binding can help to ensure that your incision heals properly.
The recovery period can be slower and more uncomfortable for women who’ve had a C-section versus those who delivered vaginally. Here’s the good news: One study found that women who delivered by C-section and practiced belly binding during their postpartum recovery experienced less pain, bleeding, and discomfort as compared to those who had a c-section and didn’t use belly binding.
Why belly binding is effective for postpartum recovery
When you’re pregnant, your body grows and stretches to accommodate your baby. Organs move out of their normal position, and even your abdominal muscles separate to make space.
But after giving birth, your body needs to move those muscles and organs back to their original position. When done properly, belly binding applied to the abdomen and around the hips can provide support to your pelvic floor. It also offers gentle compression that holds muscle and ligaments safely in place as your body heals.
There are plenty of therapeutic benefits to belly binding, whether you use a traditional or modern method. But there are risks associated with it when done improperly.
Wearing it too tightly
Belly binding is meant to gently hold your abdomen in place and provide support for your core and pelvic floor to help your body heal.
But wearing a binder of any kind too tightly can lead to excessive pressure on your pelvic floor. You don’t want this — it has the potential to lead to prolapse and hernias.
Hopefully it goes without saying that you should avoid this! A telltale sign that you’re wearing your belly binding too tightly is if you’re struggling to breathe normally. If you have to take shallow breaths when wearing a binder of any kind, take it off and readjust.
Remember, it’s normal to experience compression with a binder, but it shouldn’t be so tight that you can’t move or function like you normally would.
Recovering from childbirth is a process, but there are ways to help give your body the support you need.
While certain guidelines should be followed to stay safe, postpartum belly binding is a great option to help your body heal. And it can be easily incorporated into your daily routine even while you recover either at the hospital or at home.