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Abdominal Support with a Postpartum Compression Garment

Abdominal Support with a Postpartum Compression Garment

Ever wonder how celebrity moms, like Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kim Kardashian-West, get back to their pre-baby bodies so fast?

Unfortunately, there's no one hack to losing pregnancy weight. It involves a lot of exercising, clean eating, and the help of a high-quality compression garment to support postpartum recovery.

If these moms can do it, so can you with the right tools and mindset.

In this article, we'll dive into a few major topics, including:

  1. How a compression therapy works for strengthening the abdominal muscles
  2. The best habits to combine with waist training to lose weight
  3. The different types of compression garments
  4. How to shop for a high-quality postpartum corset

We have a lot of great tips to share, so let's jump into it.

How Does Abdominal Compression Help With Postpartum Belly Recovery?

Your uterus, pre-baby, is the size of a pear. By the third trimester, the uterus stretches to the size of a watermelon to accommodate your growing baby.

As the baby grows, your organs shift, and your belly stretches to make room.

This rapid stretching can lead to a condition called diastasis recti. The growing uterus pulls your six-pack abdominal muscles apart from the midline, which weakens the integrity of your core strength and causes lower back strain. Diastasis is common in petite women, women carrying twins, or already have reduced abdominal strength.

After giving birth, you may feel like your belly is heavy and hanging loose over your hips.

Part of this heaviness is water retention and bloating, but a lot of this is due to excess weight gain, your enlarged uterus, and weakened core muscles.

Compression around the torso with a belly band, postpartum belly wrap, or better yet, a postpartum girdle squeezes that heavy belly in so your organs and muscles come back into alignment, helping you feel more supported through your movements.

Over time, your uterus will shrink back to size, and your body will naturally drain the excess fluids, but wearing a postpartum girdle will make the transition more comfortable.

Keep Postpartum Pelvic Girdle Pain At Bay

The pelvic region — which sits at the base of the spine — is made of several bones. 20% of pregnant women suffer from pelvic girdle pain at some point in their pregnancy (PGP). During labor, it's not uncommon to damage the pelvis, and it can be excruciating.

Pelvic girdle pain can happen when the baby's head pushes down on the pelvic bone during childbirth, resulting in a gap between two bones at the front or the back of your pelvis. This pain can radiate to different areas of the body, such as the hips, thighs, and lower back.

PGP can severely affect your daily routine when climbing stairs, sitting, or standing for too long, becomes unbearable.

Moms who experience PGP after labor swears by their postpartum girdle because it helps relieve pain caused by a weakened core and pelvis. Abdominal compression improves your posture, which aligns your back and core muscles over your hips to reduce the curvature of the spine. Supporting your torso with compression relieves strain off the lower back and pelvic floor muscles.

Get Back To Exercising Sooner

To keep pain at bay and get your pre-pregnancy body back sooner, you need to start exercising — and the sooner, the better (with your doctor's approval, of course). The strength of your core and pelvic floor muscles have dramatically decreased, so you'll need to build tension in those muscles to strengthen them gradually.

An abdominal binder acts as a splint around the torso to keep your posture in line and hold your belly in tight, so you can feel more confident and supported through your movements. All exercises are stabilized by your core — wearing a high-grade compression binder helps with discomfort and allows you to get exercising sooner.

Here are a few excellent exercises you can do while wearing your compression garment:

Exercise 1: Transverse Abdominis Activation

These muscles are your corset muscles. The fibers of the transverse abdominis run horizontally from just below the ribcage and into the pelvis. It narrows the waist and stabilizes the lower back, just like a corset.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor (about hip-width apart).
  2. Place your fingers inside the iliac crest — the part of your pelvic bone that sticks out at your hips.
  3. Move your fingers about an inch and half to the center of your body and about an inch and a half down.
  4. Activate these muscles and feel the resistance against your fingers as you breathe normally.
  5. Try holding the activation for 10 seconds (don't forget to breathe).
  6. As you get more comfortable in this position, try lifting your heals one at a time as you activate this muscle.

Exercise 2: Pelvic Tilting Exercise On An Exercise Ball

Pelvic tiling on an exercise ball is a gentle exercise that helps to strengthen the pelvic floor — the hammock of muscles that run from the front of the bone to the back. Strengthening this region contributes to supporting the lower spine and maintains upper abdominal muscles.

  1. Sit on an exercise ball with your legs hip-width apart.
  2. Begin to shift your weight on the ball so that your pelvic bones scoop up and forward as you sit. Your back will naturally curve to follow the movement.
  3. Hold for a few seconds before reversing the movement to an upright, straight spine position.
https://youtu.be/dWiKbJ02DCo

Exercise 3: Bridge Pose

The bridge pose is an abdominal and shoulder stretch while simultaneously strengthening the abs and back.

  1. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width distance apart.
  2. Your fingertips should just graze the backs of your heels.
  3. On an inhale, lift your butt and back off the ground keeping your arms and shoulders on the floor to stabilize you.
  4. If your feeling okay here, you can intertwine your fingers behind your back and hold this pose for 10 seconds.

Let's go over the types of compression garments for postpartum recovery.

The Different Types Of Postpartum Support Garments

  1. Belly Wrap — Belly wraps cover your torso from your hips to the bottom of your bra line. It's usually a padded fabric that wraps around the belly and fastens with velcro straps.
  2. Belly Band — Belly bands are tube-like garments worn around the belly, hips, and low back to provide milk compression and help slim the appearance of the stomach.
  3. Abdominal Binder — It's a wide compression belt, similar to the belly wrap, but it has a more streamlined design with hook or zipper closures. It offers high-grade medical compression to the midsection.
  4. Girdle/Corset — These come in the most abundant styles. High-quality postpartum girdles provide medical-grade compression while still providing the benefits of shape wear in a breathable, flexible design.

Pros & Cons of Each Postpartum Garment

Garment Style Pros Cons
Belly Wraps • Inexpensive
• Lots of coverage around the midsection
• Doesn't offer firm consistent compression
• Bulky
• Often shifts around the body
Belly Bands • Inexpensive
• Light-weight and flexibly material
• Doesn't offer strong enough compression
• Usually not adjustable
• Often shifts around the body
Abdominal Binder/ Waist Trainer • High-grade compression
• Adjustable hooks
• Seamless, flexible material
• More expensive
• Doesn't offer rear support
Girdle/Corset • High-grade compression
• Available in different panty styles
• Adjustable hooks
• Crotch openings to accommodate heavy-flow pads
• Offers more versatility as body shaping underwear and compression therapy
• More expensive

Girdles and corsets are the most commonly recommended by health care professionals because they provide the best postpartum support over a belly band or wrap. While it may cost a little more, it truly is a small investment for your health and comfort.

How Soon Can You Start Wearing Your Postpartum Corset?

You can start wearing your postpartum corset or wrap hours after you deliver your baby with your doctor's approval. There are even girdle styles that are suitable for c-section recovery.

For the best results from compression therapy, wear your device 24-7 for at least a week. Many moms found that their postpartum girdles gave them comfort and relief from pain as they recovered at the hospital.

It's important that you shop for garments specially designed for the postpartum body — not just body shaping underwear. Postpartum binders offer a higher level of compression and have thoughtful design features with recovery in mind.

How Long Should You Bind Your Belly After Birth?

Every woman's body and pregnancy is different, so this will depend entirely on the individual.

Many moms wear the binder for up to a year after delivery as they get back to their pre-pregnancy size, while other moms bounce back within a few months with the help of their post pregnancy girdle.

New mom, Laurie lost 17 lbs two weeks postpartum, which she credits to her girdle. She began wearing her dual closure girdle three days after her vaginal delivery.

https://youtu.be/ti_Dv_Z9siM

Key Habits In Combination With Waist Training For Losing Weight

Exercise

Postpartum girdles help to relieve pain in the lower back and abdomen, so you can feel confident about getting active again.

Once you have the green light from your doctor, start exercising. Make sure you start slow. Your body has undergone massive changes in the nine months of carrying your baby, and it will be a while yet before you regain all your strength and flexibility back.

Gentle exercises weeks after pregnancy can include going the exercises we discussed, going on walks, postnatal yoga, and pilates. Wearing a belly binder or corset while you workout will help you move more confidently, so you can focus on gaining strength back to your core.

Breathing Techniques For Stress Management

An invisible culprit for why many women hold on to their pregnancy weight is stress. While having a baby is a joyous time, it's not without new stress — disrupted routines, lack of sleep, and weight loss anxiety can all play a part.

When you experience stress for a prolonged period, your cortisol levels (stress hormone) are high, which can increase your appetite.

Managing your stress is a crucial factor in helping you lose excess weight successfully.

Where does breathing come in to help?

Breathing exercises are one of the best ways to reduce stress in the body. When you concentrate on deep breathing, you send signals to the brain to slow down and relax.

An abdominal binder or postpartum girdle wraps around the torso and covers your whole belly. Compressing this area pushes your shoulders and back into alignment with your hips to make space for the diaphragm, allowing you to take deeper breaths.

Eat A Variety Of Fresh Whole Foods & Eat Intuitively

The work is far from over after delivering your baby. Breast-feeding mothers burn an extra 500 calories a day to produce milk — and they lose weight faster than moms who don't.

To keep your energy levels high, so you can keep exercising, and provide wholesome breast milk for your baby, you need to nourish your body with the right foods.

No miracle diet will help you lose weight and sustain it. The best advice we can give you is to eat a wide range of fresh, whole foods — proteins, fruits and veggies, clean carbs, healthy fats — and to eat intuitively.

Intuitive eating is a practice of mindfulness, wherein you pay attention to how your body feels as you eat. It's not easy at first, but in time, you'll learn to read the signals your body is telling you when it's full and when you should reach for healthy, satisfying foods.

Bellefit Postpartum Girdles & Corsets – Medical-Grade, FDA-Registered, Recommended Since 2008. Available in 8 Styles & in Plus Sizes.

How To Shop For A Postpartum Girdle For Abdominal Support

Now that you have a better idea of the differences between belly bands, belly wraps, and girdles — and more importantly, what goes into losing weight and keeping the weight off, let's go over the different garment styles.

Shopping Tips For The Best Postpartum Belly Garments:

  1. It has medical-grade compression — This is what separates a garment from shapewear.
  2. The material is flexible and breathable — You'll be wearing your girdle around the clock for the best results. You want to make sure it fits like a second skin.
  3. It has adjustable hooks and straps — Your body is undergoing a lot of change after delivery, the girdle or corset should have features to adjust compression levels.
  4. FDA-registered — Be aware of the potential dangers of waist training. FDA-registered compression devices have a safe level of compression.
  5. It's easy to use — The last thing you want is to struggle to put on or to remove your underwear. Find a garment that's simple to use.
  6. It can accommodate heavy flow pads — Expect a lot of leakage postpartum. A garment that allows easy access to the crotch and space for pads is a handy design feature.

Bellefit has you covered for the best postpartum shapewear and FDA-registered postpartum girdles and corsets from sizes XS – 3XL.

Many moms purchase two girdles. One to wear after right after giving birth when swelling is at its peak, and another a size down as their body adapts closer to their pre-pregnancy shape. The three hook-closures on most of our garments adjust the level of compression at multiple stages of recovery.

Best of all, these garments look great. They're discreet and seamless, so it sits flawlessly under your clothes while giving you a slimmer silhouette.

Following delivery, a girdle can help you to:

  • Relieve diastasis recti (abdominal separation)
  • Improve posture
  • Shrink the uterus
  • Boost confidence
  • Support your core and lower back during exercise
  • Reduce pain and swelling
  • Help protect c-section incision

Bellefit has you covered for the best postpartum shapewear and FDA-registered postpartum girdles and corsets from sizes XS – 3XL.

Many moms purchase two girdles. One to wear after right after giving birth when swelling is at its peak, and another a size down as their body adapts closer to their pre-pregnancy shape. The three hook-closures on most of our garments adjust the level of compression at multiple stages of recovery.

Best of all, these garments look great. They're discreet and seamless, so it sits flawlessly under your clothes while giving you a slimmer silhouette.

ostpartum Mom Wearing Bellefit support garment
Deanna wearing her postpartum girdle days after childbirth

“It provided so much core and back support,” Deanna said. “That support helped me keep up with our active 4 ½- and 2-year-old. I felt much more comfortable in my post-baby body and was able to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes within a few days.”

Following delivery, a girdle can help you to:

  • Relieve diastasis recti (abdominal separation)
  • Improve posture
  • Shrink the uterus
  • Boost confidence
  • Support your core and lower back during exercise
  • Reduce pain and swelling
  • Help protect c-section incision

The Best Postpartum Girdles

Girdle Style Features
1. Corset • Full rear coverage
• 3-row adjustable front hooks
• Adjustable crotch opening
• Excellent for when swelling is at its peak
• C-section friendly
2. Dual-Closure Girdle • Full rear coverage
• 3-row adjustable front hooks
• Convenient padded side zipper
• Adjustable crotch opening
• Excellent for when swelling is at its peak
• C-section friendly
3. Cheekster Corset • Cheekster panty
• 3-row adjustable front hooks
• Adjustable crotch opening
• C-section friendly
4. Bodysuit Corset • 3-row adjustable front hooks
• Full rear coverage
• Open-bust bodysuit
• Adjustable & removable shoulder straps
• No boning
• Adjustable crotch opening
• C-section friendly
5. Corset Thong • 3-row adjustable front hooks
• Thong style panty
• Adjustable & removable shoulder straps
• Adjustable crotch opening
• C-section friendly
6. Girdle with Front Zipper • Padded zipper
• Full rear coverage
• Adjustable crotch opening
• C-section friendly
7. Girdle with Side Zipper • Padded side zipper
• Full rear coverage
• Seamless front
• Adjustable crotch opening
• C-section friendly
8. Girdle Pull-Up • Slip-on design
• Full rear coverage
• Seamless for discretion under clothing
• Adjustable crotch opening

To Wrap Up: Get The Best Abdominal Support With A Postpartum Girdle

While belly bands and belly wraps can be helpful in alleviating mild pain and providing comfort postpartum, the best postpartum support device is ultimately a corset or girdle because it allows for constant, high-grade compression.

Bellefit has the most extensive girdle and corset styles to suit natural and c-section deliveries and range from sizes XS – 3XL. Our abdominal compression garments are designed to support your changing body. Moms recover much faster when wearing a postpartum corset because it maximizes comfort, reduces pain, and allows you to get exercising sooner.

Getting back to your pre-baby body in no-time isn't just a secret luxury of celebrities. Now that you're equiped with the right tools and understand what goes into losing that postpartum belly weight, you're well on your way to seeing the results you want.

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Cynthia Suarez

  • Feb 22, 2017
  • Category: News