Wrapping Stomach After Giving Birth: Does It Help to Lose Weight?
The period after childbirth is an extremely sensitive period for a woman. This is the time when major hormonal changes occur and when any insecurity in the physical appearance can negatively affect a woman.
Moreover, the uterus and other organs, as well as the core muscles, tissues, and skin are stretched from the nine months of pregnancy and the birth itself. That’s why many doctors recommend the use of a postpartum belly wrap.
Postpartum belly wraps are very important and helpful for women (1). Many new mothers wonder whether a postpartum belly band is the same as the regular weight loss wrap. In addition, many women wonder whether there is a medical reason in favor of or against wrapping the stomach after giving birth.
Stay with us and learn everything you need to know about wrapping stomach after childbirth, choosing the right garment, when you should start wearing it, and more.
What are postpartum belly wraps?
After childbirth, your body needs to recover. During the nine months, you’ve been carrying your baby, your tissue, organs, muscles, and skin have been stretched. The muscles have relaxed and everything needs time and support to return to its original state. A belly wrap for a new mom is a support garment made from cotton or other suitable materials, with or without panties. It looks just like a waistband. There are different designs, but all of them are easily removable and adaptable to your needs.
Postpartum belly wraps have been used in many cultures since the early 19th century as a support wrap that helps get everything back to its natural position and lose weight after birth. This stomach cushion has been extremely popular, but then started being frowned upon due to claims that it caused more negative than positive consequences for the mother.
Today, we are witnessing a great comeback of belly wraps for new mothers. Expert opinions differ regarding the benefits of belly wraps. However, most of them agree that there are more positive than negative sides to it. Let’s learn more about the role of the belly wrap.
Benefits of wearing belly wrap
The belly band is not beneficial only for losing weight after birth and tightening of excess skin. In fact, there are many different types of postpartum belly wraps suitable for use after birth. Each has its own role and benefits. Others confuse postpartum belly bands with postpartum girdles or waist trainer, but they are different. Postpartum belly bands offer more benefits and these are:
- Back support for mothers who feel great pain in the lower back (lumbar region) after birth.
- Help to maintain the upright position of the back after delivery.
- Help organs within the abdomen (especially the uterus) that have been moved during delivery to return to their original condition and position.
- Help restore a swollen uterus to its original size.
- Support the abdomen, back, and hips.
- Help lose weight and regain the figure the mother had had before she gave birth.
- Recovery of relaxed abdominal muscles (1).
When can you start postpartum belly binding?
Be sure to look for a doctor’s advice when it comes to the perfect timing regarding belly wrap. Your doctor can examine you and safely tell you how much time after delivery you should wait before you start using postpartum belly bands.
After giving natural birth, you will probably be able to wear the wrap a few days later, depending on your condition, i.e. the physician’s approval (1). If there is a medical reason why you should not wear the wrap, the doctor will explain it to you.
Can you use a belly band for several weeks postpartum?
From a medical perspective, the belly wrap should usually be worn for 4 to 6 weeks after delivery. The womb and other organs, as well as the tissues, muscles, and skin, need to return to the original shape and position.
It is of the utmost importance to wear the wrap during the first week after birth because it will have the best effects. It is advisable to wear postpartum belly bands both during the day and night. After the first week, you can wear it only during the day, if you prefer so until you achieve the desired effect.
Types and effects of belly wraps
Choosing the type of postpartum belly wrap depends on several factors. There are two basic things to clarify:
- Are you wearing it for medical reasons or to lose weight?
- Did you have a natural birth or a Caesarean section (2)?
Depending on this, there are several types of belly wraps after giving birth.
There are several features you should consider when choosing the best postpartum wrap. It is advisable to think about these things before you decide to buy one. Moreover, be sure to consult your doctor and consider the price and quality ratio of the wrap.
- Effectiveness – Does it provide support? Does it reduce pain? Does it tighten the belly?
- Comfort – Provides you with a certain level of comfort while you are moving. Reduces pain.
- Material – Is it made of materials recommended by experts? Does it cause allergies or rashes? Are you sensitive when it comes to skin irritations? Does the wrap allow your skin to breathe beneath it?
- Convenience – Can you use it both during the day and night? Is it visible through your clothes?
Belly wrap with a patent opening
The zipper or patent opener is located from the front or the back of the stomach cushion. If you are recovering from a C-section, you will most probably be more comfortable with a slip wrap than the zipper type.
Wrap model without the zipper
This type is suitable for both C-section and natural birth. It does not have stiff parts such as zippers or patents. You simply wrap the fabric around your belly and attach it.
The corset types
The corset belly wraps are the best models for the medical needs of recovery after pregnancy because they provide greater support to the back and lower abdomen. They are very similar to the classic corsets, but (unlike the classic ones) are made and approved by medical specialists.
The model that is pulled towards the top of your body
This type of belly wrap is not suitable if you have had a Caesarean section, i.e., you must consult a doctor before using it. It is not recommended to wear it for 2 weeks after delivery. You can recognize this type easily as it looks like lingerie with a high waist.
Medical wrap after giving birth
You should use this type of wrap only upon the recommendation of your physician. It has a compression role or aims to keep the relaxed muscles in place. It is most commonly used when a woman has a diastase or separation of abdominal muscles for pregnancy growth. Such a medical condition is diagnosed by a physiotherapist, usually 3 to 5 days after delivery.
Wearing medical corset after delivery is the most effective if you exercise while wearing it. You must take it off when you sleep, especially at night. Once you have recovered from abdominal separation, you should not use this type of belly wrap anymore.
C-section belly wrap
After having a C-section birth, you must not wear the belly wrap until your wound completely heals. It is mandatory to ask your doctor for approval before you start wearing it. In addition, you must not wear the belly wrap at night during sleep if you’ve had a C-section.
However, wearing the C-section-suitable belly wrap after your doctor approves it can be very useful because:
- It reduces the swelling of the abdomen and keeps it tight
- It prevents the movement of the tissue and relieves the pain
- It reduces the risk wound aperture (because the stomach is tightened) and helps you heal faster
- It reduces the possibility of formation of edema (excess fluid in the tissue) and hematoma (blood in the tissue)
- It makes your skin softer and smoother
- It reduces scars
- It reduces the possibility of infection (2).
Does a belly wrap support your back?
Many women who had given birth complain about back pain. You probably wonder whether a belly wrap helps with back pain or not. The space between the bone parts of the ribs and hips is connected to various muscles and other soft tissues that jointly participate in the stabilization of the body.
That’s why experts usually recommend new moms to wear belly wrap when doing some of the daily activities (1). However, we must say that the mere wearing of the wrap will not lead to muscle strengthening.
The wrap represents passive support while muscle strengthening can only be achieved by activating the same muscles that you want to strengthen. Therefore, if you already wear a wrap because you have weak muscles, the muscles that work as stabilizers of the body and your back will hurt you. The solution: except the belt, you must work on strengthening your muscles.
How do you estimate the required belly wrap size?
The belly wrap must cling to your body to successfully perform its function. However, it must not squeeze you that much to cause discomfort. Choosing a suitable size of belly wrap is rather difficult if you are buying it online. In this case, you cannot try the wrap before paying for it.
Therefore, we strongly recommend other options that allow you to test the product before buying it as there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution.
Possible negative effects of wearing a postpartum belly wrap
Wrapping stomach after childbirth also has some contraindications. Those include cases of urinary incontinence (no urine flow control), uterine prolapse or prolapse of anus and any kind of hernia. All of these situations are a sign of poor intra-abdominal pressure regulation and corset or wrap squeezing will only increase the pressure on the structures that have begun to relax.
A too strong and rigid wrap will lead to a disruption of normal breathing mechanisms and stabilization of the body. For a healthy and functional body stabilization “core”, all muscles must move through the full range of motion (the belt holds them fixed only in one position). The above-mentioned cases are situations in which your doctor will probably tell you not to wear the belly wrap as they can worsen your symptoms and lead to a greater problem with the back-pain syndrome.
Is a postpartum belly wrap effective for weight loss?
Wearing a belly wrap is effective for weight loss postpartum. It has numerous positive effects, including:
- Better posture
- Tightening core muscles
- Improving muscle tonus
- Accelerating the process of regaining a flat stomach
- Supporting the uterus and other organs
- Increasing comfort and allowing painless body movements, including exercising (1).
How to lose weight postpartum?
If you stayed pregnant with regular bodyweight according to the BMI and you gained the recommended 9 to 13 pounds during your pregnancy, it will take only a few months to lose weight and restore your old physical appearance if you pay attention to what you eat and start exercising after your doctor allows you to do so.
However, if you had gained too much weight during your pregnancy or if you were obese or overweight before staying pregnant, it could take a long time to lose weight, even up to a year or two.
However, it is very important to be patient with your postpartum body. Here are some tips to help you lose weight after childbirth.
Lose weight naturally; forget about strict diets
The basis for a healthy and steady weight loss is the adoption of a balanced energy restrictive diet, i.e. a diet that is restrictive only in terms of energy intake, but not nutrients. Namely, this means that fat and/or carbohydrate intake should be reduced to such an extent that an energy deficit of 500 to 1000 calories is achieved in relation to the estimated total daily energy consumption and this results in a loss of half to one kilogram in 10 days, which is considered the optimum weight loss postpartum. No matter how many pounds you want to lose, do not go under 1800 calories a day, especially if you breastfeed.
After delivery, your body needs high-quality nutrition, especially if you are breastfeeding. Therefore, you should consume the foods rich in the ingredients you need (vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and phytochemicals), but have little calories and fat.
Fish is one of those superfoods because it is rich in omega 3 fatty acids that help your baby develop a healthy brain and nervous system. The best choice is unsaturated fatty acids of fish living in cold seas, such as salmon, sardines, tuna, etc. Serve it with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes.
Foods rich in fibers can be of great help in weight loss because they do not have a high caloric value. Also, they have a great ability to absorb water and contribute to a sense of satiety. In addition, they require more chewing, so you cannot eat large amounts of food and thus energy in a short period of time. In addition, fibers interfere with the absorption of fat.
Milk and yogurt are also superfoods for breastfeeding moms because they are rich in calcium that you need for bone health and the development of the skeletal system of your baby. Buy dairy products with lower fat content.
In the end, don’t forget the protein!
Breastfeed your baby
Breastfeeding helps moms return to their old weight and physical appearance faster than those moms who do not breastfeed (3). Moreover, breastfeeding is healthy for the baby, the immune system and proper growth.
If you are breastfeeding, you can lose up to 300 calories a day simply from breastfeeding itself!
Drink enough water
Drinking enough water during the day prevents dehydration. It also reinforces the feeling of satiety, so you eat less. Also, drinking water can speed up your metabolism. You should drink around 2 L of water a day. If you are physically active or live in a hot climate, you should drink a bit more than that. Also, avoid sweets and carbonated drinks.
Be physically active
Healthy and balanced nutrition is extremely important, but it is only one part of your weight loss plan after delivery. For a successful weight loss, you do need some exercise, including aerobic exercises and those that will keep your muscles and bones strong.
In addition, exercising helps young moms in many other ways. It helps relieve depression, insomnia, stress symptoms, etc. This is very important when you have a small baby at home. You do not have to go to the gym for exercising. After your doctor allows you to exercise, you should do different types of exercises suitable for the post-partum period. You can do it at home, in your garden, or in a park.
Your weekly walk target should be at least 150 minutes. You may find it impossible to find half an hour for exercising when having a small baby, but start with a ten-minute exercise program each day until you reach half an hour.
Before you start exercising, consult your doctor, especially if you have had a C-section.
Have a good sleep
You will probably not find eight hours a day to sleep when you have a new-born, but serious sleep deprivation will make your weight loss process significantly harder and slower.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, it is highly recommended to wear a postpartum belly wrap. However, you should consult your doctor regarding the type, time, and way of wearing the wrap.
It can help you lose weight, tighten your muscles, regain a proper posture, and relief back-pains.
You should combine other ways of staying active for weight loss after childbirth, such as suitable physical exercises, walks, drinking enough water, breastfeeding your baby, and eating healthy and balanced food.
- Gustafson JL, Dong F, Duong J, Kuhlmann ZC. Elastic Abdominal Binders Reduce Cesarean Pain Postoperatively: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial. Kans J Med. 2018 May 18;11(2):1-19. PubMed PMID: 29796155; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5962320. Found online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5962320/
- Ghana S. et al. Randomized controlled trial of abdominal binders for postoperative pain, distress, and blood loss after cesarean delivery. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2017 Jun;137(3):271-276. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.12134. Epub 2017 Mar 28. Found online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28241386
- Jarlenski MP, Bennett WL, Bleich SN, Barry CL, Stuart EA. Effects of breastfeeding on postpartum weight loss among U.S. women. Prev Med. 2014 Dec;69:146-50. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.09.018. Epub 2014 Oct 5. PubMed PMID: 25284261; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4312189. Found online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4312189/