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A belly wrap is a common piece of garment worn by many new mothers. It looks like a belt/piece of fabric that is worn around the belly, or sometimes, in the entire torso region. The main purpose of a belly wrap is to support your abdomen during the sensitive period after delivery. Many women also wear a belly wrap to disguise their postpartum belly and feel more mobile and comfortable at this time.
You can choose to wear a postpartum belly wrap shortly after delivery. It is best to do this only after discussing with your doctor, especially if you have had a C-section or a complicated delivery.
Common Types of Post Pregnancy Belly Wraps
These are the three most popular types of belly wraps that you can pick from, based on your need, types of clothes you’re wearing, and most importantly, comfort.
1. Abdominal Wraps
This is the most common kind of belly wrap used by many moms. It is a stretchy fabric wrapped around the mid-section. Some wraps come with different arms that can be secured one at a time. There are other designs that are just one piece secured with hooks, based on fitting.
2. Pelvic Supports
This type of belly wrap usually wraps around the pelvis, and are mainly intended to support your hips. Some designs also have attachable groin support bands.
3. Compression Garments
This kind of wrap resembles shape wear. However, unlike shape wear, they are made of medical grade compression fabrics and suitable for new mothers. This will help support your trunk, core, and pelvic floor.
Benefits of Wearing a Postpartum Belly Wrap
1. It Supports Your Postpartum Stomach
Your stomach feels very stretched out after delivery. Your skin, especially the skin in your belly region, has expanded tremendously all this while and now faces a sudden, drastic change. This is what leads to the ‘sagging’ or loose skin we struggle with in the postpartum stage. Many moms find that tightly wrapping the area with a belly wrap helps support it and makes them feel more comfortable.
2. It Helps Shape Your Body
Goes without saying, your body undergoes IMMENSE change during pregnancy and delivery. Many of us struggle with loose skin and a hanging belly in the postpartum phase. Wearing a belly wrap can help you shape your body while also feeling more comfortable. It can give you a slimming look and support any loose skin. Some experts say that when you wear a belly wrap, your abs receive a gentle compression. This may help the uterus return to its normal size quicker. Plus, since you may feel more comfortable and mobile when your belly is supported, you’re also likely to get more physical activity.
One warning though: do not use belly wraps as a substitute to healthy eating or a shortcut to getting your pre-baby body back. Never wear a belly wrap too tightly just to shape your body. Wrapping too tightly can put pressure on your core, pelvic floor, and ribcage. If you feel uncomfortable or faint, you need to loosen it up immediately.
3. It Helps Relieve Postpartum Body Pain
The postpartum period is replete with body aches! Many women experience back pain, pelvic pain, pain in the joints, and pain/discomfort caused by diastasis recti (abdominal separation). A belly wrap, by supporting your abdominal region, can bring relief from these bodily pains. In fact, this is the core reason wraps are not a new-fangled concept; they were used as pain-relief by women even years ago!
4. It Helps Support The Pelvic Floor
During delivery, some mothers go through perineal tearing – or a tear in the area between your vagina and your anus. These tears are more common in first-time mothers and can take time to heal. They often lead to considerable pain in the pelvic region after childbirth. Wearing a belly wrap helps support your pelvic floor and bring you some relief from the tear.
5. It Has Special Benefits For C-Section Moms
Wearing a post pregnancy belly band can be particularly useful for women who have had a C-section. As per experts, it can accelerate the recovery process by allowing you greater mobility, increasing blood circulation and supporting the abdominal tissues. The gentle but firm pressure on the belly can also bring down the swelling, decrease the surgical pain, and relieve the pulling sensation that many C-section moms experience during movement, coughing or bending.
Cons of Wearing a Postpartum Belly Wrap
1. Your Baby May Miss The ‘Snuggly’ Feel
One of the loveliest experiences for a new mother is the feeling of her baby snuggling up to her chest. If you have a small baby, chances are you will spend a lot of time cuddling her and holding her to your tummy. When you wear a belly wrap, your baby may find your tummy too ‘stiff’ or tight. The baby might miss the snuggly feeling that a soft tummy provides. It is best to balance out the time you wear a belly wrap – wear it for a few hours, and then go without it when your baby wants some close-to-mamma time. Wear the wrap again at times when you are the most active and have physical activity to do; you will benefit from the support.
2. Be Careful of The C-section Scar
A belly wrap is intended to support the postpartum belly and make it easier to deal with body ache. As mentioned earlier, it has special benefits for moms who have had a C-section birth. However, in case you have severe pain in your C-section wound/scar, or it hasn’t healed yet, please discuss with your doctor before wearing a belly wrap. You should get the C-section scar evaluated first.
Note: If you have chosen a corset-style wrap or a compression garment, be careful that it doesn’t hurt your breast region, in case you’re suffering from sore nipples or mastitis.
3. It Might Affect Your Post-Pregnancy Fitness
It is possible to get so dependent on the belly wrap, and so used to the shapely feel it lends to the body, that you miss out on actual fitness! The belly wrap must not be used as an alternative to exercising and eating healthy – the only two ways to get back in shape after pregnancy. When you have the constant support of a wrap, it might be easier to overlook the excess weight and skip the exercise your body needs.
A belly wrap has been used by women much before our time, and it definitely extends the support and comfort that a new mother needs. If you find it useful too, please go ahead and try it, after consulting with your doctor.
It is just important to see this as something that helps you recover and heal after childbirth, and not something that ‘magically’ shrinks your postpartum belly!