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Postpartum Girdle: Brand Recommendations and Best Belly Support
Using a postpartum girdle is something that's increased in popularity recently. It's reminiscent of the trend way back when women were wearing waist cinchers. A postpartum girdle, is however, has a completely different function. Its purpose is twofold: to relieve postpartum pain as well as to help reshape a woman's abdominal region after birth.
Now, wearing a postpartum girdle isn't a panacea, but rather a tool a woman can utilize along with proper diet and exercise for abdominal strengthening and toning. But, somewomen wear swear by it.
Just to clarify, a postpartum girdle is also called an abdominal binder, belly belt or belly wrap.
Does a Postpartum Girdle Really Help Shrink Your Stomach?
Pregnancy wreaks havoc on a woman's abdominal muscles. On a slightly creepy note, her internal organs are actually shifted out of their original positions, thankfully I didn't give that much thought during either of my pregnancies. The large and small bowel are shifted both laterally and upward. The stomach and diaphragm similarly migrate. To top it all off, muscles and ligaments are substantially stretched. Even after the birth of the child, it takes time for the peritoneal organs to return to their original positions.
Some claim wearing a postpartum girdle can expedite the organ migration process and promote healing. Some also claim they are effecting in getting a woman's stomach back in shape quickly. They theorize the faster the organs return to their original positions, the faster the stomach will be able to return to its original (or near original!) shape. Compression is also said to provide additional benefit to a woman who's had a Cesarean Section by minimizing post-surgical incision pain.
One proponent of the postpartum girdle or belt is Dr. Jay M. Goldberg, M.D, OB/Gyn. He endorses the Belly Bandit and claims compressing the abdomen forces the straightening of the lower back and relieving pressure on the healing abdomen. As such, the abdomen will have a better chance of healing more rapidly.
It seems no official studies have been done on the efficacy of the postpartum girdle or belt, however. There is a rapidly growing constituent of women (and even doctors) who swear by them, claim they assisted with the healing process, and reduced the pain simultaneously. Some hospitals even give them to postpartum women. Some women claim the proof lies in the fact they wore the postpartum girdle with one pregnancy, but not another and healed more rapidly when wearing the girdle. One can argue this proof is weak since we heal differently from one pregnancy to the next.
The best practice is simply to check with your own doctor. Oh yeah, and don't forget the tried and true methods of exercise (as soon as it's safe) and a proper diet. Breastfeeding will also be your friend in this battle.
What Most Women Agree On About Using a Postpartum Girdle
Regardless of whether you purchase one of these in hopes you'll get back those six pack abs you had pre-pregnancy, there do seem to be advantages separate from merely making your stomach flatter.Most women agree they add the extra abdominal support they need postpartum, help decrease abdominal pain, incision pain, back pain and help them look better in their clothes.
When you're envisioning a postpartum girdle, hopefully your image isn't of the old waist cinchers your grandmother used to wear. These aren't like those old-fashioned corsets, trust me. They are lightweight, made of stretchable fabric, often polyester, nylon, cotton, elastic and spandex and are highly adjustable. Some fasten with velcro, others fasten with hook and eye closures.
Types of Postpartum Girdles
Different postpartum girdles offer different levels of compression. Some are merely a belt that extends around the back and fastens in the front. Others are more like body shaper underwear and work to provide support as well as smoothing and flattening: some are body suits, while others are mid-thigh girdles. With these, you can choose how far you'd like the postpartum girdle to extend up your abdomen, on down your thighs.
The standard belly wrap will provide the most compression. It's designed to expand less than a lycra-type girdle. So, you will need to decide what level of compression works best for your needs.
Postpartum Girdle Recommendations
Sticking with a highly reputable brand is also in your best interest. Among these well-respected and highly rated brands are: Belly Bandit, Gabrialla, Vedette, Medela, Amon, AbdoMend, Underworks and Loving Comfort.
Pregnancy girdles are classified in a number of categories: shapewear, medical compression garment and maternity wear. They vary widely in price, from the mid teens up to nearly $100. Prices vary for a number of reasons. Ones that have additional lining for comfort, like the Belly Bandit, tend to cost more. Some are more attractive, stylish and "posh" than others, no doubt. Ones like Underworks, given out by hospitals and considered medical compression garments, aren't fancy by any stretch of the imagination, and tend to be less expensive. While other companies seem to take advantage of their medical garment classification and ask a pretty penny. Naturally, shapewear companies have gotten into the game and have taken advantage of their growing popularity by manufacturing their own version of a postpartum girdle.
You will need to balance what you are willing to pay with the characteristics you desire. If you are getting the belly wrap type, I highly recommend you stick with the velcro closure, instead of the hook and eye fasteners. A velcro closure will give you an infinite number of sizing possibilities. If you are pregnant and looking at a pregnancy belt, choose one that can double as a postpartum girdle. Bear in mind your body type when choosing a brand and size. If you have particularly wide hips, make sure there's ample elastic on the sides to accommodate the width.
If you have any feedback or recommendations on a postpartum girdle, please let me know in the comment box below!