If you’re expecting or you’ve just had your baby, you’re likely looking for something to make your recovery a bit easier and more comfortable while you adapt to caring for a whole new human. One option that gets touted is the postpartum belt, otherwise known as a compression belt or postpartum body shapewear. Read on to learn more about what these do.
Many believe a postpartum belt can help with recovery, reduce pain after a c-section, and help get you back on your feet. Some even claim the belts will help you lose water weight and help the uterus shrink to its normal size faster. Many celebrities swear by waist training to help them bounce back from giving birth.
The research is a bit mixed, partly because there have been few long-term studies on the benefits of postpartum use. Some mothers and doctors swear by postpartum belts, others feel they don’t help. They can increase comfort for those first few weeks after giving birth. This is particularly true for post-C-section since the support can help you feel less like you’re going to fall apart.
The support to the abdominal muscles can be a comfort and may reduce pain. Just be sure you don’t cover your incision. However, you may find you hate it, some mothers dislike them and may find they make the pain worse. Compression belts have also been used to help heal separation in the abdominal muscles, though they aren’t a guaranteed fix. Be sure to follow your doctor’s recommendation.
What a Postpartum Belt Won’t Do
Despite what celebrities claim, it won’t help you lose weight. The tight band will make your waist seem smaller, but it won’t increase weight loss. Remember, celebrities normally have personal trainers and nutritionists to help them get back into shape quickly and safely.
Retained water weight will be the worst right after giving birth and will drop in the weeks to come back to a normal level for your body. Your uterus will also shrink over around 6 weeks. There isn’t much that can be done to speed up this process.
Are There Any Dangers?
The biggest danger is shortness of breath and dizziness when wearing any tight, compressing garment over the torso. Otherwise, wearing a compression belt is very safe so long as you take it off if you feel short of breath.
Should I Use One?
This is really up to you. If you feel like a bowl of jello after giving birth, the extra support might help. Support belts and garments have been used for centuries to support weakened muscles while they recover, so it has a long track record. If you aren’t sure about a belt, compression shorts are well-regarded as an option. Get a pair with graduated support for the most benefit.
Do waist trainers work? Yes, they do in most cases. Postpartum belts can be helpful for some but they aren’t a perfect solution for everyone. Talk with your doctor to decide if a compression belt is right for you.