How late is too late to wear a postpartum girdle? Here’s everything you need to know, plus other helpful postpartum tips for new moms!
If you’re a first time mom, you’ll likely have lots of questions about what to expect during your postpartum recovery.
And this includes what products you can use to make things easier!
One product many seasoned moms recommend is a postpartum girdle. And research shows these supportive belly bands help the body “bounce back” faster after giving birth.
But what if you’re already a few weeks into your postpartum journey? Is too late to wear a postpartum girdle?
Here’s everything you need to know, plus other helpful tips for new moms!
What is a postpartum girdle?
A postpartum girdle or postpartum belly band is a type of compression garment worn around the abdomen after giving birth. They’re made from layers of rigid and stretchy material that wrap from under the breast to the hip.
They provide gentle compression and help support the abdominal muscles as they heal. They also encourage the natural contraction of the uterus post-delivery.
Postpartum girdles are known by several names, so if you see any of these while shopping around, they mean essentially the same thing.
- Postpartum bind
- Maternity support belt
- Postpartum belt
- Postpartum corset
- Abdominal binder
- Postpartum wrap
- Belly belts
Regardless of the name, each of these serves the same purpose and function. Though they may vary in style and form.
However, you shouldn’t confuse these products with waist trainers. Waist trainers are used for changing your body shape by squishing and compressing the waist.
And these aren’t safe to wear after birth. They may affect blood circulation and prevent internal organs from properly repositioning and healing.
Why should new moms wear a postpartum girdle?
And in both ancient and modern times, postpartum girdles are used to speed up the healing process in the abdominal area after birth. They basically “shift things back into place”.
As mentioned above, the uterus naturally contracts after birth in order to shrink back to normal size. And the mild compression of a girdle amplifies this process and cuts down recovery time.
Breastfeeding also speeds the healing process because it triggers those same uterine contractions.
There are several reasons to wear a postpartum girdle, and here are some of the benefits:
- Supports the abdominal muscles as they heal
- Provides abdominal support during breastfeeding
- Improves muscle memory
- Reduces c-section pain
- Offers relief from back pain
- Reduces pelvic floor dysfunction
- Helps to tighten the stomach
- Prevents enlargement of fat cells
- Reduces swelling and the release of extra fluid
However, they DO NOT help with weight loss. Diet and exercise are the best ways to lose weight after giving birth.
And if you’re a nursing mom, you can follow these tips for how to lose weight while breastfeeding.
How to Wear a Postpartum Girdle
There are several different types of postpartum girdles, so there’s no one “right way” to wear them. And you should follow the instructions from the manufacturer for the best results.
Here are some of the different types of girdles you can try:
- Corset style
- Zipper style
- Wrap style
- Pull-up style
Most manufacturers recommend wearing a postpartum girdle between 10 and 12 hours a day. But, you should avoid wearing your belly binder for 10 hours straight.
Try taking a break every 3 hours or so, so your body gets a rest.
Top Postpartum Girdle Brands to Wear
There are several brands that create postpartum girdles, and here are some of the most popular:
When is it too late to wear a postpartum girdle?
There are varying opinions on when to start wearing a postpartum girdle and when to stop. But, the ideal time to start is somewhere between 2 days and 6 weeks postpartum (if you’ve had a c-section).
This is when the uterus contracts the fastest after childbirth. But, you should always consult with your healthcare provider before use.
This is true for vaginal births, and even more so after a c-section.
And you can also safely wear a postpartum girdle indefinitely, but you’ll see the most benefits in the first 4 months.
This is because the benefits wear off over time.
During pregnancy, the hormone, Relaxin, increases the elasticity of muscles and connective tissue. This allows the body to make room for your growing baby. And after birth, it helps the body move back into shape more quickly.
So, it’s best to wear an abdominal girdle while levels are still high. And Relaxin levels wear off around 5 months postpartum. However, breastfeeding may increase the amount of time Relaxin stays in your system.
So how late is too late? After about 4 months, it’s likely too late to see any major benefits from wearing a postpartum girdle.
When should you not wear a postpartum girdle?
There are some circumstances when you should not wear a postpartum girdle.
Most new mothers with c-section stitches should wait until after their 6-week postpartum checkup. But, depending on your condition, you may be able to wear a postpartum girdle sooner. You’ll just need your doctor’s approval.
A good rule of thumb is to start wearing it when you’re ready to get out of bed. And you may prefer to use a c-section belly band made specifically for c-section recovery.
Don’t let your girdle become a crutch!
If you wear your girdle too long, it may hinder your ability to regain core strength. And don’t substitute wearing the girdle for core-strengthening exercises and therapy when needed.
The girdle is here to help with healing, not for strengthening.
For example, if you’re diagnosed with diastasis recti, a condition where the abdominal or “core muscles” are separated, you may need the help of a physical therapist to correct it.
Wearing the girdle can support this process, but it shouldn’t replace it.
You should also not wear a postpartum girdle when sleeping or resting.
More Postpartum Tips for New Moms
Now that we’ve covered how late into postpartum you can wear a girdle, here are some other helpful tips for new moms!
But, here are some common experiences, and postpartum body changes you should know about:
- Postpartum bleeding also called lochia
- Postpartum hair loss
- Sore nipples (if you’re nursing)
- Bladder leaks
- Difficulty sleeping
- Mood swings
- Change in body shape
- Loose skin
The recovery process after labor and delivery isn’t easy. But, thankfully, most of these side effects are temporary and you can work with your doctor to manage them.
Your doctor will also give you a list of things not to do after giving birth to make sure you properly heal.
Postpartum Activities to Avoid
Be sure to hold off on these specific activities until you get approval from your doctor:
- Household work for at least 3-5 days for a vaginal delivery and up to 6 weeks for a c-section
- Sexual intercourse until 6 weeks postpartum
- Use of tampons until 6 weeks postpartum
- Strenuous exercise until fully healed
- A regular bath or swimming for at least 6 weeks
You should also never ignore warning signs for health complications or postpartum depression.
It’s normal to cry after having a baby, but if you feel helpless, suicidal, experience rage, or can’t get over the “baby blues” you should reach out to your doctor as soon as possible.
PPD is a common and often serious condition, so it’s important to be proactive. Before birth, educate yourself on how and why women get PPD, how postpartum depression feels, and how long PDD may last.
Postpartum Care Essentials
And here’s a list of postpartum essentials to make recovery more manageable and comfortable. Make sure you wear your postpartum girdle and purchase or ask your hospital for these care items, too.
- Maxi pads or adult diapers
- Mesh underwear
- Tucks pads (medicated cooling wipes)
- Perineal spray
- Peri bottle
- Witch hazel
- Ice packs
- Donut cushion
- Nursing pillow
- Nursing pads
- Nipple cream
- Breast pump or hand pump
- Nursing bras
- Stool softener
- Prune juice
- Prenatal vitamin
You can safely wear a postpartum belt for any length of time after birth. However, the best time to see the benefits is anytime before 4 months postpartum.
It is not recommended to wear a postpartum belt while sleeping.
You can wear postpartum shapewear for as long as you’d like. But, you’ll see the most benefit in the first 4 months.
You can wear a postpartum belt or girdle as soon as right after birth for a vaginal delivery or around 6 weeks postpartum for a c-section delivery. However, you should always consult with your doctor first.
The Bottom Line
So, when is it too late to wear a postpartum girdle? Here’s the bottom line:
- The purpose of a postpartum girdle is to help the body heal after birth.
- Girdles do so by repositioning the internal organs, providing support for abdominal muscles, and encouraging uterine contractions.
- Women can wear a postpartum girdle soon after birth for a vaginal delivery, or around 6 weeks postpartum for a c-section delivery.
- You can wear a postpartum girdle for as long as you’d like, but you’ll see the most benefits in the first 4 months.
- You can wear a postpartum girdle for 10-12 hours throughout the day with breaks every few hours or so. But you should not sleep in the girdle or use it to replace therapy or core-strengthening exercises.
- Be sure to get your doctor’s approval before wearing your postpartum girdle.
If this post was helpful, be sure to check out:
- 15+ smart newborn baby hacks
- Proven newborn sleep tips
- 40 first-time mom breastfeeding tips
- 20 things to know about breastfeeding
- 14 must-have breastfeeding essentials
- 30+ genius mom hacks
- 8 baby essentials for the first 3 months
Did I answer all your questions about how late you can wear a postpartum girdle? Let me know if I missed anything in the comments!