Post-Pregnancy Abdominal Wraps, A Doctor’s Point-of-View
A Doctor’s Point of View of a Postnatal Abdominal Wrap
Dr. Mokitar, Consultant OBGYN
During pregnancy, musculoskeletal changes are stimulated by hormone secretions and the continuous expansion of the uterus. Some of these changes include:
- Abdominal wall expansion and abdominal wall separation (Diastasis recti)
- Spine and posture realignment
- Pelvic floor relaxation
A properly designed abdominal wrap assists:
- In abdominal wall muscle retraction
- Improves posture
- Stabilizes loosened ligaments
- Provide support to the torso while vital organs returned to their pre-pregnancy position.
Relieves back pain
A postpartum wrap helps to support your back and so relieves some of the back pain associated with the immediate post-natal period. This also helps to reduce the strain involved in lifting and carrying of your baby as well as provides back support when breastfeeding as most mothers don’t know they are slouching.
For the best results you have to start to wear a wrap as soon as you can after giving birth, as early as in the first 24 hours, and then continue to wear it each day for at least 40 days and even longer if you are not satisfied with the results. However the day will come when you realize that your postpartum wrap has done all it could to shrink your stomach area and the rest of the fat will be lost by exercise.
Getting back into shape
Wrapping the belly can significantly help with the process of getting back into shape after giving birth. Clearly, a wrap has a big job to do. Properly designed and manufactured postpartum body garments will provide 360 degree support to assist in abdominal wall muscle retraction, improve posture, stabilize loosened ligaments, and provide support to the torso while vital organs returned to their pre-pregnancy position.
Hanging tissue is not good
The hanging tissue can result in furthering stretch marks or even cause new stretch marks, depending on how much weight is gained. Water retention and flatulence, or trapped air in skin cells, in the body doesn’t release as easily if the skin is hanging which causes tension in the area. We can compare this to the requirement of most surgeons who perform knee operations or cosmetic surgeries such as liposuction, tummy-tucks, breast lift, augmentation or reductions, facelift and so on who informs clients that they MUST wear a compression garment after such procedures in order to stabilize the area to allow for uninterrupted or challenged healing to take place. By not supporting what is considered an “injured area”, unknowingly, we are making the healing process very challenging for our body to cope with resulting in a weakened and prolonged healing process and end result.
Doctor’s Advice: Be aware of SHAPEWARE
Dr. Nor, cautions women, “Mother’s need to be aware that the shapeware market has been flooded with companies selling belly wraps, abdominal binders, bodyshapers, and wraps that are conveniently labeled as “postpartum products”. It’s overwhelming to hear of all the gimmicks out there that target new mothers. Many of these companies make unfounded claims that their postpartum compression wrap or wrap will shrink your uterus, tighten your abdominal muscles, fade stretch marks, and return you to your pre-pregnancy figure in no time. We are all fans of shapewear and it’s an excellent way to smooth and slim your body for a specific outfit, especially for a special event; however, shapewear is not appropriate support for a post-baby body.”
When purchasing a tummy wrap please keep the following features in mind:
The design that provides the most comprehensive support should be long enough to wrap the area from under the breast to just below the buttocks (so you can easily go to the bathroom when needed).
This longer design provides a holistic support to all of your organs including the pelvic area which houses the colon, intestines and bladder. The pelvic floor can remain unstable for up to five months after child birth. The lack of organ support is the main reason why women have urine leakage when coughing, sneezing or laughing after giving birth.
Abdominal firming paste
Normally a special herbal firming paste is used with a postpartum wrap. Women apply the paste on their abdomen area, and then cover with a thin cloth, before putting on the wrap. The paste is absorbed by the skin and is very effective in strengthening and firming stomach muscles, toning the loose abdominal skin and stimulating blood flow and loss of water retention.