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Do Bellybands Really Help After Pregnancy?

HelloFlo is a womens health company committed to normalizing the conversations we have about womens bodies so that we can all live healthier lives.

Bellybands are everywhere, but do they really do anything post-pregnancy?

Bellybands have been shown to provide posture support while reducing pain in pregnant women. But what about using bellybands after delivery — should you consider wearing one to improve your abdominal strength and get your waist back to its former glory?

Dr. Carolyn Thompson, a Nashville-based OB-GYN, said bellybands during pregnancy have been shown to provide back support and ease pain, but they aren’t necessarily needed after delivery.

More: What It’s Like to Have a Difficult Pregnancy

In abdominal surgery, binders are only used when individuals have had vertical midline incisions — something rarely done with cesareans these days, Thompson explained. In those circumstances, bellybands are used to provide greater support for the abdominal wall during healing to minimize tension on the wound. “Most postpartum women would not need it for this reason, but as something to provide more comfort, it is certainly worth a try if a woman wants,” she said.

There are bellybands (also known as binders) intended for use during pregnancy and separate ones marketed for postpartum.

“I don’t necessarily recommend them for all patients, but would not discourage them, as they provide extra support and may make women more comfortable postpartum,” Thompson added.

Jessica Anderson, who heads up midwifery and is an assistant professor at the University of Colorado College of Nursing, said she does not recommend the bands for all women because there isn’t enough evidence to determine if they are beneficial.

More: A Glimpse Into What Pregnancy After a Miscarriage Is Like

Notwithstanding, Anderson does not discredit that some new mothers may find it helpful to wear a bellyband.

“Wearing a band or support belt may help ease some of the discomforts which make day to day activities challenging,” Anderson said, adding that it’s important for women to also look at underlying causes of discomfort.

“There aren’t any reasons that women should not wear them,” she said.

If toning up is your reason behind committing to a bellyband, though, studies suggest working out instead if you’re able to.

More: 20 Foods Pregnant Women Crave the Most & Why the Heck You Want Them

A 2013 study in International Scholarly and Scientific Research & Innovation found that abdominal exercises from two days to six weeks after vaginal delivery resulted in improved abdominal muscle strength and lower inter-recti muscle distance compared to those who used a supportive band.

By Kristen Fischer

Originally published on HelloFlo.

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