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Postpartum belly wraps aim to support the abdominal muscles during the postpartum period. Some can shield cesarean delivery scars from irritation, and a few claim to help return the stomach to its prepregnancy size.
There is very little scientific research to support the use of these devices, but physical therapists sometimes recommend them to provide extra support after giving birth.
Postpartum belly wraps, much like an ankle wrap after a sprained ankle, support the abdominal muscles, commonly known as the abs, after birth.
During pregnancy, the growing uterus stretches the abs and causes them to separate. A wrap can add additional support as the muscles heal.
Some people also wear postpartum wraps to help compress loose stomach muscles and look more toned in the postpartum period. While this may improve self-esteem as the body heals, there is no evidence that postpartum wraps help a person lose weight.
Although very few studies have tested these devices, those that have offer promising results. A 2019 study of people recovering from a cesarean delivery found that those who used binding abdominal wraps experienced less pain in the postpartum period.
A person should speak to their healthcare provider before using postpartum wraps or compression devices, especially if they experienced complications during pregnancy or after delivery.
Postpartum wraps are not corsets or waist trainers, and a person should not use them as such. It is important not to wrap the material so tightly that it dramatically changes the shape of the torso.
These tips can also help protect against injury:
- If the wrap is uncomfortable, take it off and try again or switch brands.
- Avoid very tight wraps. The goal is light compression. Heavy compression increases pressure in the abdomen and can damage the pelvic floor. Damage to the pelvic floor muscles can, in turn, lead to organ prolapse and urinary or fecal incontinence.
- When using a do-it-yourself wrap or a wrap that needs to go around the belly several times, wrap from the bottom up, never from the top down.
- Use only elastic wraps, which make it easier to breathe and move.
- Do not use a wrap as a substitute for appropriate postpartum pelvic floor and abdominal muscle care. A pelvic floor physical therapist can help with injured abdominal muscles, bladder leakage, and postpartum pain.
- Stop using the wrap if it leads to dizziness or increased postpartum bleeding.
Always speak to a doctor or medical professional about any concerns regarding the safety of using a postpartum belly wrap or compression device.
Please note that no one at Medical News Today, including the writer, has tried the products below. The information is purely research-based.
The following wraps and compression garments are suitable for most people to use postpartum.
Belly Bandit Mother Tucker Leggings
Belly Bandit’s leggings offer gentle compression in a high waisted legging that works well for postpartum bodies.
The highly stretchable elastic adapts as the body changes, and the leggings are opaque, making them ideal for wearing outside of the house.
They come in black, dark heather gray, and steel.
ProCare Premium Panel Abdominal Elastic Binder
The ProCare elastic binder uses adjustable velcro, which means that it can fit many different body sizes.
Reviewers say that it provides targeted, adjustable compression without irritating the skin or riding up.
As it includes several elastic panels, it compresses evenly and consistently rather than digging into the skin.
BraceAbility Plus Size Bariatric Abdominal Binder
For plus size people who struggle to find options that fit, the BraceAbility binder offers comfortable binding in larger sizes.
The binder consists of a single piece of elastic material, with no irritating hooks or closures.
The adjustable velcro allows the binder to grow and shrink to suit a changing postpartum body.
Marena Recovery Girdle
This product is an ideal solution for all-over comfort and smoothing.
With shorts that extend to the knees and compression covering the entire abdominal area, the girdle still makes breastfeeding possible by dipping down at the front.
As it comprises a single piece of material, it will not ride up or irritate the skin. The girdle comes in black or beige.
Blanqi Everyday Lift-Up Support Tank
An ideal choice for people who are breastfeeding, the Blanqi tank sits below the bra line for easy access.
It offers compression for the entire waist and stomach. It is also a great option to wear under a shirt for breastfeeding modesty and comfort.
The smooth material will not irritate the skin, and it offers lighter compression than traditional binders.
People who have undergone a cesarean delivery may wish to look for a wrap that provides support without the risk of irritating stitches.
Leonisa Firm Compression Postpartum Panty
This Leonisa item is a high waisted panty with an adjustable velcro wrap, so a person can change the compression level as they heal.
The device forms a single piece, so a person does not have to worry about it irritating cesarean delivery stitches.
The panty comes in beige or black.
Belly Bandit C-Section Short
These shorts are a great option for people who experience overheating postpartum.
They can wear the shorts as they are for hot-weather comfort or put them on under clothes for additional support.
The shorts are a single piece, so they will not irritate cesarean delivery scars. They offer significant compression, and the elastic fabric can adapt to a person’s changing postpartum shape.
Belly Bandit C-Section & Postpartum Recovery Undies
As an alternative to shorts, these undies are smooth across the back, with corset-style accents in the front.
They provide significant support and have a high waist that will not irritate stitches.
People can choose between beige and black undies.
A postpartum belly wrap will not permanently change the body, but it can make the early postpartum days more comfortable.
These wraps are safe, as long as a person does not wrap them too tightly and has not experienced pregnancy or birth complications.
People who worry about postpartum pain or want a recommendation for a quality wrap should talk to a doctor, midwife, or pelvic floor physical therapist.