Postpartum Belly Binding: Do You Need It?

Hey Mommas,

For your O’ahu Doula Notes this week, I’m focusing on postpartum belly binding. Did you know that two out of three women have postpartum abdominal separation, also known as diastasis recti? You usually get this while you’re pregnant. The pressure from baby pushes your abdominal wall outwards and separates the long, vertical muscles. Think about that for a second. Your abs are separated. That’s like a main support beam being knocked out from under you! Sheesh. If you’ve already had a baby, are you certain it healed properly? If you’re currently pregnant, do you have a plan for healing after baby arrives?

I recently learned how to do postpartum belly binding and I want all of you to have this support. A doula sister taught me how to do bengkung binding (for mommas that had a vaginal birth) and wraps for mommas with c-sections.

What I like most about postpartum belly binding is the ritual. Sure, you can purchase an abdominal wrap from Amazon that is a “one size fits all” kind of thing. But when you receive postpartum belly binding from me, you get a mālama momma moment to pause, reflect, and focus on self-care. At your first visit, we assess the severity of your abdominal separation. You will lie down and put your fingers between your vertical muscles above the belly button. Is it one finger? Two fingers? Three… four? Once this is identified, you have a baseline to measure your progress over the next 6 weeks. Next, with spa music playing in the background, we start with a relaxing experience (either a light massage or an AromaTouch technique with essential oils on my comfy massage table). I’ll remind you to be mindful of the incredible journey your body has just been through. You will take a moment to acknowledge the strength of your muscles and joints. You will breath in and out and relax. Once you’re up, we begin to belly bind with your natural muslin wrap. If your partner is home, I encourage him to be present so he can observe the wrap and learn how to assist you. The wrapping takes about 5 minutes. Finally, you will enjoy the supportive benefits of the belly bind for the rest of the day {aim for 6 hours… if it’s more like 4 hours - no big deal! We live in hot Hawai’i.}.

Doesn’t that sound amazing? I wish I had this service after my two babies.

In a study done by obstetric physical therapy researchers, 30 mommas reported back on the benefits of postpartum belly binding and abdominal exercises. The core support from belly binding has many proven benefits. The mommas in the study started their binding within 2 days of delivery, and they got STRONGER and SKINNIER and HAD LESS PAIN. Please note that this particular study highlights the increased benefit of abdominal exercises. I'll write another post on postpartum physical therapy and movement to heal.

Key Benefits of Postpartum Belly Binding:

  • Increase in abdominal strength

  • Decrease in abdominal separation

  • Decrease in waist circumference

  • Supports the spine

  • Improves posture

  • Stabilizes the body by supporting ligaments and muscles

  • Reduces strain on lower back and pelvic joints

  • Alleviates back and pelvic pain

  • Improves ability to lift

  • Assist organs returning to their pre-pregnancy position

It makes perfect sense. When we reduce stress and support the muscles in our core, our body has the ability to heal faster in the delicate postpartum phase. If you think you “missed the boat” and had your baby months or years ago, it’s not too late. I just did a session with a momma yesterday and she is 14 months postpartum. Check right now. Lie down flat. Insert a finger between the two vertical muscles right below your belly button. Raise your shoulders off the floor like a partial crunch. Can you fit a finger in there? Can you fit two? If you can, then you have diastasis recti. If you have any abdominal separation, belly binding would be useful for you. I would also suggest getting in touch with a physical therapist that specializes in postpartum diastasis recti. Get on a plan, momma! You can do this. And you have support. Just reach out.

Did you enjoy this? I hope it was useful. Get in touch with me if you have any questions or want to get wrapped yourself. I’ve also heard the binding feels comforting when you’re on your period. I’m going to try it out on myself this month and report back here in the comments section.

Have a lovely February,


#oahudoulanotes #doulanotes #doula #postpartum #postpartumbellybinding

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