Is the belly band for temporary support after a c-section or do you think it will help your core recover after birth?
Let’s break that down a bit.
Do you need a belly band for core recovery
First of all, you don’t “need” a band postpartum. I know there are claims out there that a postpartum band can help heal your core, shape your waist, and train your abs.
Not true folks.
I know it seems plausible that using a band will help hold your abs together and therefore allow them to heal without diastasis, kind of like a butterfly bandage closing up a cut. But, that’s not how muscle coordination and strength works.
Working on strengthening your core postpartum is a mixture of coordination, progressive overload of strength, and TIME. Squeezing the muscles together externally isn’t going to get you there faster.
What will help you gain core strength postpartum:
- practicing connection to the deep core muscles (transverse abdominis)
- practicing pressure management strategies to reduce repeated excess pressure into the linea alba (tissue separating the abs)
- performing core exercises in all directions (flexion, extension, rotation, anti-rotation) that starts with the basics and progressively builds
Why a belly band postpartum may not be right for you
A big concern with postpartum belly bands is the level of tension in the wrap. You NEED to be able to have full expansion in your breath and not be creating inward pressure into your core.
Think of your core as a canister (see image below). When you take full 360 degree breaths, your diaphragm syncs with your pelvic floor to allow for full range of motion. That means both contraction and expansion. You need BOTH in order to have optimal function in your pelvic floor and reduce your risk of symptoms
If you can’t fully expand with your breaths, that may mean you aren’t getting a full expansion of your pelvic floor and can lead to a hypertonic (or tight) pelvic floor. A tight pelvic floor isn’t a good thing.
Speaking of symptoms, a tight postpartum belly band can also lead to an increase in downward pressure on the pelvic floor. Pressure has to go somewhere. When you’re pushing pressure inward, the pressure is more likely to go in and down. And that consistent downward pressure into a healing pelvic floor (yes it’s still healing even if you had a c-section) can lead to an increased risk in developing pelvic organ prolapse symptoms.
Reasons I would recommend a postpartum support band –
Belly band and c-section recovery
When you are recovering from a c-section it can sometimes feel better to have some counterpressure at the incision site. This is one reason you may see recommendations of placing a pillow against your abdomen when you cough, sneeze, or go to stand up from a chair.
If you’re expecting to have a c-section and think this might help you, go for it. Just make sure the band isn’t too tight. SRC Recovery Shorts and the ReCore Fitness Postpartum Band may be options to look into.
Personally, I’ve had 3 c-sections myself. Not gonna lie, the first couple of weeks were rough. I think I mastered literally rolling off the couch and doing a 5 point turn to stand. I don’t believe a belly band would have made this feel any better (for me). Might be worth a shot for you though if the cost is accessible.
Want to restore your core and pelvic floor postpartum? FIT Core Restore is for you. Join the community of people working their way through diastasis, prolapse, and postpartum recovery so they can enjoy lifting (and living) again without worrying about their abs or vag.
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