Do you recommend a compression band after pregnancy?
March 16, 2021 6:56 AM   Subscribe

I'm not even sure this is the right terminology. Did you use a supportive garment for your stomach after giving birth and if so, do you recommend it?

I have seen a few options advertised and I can't tell if they are for "shaping" purposes (not my concern) or for supporting your body as it recovers (something I would probably appreciate).

I will be post-partum in the summer so heat may be a factor. I am typically very active and I am wondering if a garment would help me get back to my activity levels more comfortably. Thanks!

Sorry if this question has been asked and I am just using the wrong search terms.
posted by Emmy Rae to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total)
Best answer: I didn't use or need one. I had a relatively uncomplicated vaginal delivery and recovery. I think they're more advised for people who had C-sections and the abdominal area requires much more healing.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:00 AM on March 16, 2021 [3 favorites]

I also didn't have or need one, similar circumstances to DoubleLune. I did wear mostly maternity leggings for several months afterward, and the fold-down waistband was mildly supportive. You should wear whatever feels comfortable for your body, but you don't need to buy every item the maternity world wants to sell you.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 7:17 AM on March 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I didn't need one after. I did, however, need one BEFORE, as did many friends, to hold my pelvis together under the weight of the giant ass baby.
posted by stray at 7:45 AM on March 16, 2021 [9 favorites]

Best answer: They called it a binder when I had my c-sections. It was given to me at the hospital. It was a lifesaver. I could not have gone without it, and used it for quite a while at home. I had one baby in July and one in August, but the heat was not a bother, the need for it overweighed the small amount of sweating.
posted by maxg94 at 7:46 AM on March 16, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I had a C section and bought the one they had at the hospital store on my Drs orders. A++! I wore it for a month I think and it made life much more comfortable. The only thing is it had Velcro that was SO LOUD it would wake up the baby sleeping when I took it off. So that's something to check. Congratulations!
posted by athirstforsalt at 7:54 AM on March 16, 2021 [2 favorites]

This was in summer in India, FWIW. It didn't seem annoyingly hot but rather... essential to my function. I did wear it OVER my clothes because I hated it against my skin. Anyway I had these disturbing postpartum sweats that are apparently common so the binder thing was the least of my concerns.
posted by athirstforsalt at 7:57 AM on March 16, 2021

Best answer: I had it with two C sections and it was essential. Held together all my middle bits when it felt like I'd been hollowed out with an ice cream scoop. I had one kid at the beginning of the summer and didn't have problems with overheating (any more than usual, that is).
posted by House of Leaves of Grass at 8:03 AM on March 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

I had a 10lb. baby and a C-section 30+ years ago, and the incision felt incredibly fragile. My belly felt awful and mushy. I asked about such a thing and was told nothing existed and I didn't need it, but it would have felt more comfortable. I suspect the size of the baby and mow much your skin is stretched makes a big difference.
posted by theora55 at 8:24 AM on March 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

I had a c section a couple weeks ago and one nurse in particular insisted I wear a belly band. (Which seemed like standard advice and was free in the maternity ward.) I kept it on for a couple days but ended up taking it off. I felt like it was preventing me from deep belly breathing, and therefore increasing my anxiety.

I don’t personally think it helped me get active sooner either—the best thing for that for me is to find some ob-approved exercise programs to do that are safe for early post partum. I like “hazy days” from momma strong, but there are others.
posted by tinymegalo at 8:33 AM on March 16, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I had a 10lb8oz baby vaginally and had some abdominal separation postpartum. Some belly support was really helpful for a little while until things got to feeling a little more normal.
posted by fancyoats at 8:37 AM on March 16, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I wish anyone had given me one post C 10 years ago. I did have a supportive belt that I wore to support my big belly in the last weeks of pregnancy. That was great. I also really recommend seeking out exercise and info about diastasis and abs for postpartum bellies. It took me about a year after my C to start paying attention to that but once I did, I felt so much better and strong and “myself.”
posted by amanda at 9:19 AM on March 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

I had a 7.5 lb baby and an uncomplicated vaginal delivery and didn't need one, I was walking miles a few days after birth. I suspect the important factor is C-section or complications. I used one for my entire third trimester though since my back and hips were so stressed.

The thing is, you do not know what kind of birth you'll have. You might need one, or not. My advice is to wait until you find out - you can always order what you need then.
posted by epanalepsis at 9:31 AM on March 16, 2021 [2 favorites]

Another person who used a belly band in late 2nd/3rd trimester, but not postpartum. I've heard them recommended both for immediate aesthetic purposes and long term recovery purposes (some part of which is aesthetic), and I had vaguely intended to use one postpartum. But frankly I wound up with bigger recovery problems, heh, plus a wonderful needy baby, and I just didn't think about it and didn't do it.

I'm not aware of any actual science on the matter, would be curious if anyone else has seen any.
posted by february at 10:13 AM on March 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

I had 2 c-sections and I remember wearing a velcro belly band a few times in the very early days, but not much afterwards. I felt I couldn't sit comfortably, and it was very noticeable under my warm weather clothes. I'm a petite woman and it kept rolling down at the top or bunching.

Ymmv, but I found that some good stretchy highwaisted skinny/slim jeans did a much better job of supporting me.
posted by sundaydriver at 10:19 AM on March 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

I've seen them recommended for a woman with severe diastasis recti, separation of the abdominal muscles. Hers was so bad it was giving her back problems. The band like held her together so she could walk properly while her body healed slowly.
posted by glasseyes at 10:40 AM on March 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Most people do not need a post-surgical compression garment after a c-section, even fewer need a compression garment after an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. Those that need one definitely do need them. It depends on how much swelling you have and how fast you heal and how much danger of tearing you have. They can reduce post surgical pain enormously.

If you need to use a pillow to support your belly to cough to prevent pain while you are still in hospital, I would say you might need one and can order one then. If you don't need the pillow to support your belly for coughing and laughing, I don't think you do.

You are a lot less likely to need one after your first baby. If you are on baby number seventeen you are a lot more likely to need one.

I had three full term deliveries, the first one a c-section and did not need one. However I did need some kind of pelvic floor support after the second birth as for the first few days could not walk or stand without significant pain. I was only comfortable either lying down or sitting on a cushion; when I needed to walk down a long hall to the kitchen I resorted to crawling on hands and knees, giggling all the way down, as it was the better option. The reason there was so much damage in my case was because the baby should also probably have been a c-section but my doctor, at my request, used forceps and removed the child by brute force. Everything swelled up so much that for over a week I had to be catheterized so I could pee. There is still no generally effective garment for this issue.
posted by Jane the Brown at 10:46 AM on March 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Vaginal delivery, winter, diastasis recti. I loved my tubigrip that they gave me at the hospital and wore it religiously. I wish they had given me two so I could wash one while wearing the other. (Tubigrip is a tube of elasticated material- tubigrip is the brand)

It was probably a combination of not needing it anymore and the weather warning up that stopped me wearing it, but I imagine I would have worn it a lot in summer too, had I had a summer baby.

For me it held me together and provided a bit of security so I could focus on newborn care rather than holding myself together.
posted by freethefeet at 2:42 PM on March 16, 2021

Vaginal birth, remarkably little diastisis rectii, but it turns out the pelvic separation from pregnancy did not resolve. I had joint laxity for the entire time I breastfed and probably could have done with a hip band - my PT recommended it nearly a decade after as the symphis pubis in particular is still more movable along with everything else. He did say just regular slimming underwear would work but that's very much post-pregnancy.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:44 PM on March 16, 2021

I had a vaginal birth and needed extra support for a few weeks. I mostly wore high-waisted supportive underwear. I occasionally wore an ace bandage wrap. While I did not have any postpartum medical issues, I did feel like a windsock and it took my abdominal muscles a bit to contract to the point that they felt like they would actually support me.
posted by ASlackerPestersMums at 5:02 PM on March 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

I had two c-sections. After the first one, the hospital gave me a surgical abdominal binder, which I wore for about a week - maybe only five days - and found very helpful. After the second c-section (in a different hospital) they didn’t provide the binders automatically, but gave me one when I asked. Again, I found it incredibly helpful for the first few days and it helped me get up and moving, but I quickly stopped needing it.
posted by insectosaurus at 5:20 PM on March 16, 2021

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