There are a number of different supports that can accompany both pregnancy and the postpartum period. These are sometimes critical tools to help you return to “normal” but should not be considered a long term solution but rather a short term aid.
One of the most frequently used supports is a tummy support postpartum. These supports vary from cultural to culture and from country to country. For example in South East Asia, abdomen binding known as Bengkung binding is a common technique used to try and help support the body after giving birth. Where as for example in certain parts of Europe a simple tubigrip stocking type support is worn. There are many and various different types of pre-made velcro and elasticated supports that can be used as well.
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WHEN NOT TO USE ABDOMEN BINDERS
These postpartum supports can be helpful but they need to be undertaken with caution. The idea of the support is to help the abdomen and if applied correctly, in theory reduce pressure on the pelvic floor. However there are certain situations where binding should be avoided:
- C-section: immediately after C-section the wound needs time to heal again there is no conclusive evidence on when the bindings can be applied with some suggesting 2 weeks and others 6 weeks. It is best to have a discussion with your Ob/Gyn about when it is safe for you to begin using one.
- Prolapse: this is where binders can be a huge issue. If applied too tightly they can compress the abdomen too much and create an increase in pressure onto a potentially weakened and or damaged pelvic floor. If you have a known prolapse then generally binders are not advised. If when using one you start to feel a heavy pressure or bulge inside the vagina it is advised to stop use and see a pelvic floor therapist.
- Pain: the abdomen binding is meant to help to support the abdomen and reduce pain. If however you find that you get an increase in pain anywhere on using the binder then stop immediately and consult a health care practitioner.
Remember the binders are not a cure and should not be used forever but only while needed! They are a support and as soon as you’ve been given the all clear to start exercising it is the most important component in regaining the strength and support that was decreased during pregnancy. Try our PELVIC FLOOR ACTIVATION workout.
PELVIC FLOOR SUPPORTS
In the first 6-8 weeks immediately post party wearing any kind of pelvic floor support may be very uncomfortable as the purpose of the support wear is to lift up the pelvic floor. This pressure on a healing vulva and perineum could be very painful. While there is some evidence to support the use of pelvic floor support shorts we do not advise it until after you have been given the clear from your healthcare provider. And again it should be noted that it can be a wonderful adjunct for women with prolapse discomfort and urinary incontinence but is not as effective as pelvic floor muscle training, so should ideally be undertaken with a program of pelvic floor work.