Let’s talk about belly binding. The devise that goes along with practice goes by a number of names in the Western world including: belly belts, belly wraps, abdominal binders, postpartum corsets, or postpartum abdominal bands. It’s a practice women have been doing post-pregnancy across the globe in many cultures for centuries. Interestingly, in Japan this belly band is called a sarachi, in Latin American countries it’s called a faja, and in Malaysia it’s called a Bengkung wrap. These belly binders can be found on the commercial market, or can be found at home if you have at hand a corset, a girdle, a long wide cotton scarf, or a long wide piece of muslin fabric. Search YouTube to discover the multitude of binding techniques made available. It’s difficult to wrap your torso by yourself so get someone to help you out.
So “what is” belly binding and what “does it do”? As the term suggests it’s a practice of binding or wrapping one’s belly after giving birth. The methods differ somewhat by culture but in essence the technique involves tying a long strip of cloth around the abdomen or midsection during the postpartum period to help support the womb. Over time as the abdomen contracts, this cloth is shortened and tightened. As a Birth Doula, I suggest my clients obtain a piece of Egyptian cotton say 90 centimeters wide (40 inches) and 12 meters long (40 feet) and wrap it snugly around the chest from the sternum down to the pubic bone. Wear it for only 8 hours a day.
No matter the name given to this binding cloth, the purpose is universal. A belly band is used to do many things including helping the uterus return to its normal position within the pelvis. While pregnant a woman’s body has gone through many profound changes. These changes may make us feel open and vulnerable in the first weeks after giving birth. This simple and ancient practice offers women many important healing properties after pregnancy. Belly binding helps to decrease postpartum bleeding. It helps put your stretched abdominal muscles (or diastasis recti), rib cage, ligaments and hips back into alignment. It helps to prevent back pain. Having your torso bound gives you good posture, so when you sit and walk straight it prevents you from slouching while nursing. Belly binding assists in abdominal wall muscle contraction (, and supports the whole torso in helping your vital organs return to their pre-pregnancy positions. Belly binding combined with breastfeeding may cause your uterus to contract back to size sooner than later. It’s most effective to bind your belly during the first 8 weeks after pregnancy.
Keep in mind that at some point when you’re ready you’ll need to unbind yourself and start exercising your core muscles to build up those abs. Are you expecting soon? Consider this technique. Beyond all the important healing qualities it makes you feel happy and secure. Need more information, just reach out and contact me.
Image used from this website: “Bengkung Belly Binding,” 2016