A sore incision and fear of infection can make it hard to know when to wear an abdominal belt after a c-section. But, if you stick to the time limits and keep them clean, they’re generally safe to wear as soon as you leave the hospital.
Just keep in mind that they’re designed for support and pain management, not for weight loss and body sculpting. So, belly wrapping is only worth it if you find it more comfortable, not less.
When Should You Start Wearing an Abdominal Belt After a C-Section?
You can start wearing your abdominal binder as soon as 1 day after your cesarean, as long as:
- Your doctor has given you the OK.
- You have no sign of infection.
- Your wound is closed.
- Your blood pressure is normal, and you did not have preeclampsia.
In some cases, your doctor may ask you to wait 6 weeks post-cesarean before wearing a band. This is usually how long it takes for the external incision to heal. Your doctor may recommend this if:
- Your wound is becoming irritated.
- You heal slowly due to diabetes or obesity.
- You have a history of complications with c-section incisions.
How Long Should You Wear an Abdominal Belt After a C-Section?
Start by wearing your belly band for between 2 and 4 hours per day. Then, as you get used to it, you can increase the length to between 8 and 12 hours. Don’t wear your band for more than 12 hours a day, as your incision needs air to heal.
You should also wear the belt during the day when you are most active and need the support. Sleeping in an ab belt can be uncomfortable, cause reflux, and restrict blood flow.
When Can You Stop Wearing a Belly Binder After a C-Section?
It’s best to stop wearing your belly wrap 12 weeks after your cesarean delivery. By this point, your stomach will have healed, and any additional effects of the band will be minimal.
Continuing to wear a belt after 3 months could cause your body to become reliant on the support. This could weaken your abdominal muscles in the long term. If you’re enjoying the comfort of your belt and don’t feel ready to give it up, move on to postpartum shapewear.
Does an Abdominal Belt Reduce Your Tummy After a C-Section?
Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that wearing a belly band post-cesarean will shrink your tummy. Yes, the compression may allow you to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes. But it works like regular shape wear, and you’ll spring back as soon as you take it off.
Some manufacturers claim that their ab belts can help your uterus shrink back to its normal size. This could be useful for reducing the length of postpartum bleeding. But there’s no evidence this works, and studies have shown no effect on blood loss.
So, belly binding is not a miracle method to get you out of your maternity jeans. A balanced diet and exercise after 6 weeks postpartum is the only way.
Can Belly Bands Heal Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis Recti is the separation of abdominal muscles caused by pregnancy. If you’re lucky, they can knit themselves back together on their own. If you’re unlucky, you may need surgery.
Logically, it seems to make sense that a belly band could hold your muscles together and help them heal. However, research has shown that their effectiveness is questionable.
The best way to avoid surgical repair is to see a physical therapist. They’ll prescribe specialized exercises for your abdominal muscles. Normal ab workouts will do more harm than good.
Is an Abdominal Belt Useful After a C-Section?
So if abdominal binders can’t shrink your belly or heal your diastasis recti, why are they so popular? And why do some doctors recommend them?
Well, there are a few reasons:
- Encouraging good posture
- Easing postoperative distress
- Pain relief
Let’s take a look in more detail.
Pregnancy hormones can leave your ligaments a little too relaxed. You may have experienced this during pregnancy in the form of symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) or pelvic girdle pain (PGP).
It seems unfair, but these conditions can persist after you’ve given birth. You might even develop postpartum back pain from loose ligaments and lifting your baby.
In these cases, abdominal belts can be very helpful. They’ll provide the extra support to keep everything in the right place and can reduce pain. They can even help you walk further.
Wearing a belly belt can encourage better posture. This is especially important when holding and feeding your little one. Poor posture while trapped on the couch under a sleeping baby is a major cause of postpartum back pain.
Easing Postoperative Distress
Recovering from major abdominal surgery while looking after a tiny baby is stressful. Many women worry about ripping their stitches or rupturing their internal wound. For some, wearing an ab belt is comforting and eases stress.
It’s possible that wearing an abdominal belt post-c-section can provide some pain relief. This is because the added support can ease pressure on the wound.
Are There Any Risks of Using a Postpartum Belly Wrap After a C-Section?
Belly wrapping after a cesarean section is generally safe. But, wearing one too tightly or for too long can cause:
- Wound irritation
- Incision infection
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Shallow breathing
- Digestive Issues
To avoid these side effects, make sure your belt fits comfortably and allows you to take a full deep breath. If in doubt, see a specialist to have yours fitted correctly.
It’s also important to clean your wrap regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Allowing it to become dirty could introduce bacteria to your healing incision.
Postpartum abdominal binding will not help you lose weight or sculpt your body back into its pre-pregnancy shape. But it can provide support, reduce pain and increase mobility after cesarean delivery. So, only wear one if you find it comfortable.