After pregnancy and childbirth, many women are eager to start the process of healing their stretched-out middles and strengthening their weakened core muscles.
Their bodies have undergone tremendous transformation to bring a child into the world. So, it can take time and effort to bring them back to their pre-pregnancy shapes.
While the body has an incredible natural recovery process during the postpartum period, there are several things you can do to assist it. Practices like getting adequate rest, doing the right kinds of exercise, and maintaining hydration and a nutritious diet all play a role in making postpartum recovery and weight loss smoother.
Another practice that can be using during postpartum recovery is called waist training. This has been practiced in various forms for centuries in cultures around the world. But since it is not as common in the U.S., many people wonder if it’s still okay to do. If you’re wondering if it’s safe to waist train after having a baby or whether it’s effective, here’s what you need to know.
(Note that this is not medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider before experimenting with any new health practice in the postpartum period.)
What Is Postpartum Waist Training and How Does It Work?
Postpartum waist training is the practice of wearing a compression garment around your midsection in the weeks and months following childbirth. Its purpose is to supplement the natural healing and weight loss process with compression and support.
Compression is widely used for therapeutic purposes. During the postpartum period, it has several benefits.
First, compression stimulates heat and blood flow around the midsection, which aids your body’s natural process of flushing out excess fluid and healing damaged tissues. Some people find that this gentle pressure makes the healing process more comfortable.
A postpartum waist training garment also acts a bit like a splint in the early stages of postpartum recovery. Your internal organs and muscles are naturally returning to their pre-pregnancy positions and sizes, and so a waist trainer acts like a gentle guide.
You’ll find after having a baby that your core is weak and you slouch more easily. A waist trainer provides support for your weakened core and helps you have better posture. There are many benefits to good posture, including prevention of back pain, and boosted confidence and mood.
You can continue to practice waist training indefinitely after the initial postpartum period. It can help you have better workouts and complements a healthy lifestyle. Waist trainers also have the added benefits of boosting confidence, helping your clothes fit better and motivating you to follow through with your health goals.
Is Postpartum Waist Training Safe?
If you’re still wondering whether postpartum waist training is safe, just remember to follow common sense and listen to your body.
While a properly fitted waist trainer will feel snug, it should never cause pain or shortness of breath. If you ever feel uncomfortable, take it off. You don’t have to wear it around the clock to experience the benefits. Wear it as long as you feel comfortable and are experiencing the benefits. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
Note that you should also take special care if you want to wear a waist trainer following a c-section. Be careful that your garment doesn’t rub against your incision or cause any discomfort around it.
How Soon After Birth Can I Waist Train?
With the go-ahead from your healthcare provider, you can start postpartum waist training, also known as belly binding, as soon as you are comfortable and ready after birth. You may start feeling the benefits of compression as soon as your abdomen starts to contract.
In the first six weeks, you’ll want waist training to just provide gentle compression. Your abdomen will still be quite swollen due to excess fluid. At this point you may need a waist trainer that is easily adjustable and in a larger size. You can wear a gentle compression garment up to about 10 hours a day to get the most benefit.
What Does Postpartum Waist Training Look Like in Different Stages?
After six weeks have passed, your organs will have returned to their pre-pregnancy sizes and positions and excess fluid will be mostly flushed out. You can experiment with tightening your waist trainer at this point or even going down a size. With approval from your healthcare provider, you may also begin gradually introducing exercise.
More and more, you can start transitioning into a regular waist training routine. This is different than postpartum belly binding in the first six weeks because it involves firmer compression.
At first, you may need an adjustment period to get accustomed to high compression. If you want to practice a daily waist training regimen, start with just an hour or two a day at full compression. After that, you can take the waist trainer off, or leave it on a looser setting.
Gradually add a half an hour to an hour each day of firm compression. By about 12 weeks postpartum, you may be able to experience the full benefits of wearing a waist trainer the recommended 8–12 hours a day.
Working out in a waist trainer also has a number of benefits no matter what stage you’re at after six weeks. It stimulates heat and perspiration in your core, which effectively increases the intensity of your workouts without adding more effort. A waist trainer also reminds you to keep your back and posture straight.
As a new mom, you may find that a waist trainer is an easy addition to add to postpartum-friendly exercise like taking your baby for walks in the stroller or even doing light housework. While we also recommend working up to a well-rounded workout regimen that includes strength training, varying intensities of cardio, balance exercises and stretching, you can still benefit from squeezing in quick bursts of activity.
Having a baby in the home is exhausting, so just remember that doing something is better than doing nothing! Wearing a waist trainer can keep you motivated and on track.
What Is the Best Waist Trainer After Pregnancy?
When choosing a postpartum waist trainer, there a few factors to keep in mind.
During the early postpartum stage, from about zero to six weeks, you’ll want a waist training garment that provides gentle compression and is easily adjustable. You may want to have a larger size than you would normally to accommodate for your healing midsection.
Once you’re past the initial six-week period, you can start wearing your waist trainer tighter or wear one in a smaller size. It’s still important to have a garment that is easily adjustable, especially if you still have significant baby weight in your midsection that you’d like to lose. You may find that you’ll quickly size down your waist trainer if you are wearing it every day.
The Curve Creator Workout Band by Hourglass Angel HA101 has several features that make it ideal for postpartum waist trainer. Its double Velcro closure makes it easy to take on and off, and also easily adjustable. You could wear it as a gentle compression wrap during the early postpartum stages and then strap it tighter in the later stages.
When you’re ready, this garment is also a powerful workout aid. The neoprene core ramps up thermal activity, causing you to sweat more around your belly, sides and back. It increases your perspiration with minimum effort, so you can feel your exercise working. The latex also provides back support to give you a more confident posture.
The Zipper Latex Waist Trainer by Hourglass Angel HA104 is an excellent choice for everyday waist training. One of the features that makes it unique is the way it closes. Internally there are three rows of hook-and-eye closures, making it easily adjustable during periods of rapid weight loss. What’s more, there is zipper that closes over the top, which ensures a snug fit that stays in place and looks seamless under most clothes.
Another unique feature in this waist trainer is its steel boning, which we designed in house here at Hourglass Angel. Unlike other waist trainers which use plastic boning or no boning at all, this waist trainer’s boning works in tandem with its latex core to provide maximum compression, support and durability. Postpartum women who are working hard to get back into pre-baby shape will appreciate the way this garment holds its shape and enhances theirs.
Need More Help with Postpartum Waist Trainers?
We have a carefully curated selection of high-quality postpartum waist trainers in our online shop. Browse these options and find the ideal garment for your unique needs during this special stage of your life.
If you still need help finding the perfect postpartum waist trainer following your pregnancy, be sure to check out more waist training and shapewear tips on our blog and our social media channels. We also have a dedicated team of in-house stylists who are eager to help you and answer your questions.