Monday, October 27, 2014

Postpartum Belly Binding {31 Days of Postpartum Health & Healing}

If you're like me, the after shock of what a baby-less belly looks like is a bit shocking. Like a deflated mushy balloon, only it's not air inside, it's your organs! Or it's a little bit like kneading a batch of bread dough...moving on...

A look at postpartum practices around the world will show us one thing they almost all have in common: abdominal binding after birth. Fortunately, postpartum belly binding is becoming more popular in the U.S. as more women are learning about the benefits.

As we discussed in the last post, during pregnancy, the connective tissue of the abdomens stretches incredibly thin, and sometimes has a difficult time coming back together correctly, especially if doing activities that stress the abdominal wall - like crunchies and plank - leading to the condition of diastasis recti. Splinting after birth can assist this healing process. According to Julie Tupler, inventor of the Tupler Technique and author of Lose Your Mummy Tummy"Wearing a splint can be compared to wearing a cast for a broken bone. You want to keep the two bones (like connective tissue) in the same position continuously so they will heal. 'Protecting' the connective tissue is about not doing activities that stretch or put intra-abdominal force or pressure on the weak tissue."

Photo from
Diastasis can lead to all sorts of uncomfortable problems for women that can last for many years: low back and hip pain, pelvic floor pressure and uterine prolapse, and stress incontinence, and looking like you have a "pooch" that won't go away no matter how many "ab" exercises you do.

While a splint by itself will not heal a diastasis and should not be used long term, it will aid your body and help as you re-learn proper realignment and re-stabilize the core through proper exercises that strengthen the natural corset of the body, the transverse abdominus.

The main goal is to strengthen your core in the appropriate way so that you no longer need the splint.

According to Kelly Dean, PT of the Tummy Team, "Proper positioning of an abdominal splint for belly binding helps approximate the 2 sides of the outer most abdominals...and provides your temporary transverse abdominis (corset) to help realign and support your back and organs and help increase blood supply to improve healing to the area."

If you do decide to splint, make sure you do it correctly - wearing it too tight is the #1 mistake that most women make and was a mistake I was making before being corrected by my chiropractor. Watch this video and read these instructions from the Tummy Team for detailed information.

There are several inexpensive splints available on Amazon (although the belly bandit certainly is cute!) or through the Tummy Team website.

Belly Bandit on Amazon

Resources & Learn More

The Splint is Temporary, Your Transverse is Forever from Kelly Dean, PT
Abdominal Splinting with Video Demo from Kelly Dean, PT / Tummy Team
Binding Your Belly After Birth from Fit2Be
Articles by Julie Tupler, RN or the Tupler Technique
The Tupler Technique book by Julie Tupler and the Tupler Technique web site
Diastasis Recti Test + Exercises: What Works and What Doesn't from Wendy Powell

(Disclaimer: I am not a Tummy Team affiliate, I just love the information they provide! I am however an Amazon affiliate and receive a small commission if you choose to shop through the links provided.) 

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