Pregnancy can take a toll on your body, especially, on your abdominal area. After delivery, mothers try various methods to shed those excess kilos they gained during pregnancy. However, to get back to the pre-pregnancy body they have to concentrate on their abdomen. That’s probably the biggest pain point of moms who want to look their best post-pregnancy. One of the methods used to regain pre-pregnancy shape of the abdomen is tightly tying a cloth around the stomach.
The practice of tying the stomach after delivery is a part of different traditions from different parts of the world like Africa, China, Japan, etc. In India also postpartum belly binding is a routine procedure in Ayurveda. Tying the stomach with a cloth has been a common practice amongst different cultures in our country for ages.
Does Tying The Stomach After Delivery Help?
Abdominal binding is the practice where the belly of a new mother is tightly wrapped with a long cotton cloth for at least 5 to 6 hours at a stretch every day. This is usually practiced for around 30 -60 days post-delivery.
As already mentioned above, pregnancy takes a toll on a mom’s abdomen. A significant amount of fat cells accumulate in the belly region. The wall of the abdomen stretches to its limits during pregnancy to accommodate the growing uterus.
Related Reading: Being Overweight During Pregnancy- 10 Potential Complications
The over-stretched muscles will not contract instantly after delivery. This along with the fat deposit brings about a flab around the abdomen.
Binding the stomach helps the post-delivery body in many ways. Here are some of the benefits of tying stomach after delivery:
- According to Ayurveda, tying the stomach after delivery helps to settle Vata in the uterine cavity
- Stomach binding helps to tighten and strengthen abdominal muscles
- Tying the stomach after delivery helps to deal with hanging belly thereby helping with comfortable movements
- It provides excellent back support. It stabilizes the ligaments that loosen during pregnancy and delivery. This helps to reduce lower backache which is most common after delivery
- Tying the stomach after delivery helps to improved posture especially as mother has to hold her child for longer periods as in breastfeeding. Bad postures during breastfeeding bring about upper and lower back pain after delivery
- It can obviously help to prevent overeating
- It may help to prevent gas formation
- It is also believed that rightfully tying the stomach after delivery helps the organs that slightly shifted their position during pregnancy (due to the excessive pressure of the womb) to return to their correct positions.
If you are wonderingif it is safe to tie stomach after delivery, well there are some things to be taken into consideration to reap its benefits.
6 Important Things You Should Know About Tying Stomach After Delivery
1. It will not help to lose weight or directly manipulate body shape
Tying the stomach after delivery is not a way to lose weight after delivery. And relying on this alone will not help to regain the pre-pregnancy body shape. Consider this as a supplementary, an additional way, that supports your journey to regain pre-pregnancy body shape.
There are other factors like food and exercise that play a significant role in shedding pregnancy weight and regaining good shape. However, tying stomach after delivery, especially during the first few weeks after delivery directly supports the weakened abdominal muscles when they are at their weakest.
The shrinking of the uterus happens naturally after delivery. However, a small pressure from tying stomach may influence the pace of this shrinking to some extent. Remember there are no magic solutions that work overnight to regain body shape.
But practicing methods like tying stomach along with healthy lifestyle and physical activities will definitely help to regain pre-pregnancy body shape soon enough.
2. Be careful not to cinch the wrap too tightly
Tying your stomach too tight is one of the worst things you can do to your body after delivery. Yet many mothers do this mistake while wearing a postpartum belly binder. They think this will make their body bounce back to the pre-pregnancy shape quickly.
Little they are bothered about the healthy recovery of the body from the trauma caused during labor and delivery. Therefore they tend to compress the abdomen way more than they should.
Related Reading: 12 Important Tips For After Delivery Care
This can be the cause of many problems, and should be avoided at all costs. Tying the stomach too tightly can bring about serious consequences like pelvic organ prolapsed. Therefore when it comes to tying the stomach after delivery it is best to tighten it just enough to offer gentle support and not more than that.
3. Don’t wear the wrap for longer than you really need to
Tying the stomach may provide much-needed support to some extent right after delivery. However, wearing it longer than required provides no extra results. On the other hand, it could backfire. Tying a stomach minimum of 3 to 5 hours to a maximum of 6 -12 hours per day is enough to reap the results.
It is important to allow the body muscles to recover on their own. Giving them more support than they deserve eventually reduces their strength. By minimizing the time of tying the stomach you are allowing your muscle to do its functions without support. The sooner the muscles start to work quicker will be the recovery.
Please note that when we say let the muscles do their function it does not imply hitting the gym or do hard abs workouts. It simply means it is important to use your muscles in a comfortable way (not to overdo it).
Muscles can start to recover on their own while performing simple everyday tasks, like getting out of bed or couch, standing up, picking up your baby, etc. But if you bind your stomach all the time you are banning the muscles from doing their functions by providing unnecessary support.
4. Tying stomach after delivery is not safe for all women
It is important to acquire a green signal from your doctor before you start tying your stomach after delivery. Tying stomach after delivery is not safe for all new mothers.
Related Reading: The 10 Do’s And Don’ts After A C – Section
For example, women who have had serious complications like preeclampsia must not tie their stomachs. Likewise, women who have C-section complications like infections in cesarean incision are also advised not to tie their stomachs.
5. Tying stomach after delivery is not a solution to Diastasis recti
It is quite normal for the stomach muscles to separate as the pregnancy progresses to create more room for the enlarging uterus. This abdominal separation eventually will conjoin after delivery in a normal course.
Diastasis recti is a condition in which those stomach muscles remain separated even after delivery. Many people think postpartum wraps can help with diastasis recti. But that is not the case.
Even though tying stomach after delivery helps to reduce the discomforts, it is not to be used as a treatment for this condition. Diastsis recti cannot be fixed by tying the stomach.
6. It is most effective during the first 6 weeks postpartum
Many mothers, eager to get back to their previous shape, tend to tie their stomachs for a long time after delivery. This is unnecessary. You can reap the ideal results of tying your stomach only during the first six weeks after delivery. After this period of time, tying your stomach does bring about noticeable changes.
Also, tying the stomach 6 weeks after delivery could have the opposite effect. Instead of strengthening the muscles, binding the tummy can cause weakening of muscles. The ideal time to tie the stomach after delivery is between 2 days and 6 weeks after childbirth.
It is during this period the uterus contracts the fastest after childbirth. However, after the C section, it’s your doctor who can guide you through tying your stomach after evaluating certain factors.
When To Start Belly Binding After Birth?
Most of the doctors suggest the new mothers wait at least a day or two after delivery, before starting to tie their stomachs. This varies with mothers’ and their health conditions.
Therefore, it is always better to ask your doctor about the right time to start binding your tummy. Also, it is always better to consult a professional before you attempt on your own. This will not only help to understand the correct method and the process but also help to minimize the risk of injury.
Usually, after a normal delivery, if there are no other complications, a new mom can start tying her stomach within a few hours after delivery. On the other hand, if you plan to tie your stomach after a c-section it is sensible to wait until the wound has evidently healed. The operation scar usually takes around 6 to 8 weeks to heal.
It is mandatory to consult a doctor to find the right time to start stomach tying after a c-section. Even after the Doctor gives you a green signal it is very important stomach tying should not be too tight (it may cause issues on the surgical site) or too loose (it may not give desired results).
If you start tummy binding after a c-section at the wrong time it may trigger the following issues-
- Compression around the surgical site and consequent risk of incisional hernia
- The friction of the cloth may cause skin irritation in and around the stitches
How To Tie Cloth Around Stomach After Delivery?
There should be someone to help you with this for more perfection (at least when you are new to this). Let us find out how to tie the cloth around the stomach after delivery.
All you need is a cloth that is sufficiently thick (preferably of soft cotton). It should be 3-5 meters long and half a meter wide. Hold one end and start wrapping the cloth gently from the lower abdomen to the upper abdomen.
Related Reading: 9 Risks Of Exercising Too Soon Postpartum
Make sure you wind the cloth around the stomach 4 -5 times. Also, make sure the entire abdomen from below the chest to pelvic bone is thoroughly wrapped. After wrapping, tie the cotton (with both ends) on the right side of the abdomen.
Binding Tummy After Delivery- Risks And Myths
When you tie your stomach tightly with a cloth obviously your tummy looks reduced. However, as many women think, it is not a permanent solution for the bulged tummy. Tying your stomach too tight can put pressure on your uterus. This can result in;
- Exerting too much pressure on the uterus. This can end up in excessive bleeding
- Hernia due to the excessive pressure on the tummy
- Hindering with the healing of the wound (when it comes to tying stomach after a C section)
- Discomfort and pain if it is used throughout the day
- Complications after C-section. This is because even though the external wound appears to be healed, internal wounds take six to eight weeks to heal fully
- Inconvenience especially during hot and humid climate
How Long Should I Tie My Stomach After Normal Delivery?
It is recommended to tie the stomach for 30 to 40 days after childbirth. You can start tying your stomach after 24 hours in case of normal, uncomplicated vaginal delivery. However, refrain from tying it too tight for the initial few days to reduce the risk of excessive bleeding. And of course, your doctor is the best person to seek advice.
It will undoubtedly take a while for your body to return to its former shape. After all, it took 9 months for it to get to where it is now. Do not worry too much about it. Your body first and foremost needs time to heal.
Having a healthy diet and an appropriate workout routine will go a long way in attaining your pre-pregnancy weight. However, there are many other variables too, such as your age and your genetics. So, there is no reason to stress too much about your body so soon after pregnancy. Instead, focus on healing and caring for yourself and your baby.