The Difference Between Postpartum Girdles and Belly Wraps - Baby Chick
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The Difference Between Postpartum Girdles and Belly Wraps

Here's how postpartum belly wraps differ from postpartum girdles, waist trainers, and corsets and why postpartum girdles are bad for you.

Updated June 3, 2024

by Kate Horney

Certified Pre and Postnatal Fitness Specialist, Nutrition Coach
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These days, there is a lot of pressure on moms to get their pre-baby body back after having a baby. Postpartum girdles (or corsets) are one of the more controversial topics in the world of pregnancy and postpartum care. Celebrities like the Kardashians are promoting using corsets after giving birth and praising them as the reason they were able to get back into shape so quickly. But if something seems too good to be true, it often is. So, with the recent trend of postpartum girdles (or corset or waist trainers), lots of moms are wondering: are postpartum girdles bad for you? And what’s the difference between postpartum girdles vs. belly wraps?

The fact is: postpartum girdles are not just bad — they’re terrible.1 I am completely against using a girdle/corset/waist trainer postpartum, or any time, for that matter. But before we get into why you should avoid postpartum girdles, it’s important to clarify one thing . . .

Postpartum Belly Wrap vs. Postpartum Girdle, Corset, and Waist Trainer

It’s important that new moms do not confuse the two. Some doctors or midwives may encourage the use of belly wraps for extra support after a C-section. Belly wraps or incision care garments can help aid in recovery, compress the C-section incision, or reduce swelling and decrease pain during the postpartum period.1,2 In the days following delivery, many women may benefit from a slight compression garment designed to help the uterus shrink, speed recovery, and decrease swelling and fluid retention. You only wear these short-term, and they’re not meant to cause any changes to your body that wouldn’t have happened on their own.3

However, postpartum girdles, waist trainers, or corsets are entirely different from belly wraps. Instead of improving recovery, these products are designed for extreme binding that is meant to create an exaggerated hourglass figure.

Why Are Postpartum Girdles Bad for You?

All these products do is push your organs, muscles, and bones into a different placement so that you can — for the short amount of time that you’re wearing the girdle — appear to have an hourglass figure. The problem is that these girdles, corsets, and waist trainers do nothing to help retrain, rebuild, and restore your core. In fact, instead of strengthening your core (which is the true way to get a flat stomach), they actually make your core muscles WEAKER!

Tons of women are buying belly flatteners without knowing that these pieces leave you in worse shape than when you started. And many celebrities are paid thousands of dollars to wear and promote these girdles, corsets, and waist trainers to their followers on social media. But they fail to mention many of the risks associated with such products. These include:1

  • Compressing your organs
  • Compressing your bowels
  • Decreasing circulation
  • Increasing risks for blood clots
  • Weakening core muscles
  • Increasing indigestion
  • Increasing constipation
  • Increasing acid reflux
  • Pelvic organ prolapse

Avoiding Postpartum Girdles

Please save your money, and don’t buy into this gimmick! You may like feeling that things are being “held in” when you wear a girdle. But the problem is that you’re doing nothing to strengthen the muscles. You’re only putting increased pressure on your diaphragm and pelvic floor.

Imagine squeezing a balloon in the middle. What’s inside of the balloon has to go somewhere. In the case of your stomach, when a girdle, corset, or waist trainer is squeezing you, what’s inside (aka your organs, bowels, etc.) has to go somewhere. So, it either goes upward (placing pressure on your diaphragm) or downward (placing pressure on your pelvic floor). This creates even more intra-abdominal pressure, which is the NUMBER ONE THING you want to AVOID to heal your diastasis recti! It also weakens your core and does nothing to engage your abdominal muscles.

Want to know the real way to slim your waist? Proper nutrition and a strong core.4 That’s it! Your core muscles are your own natural corset. 😉

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Kate Horney Certified Pre and Postnatal Fitness Specialist, Nutrition Coach
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Kate is a certified physical trainer and nutrition coach with a C.P.T. & B.S. in Exercise Physiology. She is a health and fitness professional with over a decade of experience… Read more

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