Belly wraps have been around for a long time, but these girdle-like, postpartum garments are most recently marketed under names like the Belly Bandit and the Taut. Many moms, doctors, trainers, and celebrities have said that these abdominal compression wraps helped them get their pre-pregnancy shape back ASAP, according to WebMD. But “are these belly wraps really a magic bullet for getting your body back after pregnancy or just another get-skinny-quick gimmick?”
Instructions for Use
Some doctors recommend a belly wraps as part of a postpartum plan. Women can put it on after delivery and should wear it for four to six weeks after delivery to reap the maximum benefits. According to the Belly Bandit website, “wearing an abdominal compression wrap after a c section may actually decrease the post op recovery time by minimizing associated incision pain, which allows greater mobility post surgery.”
The belly bandit does not take the place of a healthy diet and regular exercise. Instead, it should help make new mothers more aware of their bodies and encourage them to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet, and exercise on a regular basis.
How the Belly Wrap Works
Even the skeptics can’t argue that these belly wraps make you appear slimmer by holding the flab in. But proponents claim that these wraps also exert a gentle pressure that helps reduce the swelling of the uterus, while supporting the legs and back. They help women recovering from birth with their posture, abdominal support, and self-confidence. Because the new mom feels more comfortable and supported, she is more likely to get out and exercise, speeding up the weight-loss process.
But the benefits of a belly wrap may go even further. Belly binding has been around for centuries, according to Target Women, and is common in countries such as Japan (where it’s termed Haramaki), Latin America (they call it Faja), India, and other European countries. They claim that a flabby tummy can be reversed through proper posture, support and warmth on the abdominal. It is believed that puffy skin needs certain amount of heat and pressure to reattach to the muscle. A belly wrap provides this gentle compression and also helps the uterus return to its normal size quicker.
Fans of the belly wrap say that it even decreases the appearance of stretch marks, cause by skin that is pulled and stretched during pregnancy. The theory is that even after birth, saggy skin may continue to cause stretch marks. Greater support of this loose skin may decrease tension which in turn may decrease stretch marks in the postpartum period.
A belly wrap costs anywhere from $20 for something simple, to $65 for the deluxe, eco-friendly models.
Other doctors and fitness experts warn buyers not to be fooled by the belly wrap claims. As tempting as it sounds, there is no evidence that your body shape can truly improve because of a belly band. The only proven way to lose your baby weight and keep it off, they say, is to eat a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and high in fiber, and engage in regular exercise. The wrap will help you suck in that gut, but anything else is just wishful thinking.
They may actually do new moms a disservice, WebMD quotes one doctor as saying. “We have to consciously work to strengthen and engage our core muscles, and we use less of our abdominal muscles when wearing wraps.”
Bottom Line: I have never tried a belly wrap, and am not sure I believe it would work… but it sure is a tempting thought! At worst, you spent $50 on a fancy girdle that at least makes you look thinner. At best, you’ve got better posture and a tighter, slimmer, less flabby belly!
And the fact still remains that there is no easy and quick miracle cure for losing weight. Gradual weight loss, attained through the right balance of a healthy diet and proper exercise, is still the healthiest way.