Did you just have a c-section and want to know how long you should wear your belly binder?
You are in the right place!
Today I am going to explain:
- how long you should wear a binder after a c section,
- how to use it successfully, and
- which postpartum wrap is best for you.
Let’s get started.
How long should I wear a binder after c-section?
In the early postpartum, you should wear an abdominal binder for approximately 4-6 hours per day at first.
This is to get a feel for it and help you move around comfortably.
As the days go by, you can slowly increase the number of hours you wear the binder each day to 8-12 hours per day.
The important thing is that the binder is comfortable and does not cause you any discomfort in your abdominal area.
I would avoid wearing the binder for more than 12 hours per day as you don’t want to become overly reliant on it, at all times.
When can I Start One?
You could start using a postpartum belly wrap on postoperative day 1, or whenever your pressure dressing gets removed by your OBGYN.
Just make sure that your healthcare provider examines your c-section incision before putting on a belly wrap.
If you notice the area around your incision looks red, warm, or has drainage, you might be developing an infection. Avoid using a postpartum belly wrap as this can introduce more bacteria to that area, as it makes contact with the incision.
How do I bind my stomach after a c-section?
Most abdominal binders are very straightforward to use. Simply wrap the belly band around your abdomen with the velcro in the front.
When tightening the velcro, make sure that:
- the binder is not too tight,
- you can still take full deep breaths, and
- you feel supported
If you cannot put at least 1 finger inside the binder, it might be too tight.
Secondly, deep diaphragmatic breaths help to activate your core and pelvic floor in the postpartum period. If you are unable to perform this breathing technique you should loosen the binder.
Lastly, the goal of the binder is to provide abdominal support through gentle compression.
If you do not feel supported you should look for another binder.
When Is The Best Time To Wear One?
You should wear your abdominal belt after a c-section during the day when you are most active.
The belt/binder/wrap is most useful when you are up and walking around and less useful when you are sitting in bed.
Can you sleep in an abdominal binder after c-section?
You can technically wear your abdominal binder 24/7 – but I don’t recommend sleeping with it after a c-section. Especially if you are already wearing it for 8+ hours throughout the day.
Don’t forget, a binder is mainly for comfort, and it is not a necessity for postpartum recovery.
Wearing a binder while sleeping can:
- be uncomfortable,
- impair your breathing,
- and interfere with blood flow if it’s too tight
The best time to use one is during the day to help you move around (which is super important for the recovery process).
Is it necessary to use A binder after A c-section?
It is not 100% necessary to use a binder after a c-section, but there are no downsides to using one properly.
A binder will provide light compression, comfort, and possibly mild pain relief after your surgery, which could potentially help with the healing process.
is it too late to wear a postpartum wrap?
You can wear a postpartum wrap for at least 6-12 weeks postpartum after a c-section.
After that, you should be mostly recovered from surgery and a wrap won’t be as beneficial.
During this time, it is important to begin rebuilding and strengthening your abdominal muscles. This is especially true if you have diastasis recti which is a separation of your ab muscles.
What Is The Best postpartum wrap / Belly Band?
When purchasing a postpartum wrap there are two important things you should think about:
- Is this wrap comfortable? and
- Is this wrap easy to put on and take off?
Because let’s face it.
If your wrap is uncomfortable and/or too difficult to put on or take off, you are never going to use it.
With that said, here are the 3 best postpartum belly wraps.
*These are sometimes referred to as a postpartum girdle as well.*
It helps to support your abdomen and hips, strengthen your core muscles, promote mobility, ease your back pain, and encourage good posture in the postpartum period.
Additionally, it is an FDA registered medical device in maternity support products and postpartum belly wraps and corsets.
Aside from the Belly Bandit, here are two other brands that postpartum women love.
The Bellefit postpartum girdle is another popular brand liked by many moms who’ve had a c-section as it has full booty coverage and medical-grade protection for your c-section incision.
Additionally, this binder has three rows of front closure that can be adjusted for tightness, back support panels to ease your back pain, and full coverage to minimize panty liners
Lastly, it is an FDA registered medical device.
Mama Strut Postpartum Support Brace
This binder is liked by so many women as it comes with compression, as well as heat and ice therapy.
Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
It also comes with built-in shorts that can fit easily under your clothing!
Other Related Questions
Do postpartum belly wraps really work?
The purpose of a postpartum belly wrap is to provide support to your abdominal region post-operatively.
As a result, you may feel less pain and discomfort as you move around. It will not help you tone up or lose fat.
A c-section is major abdominal surgery!
It is common to feel that your core is weak post-op. That’s because your abdominal muscles are stretched throughout your pregnancy to accommodate your growing baby.
Unfortunately, having a c section stretches these muscles even more.
That’s why a lot of movements can be quite painful the first few days after surgery.
That is where the postpartum wrap can be helpful.
The hope is that it provides you with enough support so that you can experience less pain as you move around.
Do postpartum belly wraps help with weight loss or body shaping?
Postpartum belly wraps will not help with weight loss or body shaping.
With that said, when you wear a wrap, you may notice increased sweating in your abdomen. This, however, does not contribute to fat loss.
The best way to lose fat is by following a healthy diet.
Check out my post on the best ways to get rid of belly fat after a c-section to learn more.
What About Waist Trainers?
A waist trainer is a compression garment that you wear around your abdomen to cinch your belly and create an “hourglass” appearance.
It’s kind of like a postpartum corset.
You must be very careful when wearing a waist trainer, especially after a c-section as some can potentially interfere with your healing process.
For more information, check out my post on waist training after pregnancy- [do you need to do it?].
When Is It Too Late To Wear A Postpartum Belly Wrap?
For most women, wearing a postpartum belly wrap or binder after 3-6 months is unlikely to yield any benefits.
The wrap provides the most benefit in the first 6-12 weeks after your delivery.
Final Words On The Benefits of Binding After a C-Section
Wearing a postpartum binder immediately after cesarean section can:
- provide extra support for your daily activities, and
- help decrease postoperative pain from:
- getting out of bed
- walking for the first time, and
- attempting to lift your new baby
I recommend wearing it for 8-12 hours a day with light compression for best results.
Now I want to hear from you.
Have you used an abdominal binder after a cesarean delivery?
Did you like it?
Do you have any belly binding tips for other postpartum moms?
Comment below and let me know!
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Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT
Brittany Robles is a full-time OBGYN physician, a NASM certified trainer, and a prenatal and postnatal fitness specialist. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in maternal health with a special interest in exercise and nutrition. She is also the co-author of The White Coat Trainer. Learn more about her here.
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- Myers, Jennifer R. DO; Gillier, Christin M. MD; Kriner, Ronald M. DO; Constant, Ann D.; Wetzel, Laura A.; Anasti, James N. MD The Use of Abdominal Binders in Patients Undergoing Cesarean Delivery, Obstetrics & Gynecology: May 2014 – Volume 123 – Issue – p 160S
- Gustafson JL, Dong F, Duong J, Kuhlmann ZC. Elastic Abdominal Binders Reduce Cesarean Pain Postoperatively: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial. Kans J Med. 2018;11(2):1-19. Published 2018 May 18.