Are you interested in waist training after pregnancy?
Well, if you are looking for a fast and efficient way to flatten your stomach post baby, waist training may not actually be ideal for you.
After reading this post, you will learn:
- How soon you can wear a waist trainer after pregnancy,
- The number of hours you should wear a waist trainer, and
- The best way to train your waist postpartum.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Disclaimer: Although I am a doctor, I am not your doctor. This information is for informational purposes only and should not substitute the advice from your healthcare professional. Please read my full Disclaimer for more information. Also, this post may contain affiliate links: meaning I may receive a commission if you use them.
Do waist trainers help after pregnancy?
Waist trainers are compression bands that you wear around your midsection to cinch your abdomen and create an “hourglass figure.”
Many women wear it in the hopes of getting a smaller waist.
But do they actually help?
Wearing a waist trainer after pregnancy won’t help you lose weight nor regain your body shape.
However, that’s not to say that you can’t use them.
If you decide to use one, it is important that you do not use really tight waist trainers as these can cause more harm than good.
Instead, I recommend you use an abdominal binder in the immediate postpartum period.
An abdominal binder is made of material that stretches and could conform to your body type.
This type of binder helps provide core support and can help make walking more comfortable in the first few days after delivery.
Does waist training flatten your stomach?
Waist training can give the temporary appearance of a flat stomach, but it does not actually help you lose belly fat.
When wearing one, you will notice increased sweating in your abdomen, but this does not contribute to fat loss.
In fact, waist training can be dangerous if you are not careful.
The Negative Effects of Waist Training
While waist trainers may seem harmless, there are a few things you must consider when using them.
In particular, really tight trainers can cause:
- Improper breathing mechanics,
- A weakened core,
- Poor digestion, and
- Musculoskeletal injuries
Let’s discuss each one of these points a bit more.
1. Impaired Diaphragmatic Breathing
Proper breathing mechanics require you to be able to fully expand your belly.
This is known as diaphragmatic breathing,
In fact, diaphragmatic breathing is one of the best exercises you can do immediately after giving birth to help restore your core and pelvic floor muscles.
However, if you are wearing a very tight waist trainer it can
- impair your ability to expand your abdomen,
- compress your rib cage,
- and not allow full expansion of your lungs
In doing so, you will be restricting the flow of air into and out of your body. This can lead to weakness, fatigue, and possibly fainting.
2. Core Weakness
One of the functions of your abdominal muscles is to support your spine and keep your body upright.
Your abdominal muscles also allow you to bend, twist, and flex your spine in different ways.
By keeping your core muscles compressed, they never get a chance to do their part and become engaged in spinal movements.
Your core is already weakened throughout pregnancy. Therefore, the postpartum period is a critical time to strengthen them.
3. Poor Digestion
In addition to compressing your core muscles and your rib cage, your internal abdominal organs will also get compressed.
Believe it or not, your small bowel needs space to move around as it squeezes food particles down your digestive tract.
This is a process known as peristalsis.
By compressing your abdomen and possibly your intestines, you can theoretically disrupt your digestion.
4. Musculoskeletal Injury
Lastly, a tight corset can significantly limit the range of motion of the muscles in your torso.
As a result, you might find yourself in awkward positions due to limited mobility which can cause other, secondary muscles to compensate.
Over time, improper movement patterns can lead to muscle overuse, pain, and injury.
After reading all of that, you might decide that you still want to give it a try.
If you decide to use one, it is important that you do not tighten it so much that it cinches your abdomen.
Also, I recommend that you not use one immediately postpartum.
How soon can you waist train after pregnancy?
So can you waist train right after giving birth?
You should not waist train immediately postpartum because you need to allow your body time to heal.
It is important that you wait at least 4-6 weeks before using a waist trainer or engaging in any vigorous exercise activity.
Your body went through some amazing changes these past nine months.
Postpartum recovery time is highly individualized, so it is best to listen to your body to determine when you are ready.
Another reason why I don’t recommend waist training right after giving birth is that your uterus is still quite large.
Putting a waist trainer on during this time can impair the uterine contractions that need to occur for your uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy size.
What about after a c section?
You should definitely not put a waist trainer on immediately after having a c section.
Multiple layers of tissue were cut during a c section and they need time to heal.
After a C-section, you should use an abdominal binder that has velcro and allows you to adjust how tight you want it.
The abdominal binder will provide support to your core muscles and help you to get out of bed (which actually requires a great deal of core strength) and walk around the postpartum unit to decrease your risk of any postoperative complications.
For more information check out, abdominal binding after c-section, how long should you do it for?
What is the best waist trainer for after pregnancy?
The best waist trainer for after pregnancy is one that is most comfortable for you!
There are so many different types of waist trainers all with varying levels of support and so it is best for you to find one that works for you and your body.
I typically recommend the waist trainers with velcro so that you can adjust them in a way to provide gentle compression.
The most important thing is that your waist trainer is not restrictive / too tight.
Is it OK to sleep with a waist trainer on?
You should not sleep with a waist trainer as 6-8 hours of abdominal compression can have many negative effects on your breathing.
You should only wear one for a couple of hours a day max, as needed.
Other related questions
Do waist trainers mess up your insides?
If the waist trainer is too tight it can compress your internal organs impairing digestion, restricting airflow, and weakening your core muscles.
Can waist training affect future pregnancy?
As far as we know, waist training does not affect your fertility potential or future pregnancies.
Is it too late to wear a postpartum wrap?
You must ask yourself why you want to wear a postpartum wrap to know if you need one or not.
A belly wrap is beneficial immediately after birth as it can provide support to your core and make walking easier.
With that said, if you suffer from diastasis recti, a postpartum belly wrap can be beneficial even if not used immediately after birth.
How many hours should I wear a postpartum belt? (abdominal binder)
So how long should you bind your belly after birth?
Immediately after birth, you can use an abdominal binder throughout the day (~8 hours) but it should not be super tight.
If the binder feels comfortable and you are able to perform your activities of daily living without a problem, you could wear the binder from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep.
I do not recommend that you sleep with it.
So how do I lose my post-pregnancy belly?
The only way to lose your post-pregnancy belly is through healthy weight loss.
If you are interested in tried and true methods of losing your baby weight – check out my post on How To Get Rid Of Your Mommy Tummy.
Final Words The Postpartum Waist Trainer
You must be careful when using a waist trainer in the postpartum period as some could do more harm than good.
As with all things, if anything causes pain or discomfort, you should remove it, as this is your body’s way of communicating to you.
Now I want to hear from you.
Have you used or do you want to use a postpartum corset or an abdominal binder after childbirth?
Why or why not?
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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- Negishi H, Kishida T, Yamada H, Hirayama E, Mikuni M, Fujimoto S. Changes in uterine size after vaginal delivery and cesarean section determined by vaginal sonography in the puerperium. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 1999 Nov;263(1-2):13-6. doi: 10.1007/s004040050253. PMID: 10728621.
- Ramcharan MM, Hanandeh A, Donaldson B, Safavi A. Waist Training Corset: An Unusual Cause of Acute Lower Limb Ischemia. Cureus. 2020 Sep 15;12(9):e10465. doi: 10.7759/cureus.10465. PMID: 33083168; PMCID: PMC7566978.