Like the notorious pre-delivery pubic shave of your mother's or grandmother's day, many of us assume that post-partum support belts and girdles are a relic from the past... but are they really?
Well, don't count them out just yet! You may be surprised to learn how many perfectly modern 21st- century mothers love a good girdle, especially in the first weeks and months after childbirth. Indeed, the moment Oprah endorsed one national brand of these now more euphemistically termed "shapers" a few years back, women everywhere went ga-ga for girdles once again, and no one more so than those of us who'd just given birth.
While the concept of girdles may seem taboo to some because of the negative connotations they carry about the physical and psychological constraints of female domesticity - remember the bra protests sparked by the burgeoning feminist movement of the 1960s? - others are relieved to hear that wearing support garments is becoming mainstream once again.
The short answer is, because they work.
The benefits of post-partum support belts can be a blessing, and these items aren't necessarily as constricting as they might first appear. Remember, these belts are designed to make you feel - and look - better while you're wearing them. They will improve your posture, and make your clothes fit better. After a c-section, they can actually aid in your recovery by protecting your incision and increasing your mobility. They may even help reduce back pain.
Provided you find one that's comfortable and affordable, the only real downside to wearing a post-partum support garment is that you may be tempted to forget that the only real and permanent cure to what ails your post-baby belly is the good old-fashioned trio of diet, exercise and time.
For the post-partum set, these specialty products are available with varying degrees of support and in countless styles. In general, post-partum support garments can be divided into two categories:
* real girdles, often of the medical-grade variety, which are similar in shape and style to the ones your grandmother may have worn.
Check out two of my favorite post-partum girdles available on Amazon.com:
- Ninth-City Good Elastic Highly Breathable Pregnancy Postpartum Girdle
- Outop 3 in 1 Breathable Elastic Postpartum Postnatal Recoery Support Girdle Belt
You can see my full list of post-partum girldes in 5 Great Post-Partum Girdles.
* band-style support belts, which are simple but strong, usually elasticized panels worn around the mid-section.
Check out two of my favorite post-partum support belts available on Amazon.com:
Belly Bandit Women's Bamboo Post-pregnancy Tummy Wrap
Medela Postpartum Support Belt
You can see my full list of post-partum support belts in 4 Post-Partum Support Belts to Try.
After a c-section, you might want to go with a belt or girdle that offers a lot of compression and very firm binding, perhaps even in an underwear style or full corset style. For those women simply looking to improve their silhouette under clothing, or for those who've had c-sections at least two or three weeks prior and prefer something a bit easier to wear with slightly less constriction, a band-style belt will do the trick nicely.
Whatever you decide in the end, wear your garment discreetly but without shame! Your body has been through the ringer these last nine months, and there are no hard and fast rules about what is or is not acceptable when it comes to getting back into shape, provided you do it in a smart and healthy way.
Bringing a baby into the world isn't easy, so you deserve to take advantage of every little bit of help out there. After all, support comes in many shapes and sizes.