Nashville Doula Services now offers belly binding services!
What is Postpartum Belly Binding?
Belly binding is a tradition in many eastern cultures. The practice involves using special knots to tie a long strip of cloth around the abdomen – sometimes after applying an herbal paste or essential oils to the abdomen – during the postpartum recovery period to support a woman’s uterus and other organs after childbirth. The Bengkung style of belly binding seen here is specific to the Malaysian culture.
Benefits of Postpartum Belly Binding:
- It helps to slim the ribcage, abdomen and hips.
- Pulls in the separated abdominal muscles (diastasis recti) back together.
- Encourages healing from pelvic/pubic separation (a partial bind during pregnancy can be especially beneficial for pelvic support).
- Supports relaxed and stretched out muscles.
- Reduce fluid and air retention in bowels/abdomen.
- Gets rid of the “empty” feeling after childbirth.
- Nurtures the mother in a time of vulnerability and healing.
- Prevents back pain. While wearing it, you are reminded to sit and walk straight, a good antidote to the “nursing-slouch”.
- Decreases postpartum bleeding time by speeding up the process of getting rid of waste blood in a natural way.
- It’s an ancient traditional natural way of healing after birth.
- In the case of a miscarriage or still-birth, belly binding can improve emotional healing as it speeds physical healing.
- It feels good!
Belly Binding FAQ
Q: How long should I wear the binding?
A: Traditionally, the Malaysian belly bind is done for the entire postpartum “confinement” period, which is 30-40 days in the cultures that observe this practice. This is unpractical for modern day living, and the results diminish after a week or two. We’ve found the best belly binding length to be 12-24 hours for 5 – 10 days.
Q: When do I start belly binding?
A: 2-5 days postpartum after a vaginal birth and 4-6 weeks postpartum after a c-section.
Q: What makes belly binding different from western postpartum girdles like Belly Bandit?
A: Its length and the custom fit. A Malaysian Belly Bind is a long wrap that covers from under the chest all the way down to below the hips. This way, it doesn’t just work on the waist, but also helps the ribcage and the hips go back to their former dimensions. It also stays put when you move, and so it doesn’t press on the abdomen. Girdles that only bind the abdomen also push down on the pelvic floor muscles and organs, potentially causing or worsening pelvic, uterine, or bladder prolapse. The custom fit cannot be found anywhere else, and this improves the results you will see.
Q: How effective is belly binding compared to a postpartum girdle, like the ones you can buy at Wal-mart?
A: Imagine the difference between buying pants that claim to fit everyone, regardless of size or shape and getting custom-fitted by a professional. What would be more comfortable? The custom fit is, of course, going to give you the best results. Likewise the traditional belly bind is a custom fit every time. It’s made of soft materials instead of having boning or Velcro like most girdles, which can dig into your skin and be painful when you sit or lay down, especially if you’ve had a cesarean. The Malaysian belly bind is the best option for your time and money if you want the results mentioned above.
Q: How do I go to the bathroom while wearing the belly bind?
A: I recommend having the belly bind wrapped beneath all of your clothes for the best fit and most comfort and convenience. The most effective belly bind stretches from just below your bust to about mid-hip, near your pelvic bone. For modesty’s sake (and because of heavy postpartum flow) you’ll want to wear whatever underwear (mesh, etc.) while binding. It is still easy enough to pull your underwear out from under the bind the first time you use the bathroom and when you’re finished, simply pull them up over the bind or tuck them back underneath.
Q: My belly bind bunches, rolls, or moves during the day. How can I keep it from doing that?
The belly bind moves because you move! Realize, the cultures that do this also practice confinement, which is a period after birth where the woman remains in bed the majority of the time. If you are up and moving postpartum, the belly bind is going to shift, bunch, and roll. The only way to prevent this is to move less. Part of what belly binding does is encourage you to be down and resting.
Q: Am I too late to belly bind if I’m x-number of months/years postpartum?
The short answer is no. You can still receive benefits belly binding after 8 weeks postpartum.
Q: You mentioned the belly bind can be useful during pregnancy. Can you tell me more about that?
A: During pregnancy the hormone Relaxin works to loosen up all our joints in preparation for birth. This enables the baby to move more easily through the normally rigid pelvic area, as it allows bones and joints a greater range of movement. Unfortunately this can also result in greater discomfort during pregnancy when the pubic bone begins to separate. Sitting, laying down, and normal day-to-day movements sometimes become painful or even impossible. The bind can be tied short, giving support to your growing belly as well as your hips and pelvic/pubic bones. It is easier, however, to simply use a scarf, short baby wrap, or rebozo to wrap the hips, rather than have someone come bind you every day. (Please note: misuse of the belly bind during pregnancy without support from a professional can lead to restricted fetal growth and worsened pain, and is not advised).
Q: Can I still belly bind if I have a c-section?
A: You can still receive belly binding if you have a c-section. We will wait until 4 – 6 weeks postpartum, based on your healing and recovery. The belly bind still has many benefits within the first two months. Depending on your comfort level, I may utilize a Taiwanese form of belly binding that is gentler on the incision site.
Q: Can I still belly bind if I have a miscarriage or still-birth?
A: You can still receive belly binding if either of these situations occurs, and in fact, the belly bind will speed your emotional as well as physical healing. Contact me for special bereavement pricing.
Q: How much does belly binding cost?
A. It is $150 a session.
Q: How do I sign up for belly binding?
Follow this link!