Binding of the abdomen after childbirth

I'd like to know if you know anything about "binding" after childbirth. I've looked on the internet and cannot find anything about it. I know that it used to be common practice (when my mother was having us, and even when my sister had her first) to "bind" or "wrap" a mother right after delivery to help "put things back into place" or "flatten the mother's stomach faster." I don't know if there is any truth to this theory, but I am interested in finding out more about it.

My mother insists that it be done, but doctors don't do this anymore, and quite frankly, I've been a little embarrassed to ask my practitioner. I believe I have seen in one of the many magazines or catalogs that I have, an elastic band for this purpose. Can you help advise?


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

The practice of binding the abdomen of the postpartum woman is a custom still practiced by some cultures but is not recommended in medical and midwifery practice today. Some practitioners recommend lying on your abdomen while going to sleep or resting postpartum but most women don't have to be encouraged to do this because it is such a novelty after 7 or 8 months.

The bottom line is that the muscles can be brought back together by following some simple exercises, mild head lifts and knee reaches upon exhalation as outlined in Elizabeth Noble's book, "Essential Exercises for the Childbearing Year".

"Binding" of the abdomen may lead to undue pressure upon the organs, urinary retention, or constipation and it will have no benefit to the uterus or vaginal tissues. Exercise is safer and more effective. Sometimes, especially after you've had a few babies, the feeling of support is welcome after childbirth, but this can be accomplished by control top panty hose or panties.

I hope this helps, but it will probably be difficult (and unwise) to try to convince your mother of this. Good luck, though.

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