Everything in its Place

Every new mother wants to get back in shape quickly after her child is born. While abdominal binding and hip compression are not a weight loss strategy, there does seem to be credibility in the claims that these practices speed the return of the body to pre-pregnancy shape by aiding the shrinking of the uterus, moving the separated abdominal muscles back together, and moving the hips back into place. This has been practiced in Central and South America, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, and sub Saharan Africa since ancient times. The people of so many different places wouldn’t have embraced a useless practice for so long!

I have decided to try this after my baby is born. There are several commercial brands of specifically post-natal abdominal binders, the most popular being Belly Bandit and Tauts. Some people use ace bandages, a long sash, post-surgical binders, or regular old girdles. I have decided to use a commercial post natal variety simply for ease of use. I chose Tauts because reviewers said there is a wider area of velcro, allowing for wear through a greater range of measurements.

A slightly more surprising practice, for me, is hip compression. The theory here is that the hormones that loosen joints remain in the body for some weeks after delivery, so there is a window of opportunity to actually move the hip bones back into place. Sounds painful!

While some moms experience the permanent widening of the hips after giving birth– even at pre-pregnancy weight or lower– the testimonials from people who have used hip compression say that their hips returned to pre-pregnancy size or even a little smaller. The device that supposedly produces these results looks like a corset for your hips. It has laces that are tightened to provide compression. The makers say to wear it for a few hours per day for eight weeks after delivery. At first I thought, “is it safe to deliberately move your bones?”. Then I thought that since they have already moved due to the presence of relaxin, which is still in the body, and since they will not move further by wearing the garment after relaxin is gone, it is probably not dangerous.

I am not expecting miracles, but I do think that these practices have merit. Does anyone have experience with either abdominal binding or hip compression? What were your results? I will document my experience once baby arrives.

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