But What About Mommy? The Truth About Post-Baby Waist Training
Previously, we discussed the dangers of waist training, particularly corseting, during pregnancy and advised our fellow training enthusiasts to take a break to give their baby time and space to grow. However, we failed to answer one equally important question related to this topic:
What about after the baby is born?
Corseting during pregnancy can cause extreme discomfort for expectant mothers, as it compresses the abdomen and waist without providing the necessary support to the baby bump. There are also concerns that waist training while pregnant could lead to a baby being born with organs or bones that have not been given the chance to develop into the right shape.
However, what about once your little bundle of joy enters the world? When is it time to jump back on the horse - or rather, slip back into the corset? After all, celebrities everywhere are pointing to waist training as the number one solution to dropping that pregnancy weight and getting your body back into pre-baby shape as fast as possible.
Jessica Alba gushed about her program and exercise routine in a number of interviews. Kim Kardashian Instagrammed hundreds of pictures of her working out in her favorite cincher. Brooke Burke, Ciara, JWoww and Snooki from the cast of Jersey Shore...the list literally goes on and on. Well, as always with anything relating to pregnancy, our number one suggestion is going to be talk to your doctor.
We here at Get Waisted are not doctors. None of our staff are licensed medical professionals. If you have medical questions, a general practitioner or women's health or pregnancy specialist should be able to provide the answers you need. But what your friendly neighborhood Get Waisted staffers can do is provide a list of tips and advice for taking your first confident steps into the world of post-baby waist training.
And don't worry, the news is pretty much entirely good - you don't have to wait long, you will drop that weight quickly, and your pre-baby body absolutely is still within your reach.
What Did They Get Out Of It?
If you weren't into waist training before your pregnancy - or maybe even if you were - you might have a hard time understanding exactly why so many celebrities so suddenly got into post-pregnancy waist training. You might even be asking yourself, is there really any benefit to me besides having something to post about on social media? Well, the answer to that is a big, definite, confident:
To really understand this, you should probably know that post-birth waist training did not get its start with Snooki or Kim Kardashian.
Waist trainers specifically designed for new mothers have been widely popular throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean for several decades. There, they are known as fajas and are recommended to almost all women who have just given birth, even being prescribed by doctors or being given as gifts to the new mother by close friends and families.
We're not exactly sure the path fajas followed from South American hospitals to Kim Kardashian's Instagram page, but one thing is sure - they're here now and here to stay. However, when listing the benefits of postpartum waist training, we're going to focus on those doctors' advice rather than Kim's or Jessica Alba's.
Provides Comfort and Support
Pregnancy changes your body. It makes sense - you've got another little human in there, after all! And after that little human is born, everything takes a little while to go back to exactly the way it was.
Because of this, you might experience postpartum pain or discomfort as your organs shift and your uterus shrinks. Your core muscles will be exhausted from pushing that baby out and even small actions like laughter, coughing or sneezing can cause unexpected bursts of pain. By supporting the stomach and lower back, a waist training can actually lessen these effects. (It is for this same reason that cinchers and corsets are often prescribed to those who suffer from spinal injuries or chronic lower back pain.)
It "holds everything together" as it were, meaning that your spine and lower abdomen don't have to put in all the effort of keeping things stable while your organs take their sweet time readjusting themselves.
New mothers who waist train have reported feeling less pain, less discomfort and less exhaustion overall than those who do not.
Limits Bloating and Fluid Retention
New mothers the world around have found that it takes their body a good several days to even several weeks to remember that there isn't a baby in there anymore.
One way this manifests itself is in bloating and fluid retention, especially during the first month following delivery. The body has to produce a lot of fluid to keep the baby safe, warm, and nourished while it grows inside the womb. Some of this fluid is released along with the baby before or during the delivery - some, but not all. (This fluid releasing just prior to the birth itself is the cause of the mother's "water breaking".) Over the next couple weeks, the rest of this fluid slowly works its way out of the body. The process is not helped by the fact that blood flow is often slower after birth and can take a while to get back to its normal pace. In addition, the body can retain more water throughout the day as it takes time to "learn" that there isn't a need to nourish a growing baby anymore.
So what's the result? The new mother feels bloated, slow and sluggish throughout the day. She might still be urinating more frequently than before. Swelling of the face, hands, ankles and feet - symptoms she thought she left behind once the delivery happened - will persist for up to several weeks.
How can a waist trainer help with this? Well, waist trainers, especially cinchers, are typically made from non-breathable materials such as latex, spandex, or neoprene. This induces extra sweating throughout the day, especially if paired with even a light workout, helping speed up that extra water as it leaves the body. This will help the new mother shed that "fluid weight" faster than would be otherwise possible.
In addition, waist trainers limit appetite, prevent overeating and encourage having several small meals throughout the day rather than one or two big ones in the morning or at night.
This will also help the body "remember" not to absorb or hold onto excess fluids, fats, or nutrients, as it will be processing smaller amounts of food over time rather than one huge amount at once.
Supports C-Section Incisions
If you gave birth via the process of c-section, you will likely have an incision somewhere on your stomach from where the baby entered the world. It is important to keep this incision clean and closed so it can heal as fast as possible.
Excess movement, especially anything that causes it to stretch or pull, can re-open the wound and cause bleeding, pain or infection. A waist trainer is actually a great way to help the incision stay closed and heal faster. In countries where fajas are widely used, they are prescribed by doctors to almost every mother who gives birth via C-section. It keeps the skin from stretching or separating using compression. The wound will "move around" less during the day if you wear a waist trainer than if you do not.
Just remember - it's also important to keep your incision clean and aired out! Remove your waist trainer for all showers or baths, and consider giving the spot a few hours to air out each day, especially early in the process.
Heals Diastasis Recti
Diastasis recti is a not uncommon condition experienced by new mothers in which the muscles of the abdomen (usually the rectus abdominus, or "six-pack muscles") separate vertically during pregnancy or birth. While some women who experience diastasis recti find their body returning to normal in just a few days, others notice effects continuing even up to six months later.
This condition occurs when the connective tissue between the two sets of rectus abdominus muscles on the left and right sides of your body gets too stretched out during pregnancy. This lets the stomach and uterus "poke out" and can also cause the uterus to shrink back to its normal size and shape more slowly. If you find that you still look like you are pregnant with a noticeable "bump" in your stomach a few months after giving birth, you might be experiencing diastasis recti. You can also test for the presence of a separation by lying on your back and gently pressing your fingers into the skin just above and just below your belly button. If you can fit two or three fingers into the "gap' between your muscles, that is most likely evidence of diastasis recti. Luckily, this condition is in most cases not permanent, and can be fixed by regularly performing certain exercises to strengthen your core muscles and return them to their original shape.
Contact your doctor or a physical therapist - especially one who specializes in postpartum physical therapy - to learn more, as some common ab exercises such as crunches are ineffective and specialized exercises may be required. Waist training can also help your diastasis recti heal faster as it "holds" the muscles of your core together and helps them "remember" their original shape more quickly. The development of muscle memory over time is an extremely powerful tool, and a properly fitted waist trainer will help it along.
Like we mentioned above, it also provides support to the lower back and spine, meaning that any discomfort or pain caused by your diastasis recti will be lessened during the healing process.
Lowers Risk of Stretch Marks
Nobody likes getting stretch marks, but most of us have accepted them as an inevitable part of getting pregnant and giving birth. We call them our stripes, our battle scars - but in the back of our minds, don't we every so often wish that there was an easy way to get rid of them? What seems like a million different "miracle treatments" for stretch marks have been produced and advertised over the years, from creams to pills to specialized exercise regimes.
While we're pretty sure there's no one thing that can totally eliminate any risk of stretch marks, did you know that help can come from an unexpected source - none other than your handy dandy waist trainer, of course!
We talked earlier about how wearing a waist trainer after having given birth can hold your organs in place and support them while they shift back into their usual positions. However, did you know that it also holds your skin in place? Yup, that's right! A snug waist trainer will keep even the loosest of skin held in its proper place and stop it from moving around, shifting or rubbing against itself during the day. As this friction between skin and skin (or skin and clothing, or skin and furniture...you get where this is going) can be one of the major causes of stretch marks, keeping your loose skin stable and still is actually a great way to lessen your chances of getting any.
Again, we can't promise that this will work perfectly and prevent all stretch marks with one hundred percent accuracy. But it's definitely more effective than anything you've seen advertised as a so called "miracle cure"!
Helps YOU Feel Better About YOU!
Last but not list, we definitely can't ignore the mental effects! As joyful an experience as having a tiny new baby in your life can be, postpartum depression is unfortunately a very real condition which affects thousands of women every year and does not get nearly enough attention or understanding as it should.
One of the major causes of postpartum depression is frustration with your body. You might not like how you look after having gained pregnancy weight. You might be upset that the weight isn't going as way as quickly as you had hoped it would.
Everything from the oiliness of your skin to the dryness of your hair could make you feel low about your body - and, of course, those pesky hormones constantly acting up doesn't help either! We find that there's nothing more powerful and affirming for a new mother than being able to look into the mirror and like what you see.
There's something really confidence-boosting about getting to look and feel like yourself - the you you remember, the you you want to be. And what better way to get that boost of confidence than using a waist trainer to help you both look great and feel great about yourself? If you were a waist training fan before pregnancy, be aware that your favorite cincher might not have as much of a slimming effect as you remember.
However, it will still help narrow your waist, emphasize your chest and hips, and give you even just a little bit more of an hourglass silhouette than you've had in nine months. And we think that's pretty dang cool! You can get this confidence boost even if you just put your trainer on for a short time each day.
Lace or fasten it up, look in the mirror, and remind yourself - I am a strong, amazing, beautiful, powerful, valid mother, and this is what I look like. This is ME! We guarantee that you'll be feeling at least a tiny bit better in no time!
When to Start Again
Okay, so we've sold you on why you should waist train after giving birth. Which brings us, of course, to the question of when.
Post-birth, you're going to be sore. You're going to be tired. Your body is not going to feel anything at all like the body you once knew, at least for a little while. Things will be shifting around as your uterus shrinks and your insides accustom themselves to no longer having to share space with another human being.
For all of those reasons, we cannot recommend immediately slipping back into your favorite corset the day after you leave the hospital. Your body still needs some time to move things back into their original places, and keeping everything compressed with a corset can slow down this process by several days. We recommend waiting at least two weeks after giving birth before wearing any waist training containing any sort of steel or even plastic boning. This will ensure that your uterus has had time to shrink mostly to its normal size even after a difficult birth - or, heck, even if you had twins or triplets!
However, this does not mean that you have to wait that long to get fully back into waist training. After all, there are all those benefits we just described above, and we totally get not wanting to wait two weeks to start experiencing that extra comfort and support!
Try a latex cincher, possibly in a slightly larger size than you usually wear, or a supportive trimming belt which can be easily tightened or loosened as you need throughout the day. You can also check out a specially made maternity girdle - see our article here for more information! Most mothers will be approved to wear a non-boned cincher, trimmer or girdle the day after their return from the hospital. (We don't recommend wearing one at all during your time in the hospital, as doctors and nurses will need eays access to your stomach and back areas to properly treat and take care of you.)
However, if you've got any questions or concerns, don't be afraid to ask your doctor for their advice.
It's OK to Hit the Brakes
Even if you regularly waist trained before, you might find yourself needing another break-in period to get back into the swing of things after having a baby. That's totally okay!
The post-birth period is all about getting to know your body again, and if that means moving slow, then that just means that's what works best for you! As with any time you are starting a waist training program, we recommend you begin with spending 1-2 hours in your cincher or corset each day. Once it feels comfortable and you have made sure it is not too tight or causing you any pain, you can gradually increase your time in no more than 2 hour increments. (So, for example, you might go from spending 2 hours cinched, to 4, then to 6, 8, and finally 10.)
If you find that you don't enjoy waist training during the day, sleeping in your trainer is totally okay - go here to learn more about how to do this. Usually, we recommend spending between 8-10 hours per day in your cincher, maybe less if you are working out while wearing it.
However, some new mothers who are using non-boned waist trainers to provide support and pain relief have reported feeling better when they stay in the garment for long periods of time. Again, talk to your doctor if you think this might be right for you. If you are intending to wear a waist trainer for more than 10 hours per day to help with postpartum pain or injury, we cannot recommend enough that you choose something slightly looser than you are accustomed to.
Adjustable cinchers or trimming belts would be a good idea; however, you can also purchase something in a larger size than you usually wear from our catalog here.
Do not pick or wear anything with steel or plastic bones for more than 10 hours per day, as this can cause discomfort and will also cause the garment to wear down extremely quickly due to potential warping of the bones.
If you are going to engage in an extended waist training program (more than eight hours per day), it is important that you remove it at least during showers or baths, so that the covered skin can get clean and have some time to air out. You should also regularly clean the waist trainer itself so it does not begin to stink or grow mold or fungus - you will be sweating a lot each time you wear it!
See here for more information on how to properly clean a waist trainer.
What About Exercise?
Most doctors will recommend that women start exercising in the weeks nad months following giving birth. The primary purpose is to help re-strengthen their core muscles, which can get worn out, exhausted and over-strained due to the pressure of supporting a growing baby for nine months. But can you exercise in your waist trainer after pregnancy? And if you can, when can you start doing so? Unfortunately, there is no one "right answer" to either of these questions. Our best advice is to start slow and see what feels comfortable for you.
So the first time you get back into exercising after giving birth, you might want to leave your waist trainer at home and take some time to get re-acquainted with your body. What feels good? What hurts? What is comfortable or uncomfortable? Is your range of motion the same as it was before? Can you stretch your body more, less, or the same when you perform typical stretches? Are there any parts of your body that particularly feel like they might need work? Once you've answered these questions for yourself, you can try bringing your waist trainer back into your workout routine.
Stick with a latex cincher or trimming belt, and avoid a corset or anything boned - the bones will warp and break during the course of even a single workout. Start out by wearing it on one of your lighter workout days - maybe during some easy cardio, such as a walk or a jog - and then gradually re-introduce it to your strength training days. Waist trainers are at their most effective when paired with either cardio such as running, hip hop dance, team sports or Zumba, or strength training exercises focused specifically on the core and abdominal muscles such as planks, leg lifts or dumbbell curls.
Go here if you find yourself needing example exercises or schedules to enhance or inspire your own workout. You'll be feeling strong and looking slim before you know it! (And, yes, you'll look great if you decide to pose with baby for some Instagram shots like Kim or Snooki did.) So, while waist training during pregnancy is DEFINITELY not recommended due to health risks, doing so after giving birth can be a helpful process.
It can do everything from helping with pain or birth-related medical conditions to just straight up making you feel better about yourself! To choose the perfect cincher, trimmer or girdle for your personal postpartum waist training, give our catalog found here a try. We've got a huge range of products in a ton of different styles, colors and materials - there's definitely something for everyone! And as always, feel free to contact us if you'd like to share your personal favorite waist training tips with other new mothers around the world!