Is it bad to wear a support or binder after childbirth?
(huge blanket statement, no research to back it up)
"supports cause too much intra abdominal pressure and can cause prolapse"
(another blanket statement without research to back it up)
While rigid binders can cause intra-abdominal pressure, elastic binders do not. -Zhang et al. 2016
I get it, not everyone needs a support and not everyone likes wearing a support. But lets just clarify a few things. Many can benefit from a temporary support/splint. A support can:
- help protect from further stress and strain
- support muscles/tissue in proper positioning while the body is trying to heal
- provide gentle support and compression (increase blood flow)
- help speed recovery than with exercise alone (see FITsplint 101 & Research)
FIRST ... not all supports are created equal and don't all work the same. Some supports can be stiff, some flexible, Some tall, some shorter. Some fully adjustable, some only partially adjustable. The varying degrees of support can be different depending on how it is worn. Even with athletic tape or KTtape!
SECOND ... wearing a support doesn't always make you weak...its what You CAN/CAN'T do when wearing the support that makes the difference!
- If you are wearing a flexible support and doing reconditioning exercises..you are NOT going to get weaker.
-If you are wearing a flexible support and being more active because it helps reduce pain..you are not getting weaker
-If you are wearing a flexible support and not doing much exercise..there is no research to prove that is what is making you weaker (weakness happens from being inactive)
- If the support is so stiff and tight that you can't move in a full range of motion..yes, it will prevent you from improving strength (ex. cast or corset) and may over a long period of time, make you weaker
Postpartum women are not dealing with broken bones (extremely rare) They don't need a stiff support that prevents them from bending or moving in a full range of motion. A flexible support will support strained muscle/tissue without restricting movement.
THIRD ... Postpartum supports should be temporary. They serve as a short term aide to assist in support while tissue is healing, protection from further stress or strain and guided movements while the tissue heals (keep tissue close together while still able to move in a full range of motion)
FOURTH ... A support is only going to increase Intra Abdominal Pressure if worn too tightly (hard to do with a flexible support) My rule of thumb - if a person can take a full breathe, then they are breathing the same with a support on as they would before the belly stretched out.
Careful consideration went into the design and function of the FITsplint. It wasn't made to make women look skinny or give them an hourglass figure. It was made to do its job. Protect, support, stabilize without restricting breathing patterns and yet be able to adjust to get the right amount of support.
Lets not scare women into thinking a temporary support is harmful if it isn't increasing any symptoms and helping them stay active!
El-Mekawy H, Eldeeb A, El- Lythy M, and El-Begawy A. Effect of Abdominal Exercises versus Abdominal Supporting Belt on Post-Partum Abdominal Efficiency and Rectus Separation. Int J Med Health Sci. 2013;7(1):75–9.
Keswhani N, Mathur S, McLean L 2019 The impact of exercise therapy and abdominal binding in the management of diastasis recti abdominis in the early postpartum period: a pilot randomized controlled trial, Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, DOI: 10.1080/09593985.2019.1675207
Zhang H, Liu D, Tang H, Sun S, Ai S, Yang W, Jiang D, Zhang L 2016 The effect of different types of abdominal binders on intra-abdominal pressure. Saudi Medical Journal 37: 66-72
M .Pela.; W. Spoora; R. Goossensb, and A.Pool-Goudzwaardabg.: "Biomechanical model study of pelvic belt influence on muscle and ligament forces", J. Biomech.,41(9): 1878-1884, 2008.
A. Mokhtar,: "A Belly Good Wrap", Postpartum Wellness Assoc., 10(3):8-13, 2010.