The Best Postpartum Belly Bands and Shapewear, According to Moms Who’ve Tried Them

The Best Postpartum Belly Bands and Shapewear, According to Moms Who’ve Tried Them

Every new mom adapts to her post-pregnancy body differently. In the early days after birth, some women may feel their best in loose, lightweight clothing. Others may feel more comfortable and supported in postpartum shapewear such as postpartum belly bands or wraps.

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What are the benefits of wearing a postpartum belly band or wrap?

Postpartum belly bands, postpartum belly wraps and postpartum shapewear products are meant to be worn around the waist to help support your body after childbirth. They’re usually made of adjustable elastic materials that cover your torso from ribs to hips.

While now isn’t the time to worry about the shape of your body (you just made a baby, after all!), you might be feeling a little uncomfortable. That’s because pregnancy can strain your abdominal muscles and possibly contribute to postpartum back pain, a nagging stiffness that can flare up after giving birth.

You may also be dealing with lingering symptoms of symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) — also called pelvic girdle pain (PGP) — a condition that occurs when the ligaments that keep your bones aligned become too relaxed during pregnancy, destabilizing the pelvic joint and possibly triggering pain. 

This is where a postpartum belly band or wrap might be helpful, as these garments may provide extra support to reduce pain. While there’s not much research-based evidence that wearing a belly band offers significant medical benefits for women postpartum, “many women with back pain and pubic symphysis pain report that they find the bands comfortable after pregnancy,” says Susan Lareau, M.D., an OB-GYN at UPMC-Magee Women’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. “But,” she adds, “it’s very dependent on the woman and her body if she will find it comfortable.”

In addition to potentially helping reduce pain, some new moms also turn to postpartum belly bands and wraps to better support and align their abdomen, provide light compression or take the pressure off a healing cesarean incision. Indeed, a small 2019 study published in the The Eurasian Journal of Medicine found that women who wore wraps or binders after getting C-sections were able to walk longer distances and had less pain than those who did not wear those products in the first 48 hours post-operation. However, you should wait 2-4 weeks after a C-section (and get your doctor’s signoff) before wearing a postpartum belly band to avoid irritating your healing incision. Be careful when putting on and removing your belly band, too.

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Other moms also appreciate that postpartum shapewear products can have a smoothing effect that might make it a little easier to fit into non-maternity clothes.

Still, there is no clear evidence that postpartum belly bands or wraps can help you lose any weight you gained during pregnancy, or reshape your stomach or hips. So take many of these products’ claims with a healthy dose of skepticism. It’s also very important to avoid any postpartum shapewear product that constricts your movement or breathing.

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Types of postpartum belly bands

Postpartum belly bands (also called postpartum wraps or even postpartum shapewear) come in a few different varieties, so it may require some trial and error to find what feels most comfortable for you. Here are a few of the most popular styles:

  • Wraps: These belly bands can wrap around your entire midsection, from your hips to your lower rib cage.
  • Belts: These belly bands tend to be thinner than other types of wraps, and fit around your hips and belly.
  • Multi-part bands: Some belly bands feature two or more bands, which can be adjusted to provide that just-the-right-amount of compression.

Many of these postpartum bands are made of soft, stretchy materials such as spandex, viscose and nylon.

How to choose the best postpartum belly band 

  • Look for a product that’s adjustable and made of soft, comfortable materials.
  • Make sure that the postpartum belly band or wrap fits you properly and isn’t too restrictive. “Any band that is so constricting as to be uncomfortable should be avoided,” says Dr. Lareau.
  • Avoid waist trainers, cinchers or corsets, which are made of stiffer materials and are usually less about healing and more about appearance.

You should not wear a postpartum belly band or wrap all day, every day. Some experts say that relying on the support for too long will cause your core muscles to weaken even further, which could then worsen your back and hip pain.

How we made our picks for the best belly bands, wraps and shapewear products

We started by scouting out the most popular belly bands on the market, including What to Expect readers’ favorites, and narrowed down our picks to the best rated and reviewed products. Then we selected bands with unique features (machine-washable fabric, pockets for hot/cold packs, extra compression, etc) designed to help new moms.

Here, our top picks for the best postpartum belly bands, postpartum belly wraps and postpartum shapewear products to keep you more comfortable and supported after childbirth.

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