You already had your baby; now do not abuse the girdle!

The body of a pregnant woman undergoes many changes. One of them has to do with the growth of the abdomen. Before pregnancy, the uterus is the size of an orange and is located inside the pelvis, but at the end of pregnancy, it will be the size of a watermelon. Incredible, isn’t it?

For Daniela Carrasco, team member of Luna Maya, professional midwives, wearing a girdle is not necessary after giving birth “because the body is wise and the muscles begin to work so the uterus returns to the size it had before pregnancy”.

Wearing a girdle does not speed up the reduction of the uterus, but “it makes a woman feel more secure by having greater support during the time in which this organ becomes small again and returns to its normal size”, says Carrasco.

Be patient!

According to the American Pregnancy Association, as the uterus grows, it pushes the organs out of place and stresses the surrounding muscles and ligaments. The pressure of the uterus can even cause the navel to protrude.

Upon reaching the term of pregnancy, the uterus extends from the pubic area to the lower part of the ribs. The good news is that after the baby is born, the uterus gradually returns to its pre-pregnancy size and position. Do not despair, all in good time. You have to be patient.

It takes about six weeks for the uterus to fully return to the size it was before pregnancy. This process is called uterine involution.

American Pregnancy Association

Postpartum girdle: Wearing time

“When a baby is born, by vaginal delivery, and the mother decides to wear a girdle because it makes her feel safer, she should do it only for the first two weeks and not wear it all day”, recommends Daniela Carrasco, an obstetrician nurse from the National School of Nursing and Obstetrics of the UNAM. She advises that wearing a girdle only prevents the abdominal muscles from working and not exercising.

She explains that the muscles are active all the time and, when putting on a girdle, the abdominal muscles become flaccid, they lose strength and muscle tone, “Wearing it brings more consequences than not doing it”.

In the publication Nursing Interventions during the Physiological Puerperium, by the Ministry of Health, it is recommended to inform women that the internal and external organs physiologically recover within the sixth and eighth week after childbirth.

It is normal for the first days after delivery to have some colic. This means that your uterus is contracting to return to its normal size, and little by little they disappear.

Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social

If you had a C-section…

In this case, it is fully recommended to wear the girdle because the surgery is a process in which the muscles are cut and important parts of the abdomen are cut, too. “A compression bandage simulating a girdle is made”, says the expert.

While in a vaginal delivery the abdominal muscles are not cut and everything remains in place, in a C-section the body needs a healing process to strengthen and be able to hold all the intestine and abdominal organs.

Finally, what are the motivations for women who had a vaginal delivery to wear a girdle? Daniela Carrasco lists them:

  • They feel safer and more comfortable to carry out their daily activities and carry the baby.
  • When walking, they do not have a body imbalance.

In a C-section, it is recommended to make a special bandage. A postpartum girdle may be worn for three to four weeks or as directed by the OB/GYN.

Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara

Spanish version