by: Heather Jeffcoat, DPT - Women's Health Physical Therapy, Los Angeles CA
No woman is immune to the post-pregnancy baby belly blues. What once nurtured a growing baby is now achy and sore as well as flabby and toneless. But, for many women, it’s what’s going on inside the body during post-pregnancy healing that triggers not only discomfort but also a lack of confidence.
Whether it’s the strain of pregnancy or the trauma of a vaginal delivery or c-section, our bodies undergo a tremendous amount of stress. But with so much focus on caring for a newborn and possibly the rest of the family, how can a new mom help the body’s post-pregnancy healing process? The first step in learning how to heal the body is to find out what’s going on.
The abdomen needs support to heal properly during post-pregnancy healing
Yes, that stretch and strain takes a visible (and a not-as-visible) toll on your abs. Many women experience diastasis, or abdominal separation, that contributes to muscle weakness. This, in turn, may lead to lumbar (lower) back pain. Others feel discomfort because ligaments stretched out by pregnancy no longer provide adequate stability for the pubic or SI joints. Between abdominal separation and strained ligaments, it’s not surprising that a new mom’s belly feels like a bowl of gelatin during post-pregnancy healing.
Abdominal muscles aren’t the only body parts that need to heal
Let’s talk about the skin you’re in. New moms are so focused on caring for their newborns that it might sound almost trivial to say that you need to care for your skin, too. But pregnancy is not kind to the body’s largest organ. Skin on the abdomen, pelvis, hips, and thighs are stretched by baby weight and excess fluid. Remember, that excess fluid often remains during the post-pregnancy healing process, especially for moms who were pumped with I.V. fluids during a long labor.
Feeling a pain in the pelvis? As you might imagine, pregnancy is harsh on the pelvic region. And, for many women, relieving this area is often limited to sitting on an ice bag immediately following labor. And while this can relieve pelvic pain externally, it does next to nothing for the organs inside the pelvic region.
New moms can find immediate comfort, support, and strength in a support garment
As a physical therapist and a mom, I know firsthand that women can assist post-pregnancy healing by wearing a specially designed support garment. Support wear, like the Body After Baby Abdominal Recovery or C-section Recovery garment, provides a natural way to be more comfortable and more mobile. Many women find that a support garment relieves some fatigue as well—sorry, though, it won’t do anything for fatigue from 3 a.m. feedings!
How does a post-pregnancy support garment work?
Anatomically designed support panels encircle the abdomen, pelvis, hips, and lower back to deliver contouring support that stabilizes muslces, tissue, and ligaments. The gentle compression also promotes circulation which aids in healing and reduces edema (swelling) and helps the skin retract to its former shape. Support and Compression work together to assist your body with healing and recovery.
Following the initial post-pregnancy healing period, women can continue to find support to assist their body shape with a Body After Baby Body Contouring garment, which provides extended compression panels and a contouring fit designed to help your body retains its pre-pregnancy shape naturally.
If you haven’t worn a postpartum support garment before, it might be time to give it a try—you’ll be surprised at how quickly it supports, increases mobility, reduces discomfort, and makes you feel and look better.