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Cradling your new bundle of joy after many hours of laboring away (not to mention many months to get them there) is indescribable. And while you’re still enjoying the glow of holding your newborn, you’re also sore, exhausted, and maybe thinking of what comes next in your postpartum journey.

First off, remember what you just accomplished — your body is amazing! Remember that it’s normal and healthy for your body to be different after giving birth than it was before. It took you 9 months to grow your baby, so it’s common to take at least as long to get back to “normal” — whatever that means.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, it’s common for many people to feel mostly recovered from labor and delivery within 6 to 8 weeks, but you shouldn’t be surprised if total recovery is longer.

This is due to a wide range of factors, including: fluctuating hormones, changes in your sleep patterns (to put it mildly!), and, of course, the myriad adjustments that accompany life with a newborn.

Plus, if you’re breastfeeding or chestfeeding, you’ll continue to need extra calories and hydration the whole time your little one is getting the amazing benefits of your milk.

If you find that you need extra support for your abdomen, one popular option to help is the postpartum girdle.

These garments should provide gentle support and compression. Nothing that offers compression should be so tight that it feels difficult to breathe or as though you have a limited range of motion. Wearing a girdle that’s too tight can pose health risks.

Just keep in mind: Seeking the help of a physical therapist or another healthcare professional who specializes in postpartum healing (such as for diastasis recti or pelvic floor problems, like urinary incontinence) will typically be far more effective than just buying a commercially available girdle.

A girdle can provide support and some extra stability, but it will not miraculously strengthen your core muscles for you.

If you do choose to add a postpartum girdle to your recovery plan, we’ve selected some of the tried-and-true options for a variety of situations.

Are you thinking of your grandmother’s girdle when you picture this postpartum garment? While the concept is similar, this isn’t quite the same thing.

A postpartum girdle (also known as a post-pregnancy girdle) is about more than just improving your profile in clothing — although this can be one of its selling points. This medical-grade compression garment is designed to fit snugly around your belly to aid in recovery.

Some of the top benefits of wearing a postpartum girdle include:

  • promoting recovery from childbirth
  • encouraging blood flow
  • improving posture and mobility
  • reducing back pain
  • stabilizing your pelvic floor
  • providing critical support to your abdominal muscles to help with stability or make workouts more comfortable
  • reducing swelling and fluid retention

In particular, a postpartum girdle can be ideal for those recovering from cesarean deliveries and those with diastasis recti.

C-section recovery

In general, childbirth is hard on your body. But if you had a cesarean delivery, often called a C-section, your recovery can be harder, as the incision made to access the uterus required cuts through multiple layers of muscle and tissue. Often, people who underwent cesarean deliveries experience more pain, bleeding, and discomfort.

But one small 2017 study noted that using a postpartum girdle helped people who had cesarean deliveries experience less pain, bleeding, and discomfort than those recovering from cesarean deliveries who opted not to use one.

Diastasis recti recovery

Diastasis recti is a very common condition that happens when your abdominal muscles separate as your belly expands during pregnancy — and they remain separated after childbirth.

For most people, their abdominal muscles will close naturally within a month or two after giving birth. However, wearing a postpartum girdle can help speed up the recovery process thanks to the gentle compression the girdle provides.

With so many options, it can be overwhelming to find the right postpartum girdle that meets your needs and is safe for consistent use. To help narrow down our selections, we prioritized the following criteria:

  • ease of use
  • comfort
  • construction
  • price
  • whether a product was endorsed or had been supported through research conducted by a medical organization
  • online reviews from postpartum people

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $25
  • $$ = $25–$49
  • $$$ = over $50

Best girdles for cesarean delivery recovery

Loday 2 in 1 Postpartum Recovery Belt

Price: $

Not everyone is in a position to spend a lot on a quality postpartum girdle. With the Loday 2 in 1 Postpartum Recovery Belt, you can get all the benefits of a longline girdle without the sticker shock.

In addition to the wallet-friendly price, this soft and stretchy belt is made of latex and slides on instead of relying on Velcro straps or closures — because who has time for that nonsense when you have a newborn?! While this option can only be hand-washed, it’s available in two colors (nude and black) and sizes XS through XL.

Pros

  • The girdle has an affordable price.
  • It’s available in XS through XL, and nude and black shades.
  • The girdle is easy to put on as there are no zips, Velcro straps, or hook and eye closures.

Cons

  • Those with larger bodies may have trouble getting into the girdle.
  • The girdle is hand-wash only.

Bellefit Corset Postpartum Girdle

Price: $$$

If money is less of an issue, the Bellefit Corset Postpartum Girdle could be an option for parents healing from a cesarean delivery. This longline girdle relies on hook and eye closures on the front abdominal and crotch to provide complete 360-degree support across your midsection, back, and pelvic floor.

This option is also registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a medical device, especially for recovery from cesarean delivery and to aid in strengthening your core. It also fits an array of sizes, as it comes in XS through 3XL.

However, even though this is one of the few total support girdles on our list, a common complaint is that the crotch strap is too short and left wearers feeling uncomfortable.

Pros

  • The girdle comes in a broad size range — with options from XS through 3XL.
  • It’s officially registered as a medical device through the FDA.
  • The girdle provides 360-degree support throughout the midsection.

Cons

  • The shorter crotch strap may be uncomfortable for some people.
  • This girdle is on the pricier side.

Best budget-friendly postpartum girdles

AltroCare Postpartum Abdominal Binder

Price: $

Depending on the style of a postpartum girdle, you can end up feeling like you need an instruction manual just to get into it. The AltroCare Postpartum Abdominal Binder is designed to be stretchy girdle with a straightforward design. It also features medical-grade construction and can accommodate waist sizes from 30 to 75 inches.

Pros

  • Reduced topstitching designed for a more comfortable fit.
  • The girdle is machine washable.
  • It’s one of the most affordable options out there.

Cons

  • This girdle tends to run small.
  • Some may find the material is itchy.

Best girdle for diastasis recti

Boujee Baby Belly Band

Price: $$

If you have diastasis recti, it’s important to avoid putting additional strain on your abdominal muscles. A postpartum girdle that offers full compression across your entire abdominal region can help remind you to move in ways that support healing. The Boujee Baby Belly Band is a girdle that is designed to pull double duty — it’s made to be used during pregnancy and after delivery.

It starts as a maternity wrap that provides support for your growing bump. Diastasis recti is often caused by extreme pressure on the abdominal wall, and this product was created to reduce pressure and provide bump support, which may reduce a pregnant person’s risk of developing the condition. After you give birth, it converts to a girdle, providing compression to help support your core.

Post-birth it can be wrapped around your entire midsection. What’s really essential to healing from diastasis recti is avoiding activities that further strain your abdominal wall, as well as doing safe core strengthening exercises (ideally those recommended by a physical therapist or other medical professional). A postpartum girdle can provide support that reminds you to maintain good posture and be gentle with the muscles in your healing belly — even if it doesn’t heal them itself.

This girdle is also one-size-fits-most with the ability to support folks size XS through 7X.

Pros

  • A full compression girdle across your entire abdominal region.
  • Convertible design that works as a maternity belt during pregnancy, and postpartum girdle after delivery.
  • Though it’s one size, the band is designed to accommodate a wide side range — from XS through 7X.

Cons

  • The band is made with latex.
  • It’s unclear how you wash and care for this belly band.

Best postpartum girdle for people with more weight

Everyday Medical Plus Size Abdominal Binder

Price: $

Understandably, multiple straps might be intimidating if you’re trying to juggle caring for a newborn while taking care of yourself. The Everyday Medical Plus Size Abdominal Binder may be an option for those looking to simplify.

This one-strap, four-panel, postpartum girdle is designed for easy wear and measures 12 inches long to fully cover your midsection. It’s made with a lightweight fabric that, according to the company, makes it breathable and discreet under clothing. This should make it comfortable for extended periods of wear.

Overall customer reviews praise the product, but a handful mention concerns about its durability, as they noticed minor tearing in the seams or issues with the Velcro closure causing the surrounding fabric to fray.

Pros

  • The girdle has a simple design that may be easier to get into.
  • The four-panel design is made to enhance compression.
  • The design is fairly discreet beneath clothing.

Cons

  • Reviewers said this girdle has a tendency to shift — whether it be riding up or rolling down —throughout the day.
  • Some say the product isn’t high quality and ran into issues with the Velcro loosening, or seams coming undone.

Best supportive postpartum girdle

Motif Medical Postpartum Recovery Garment

Price: $$

If you’re looking for an FDA-approved solution to give you well-rounded support, the Motif Medical Postpartum Recovery Garment may be worth checking out. According to the company, the girdle is ideal for recovery from cesarean and vaginal deliveries, and helps support your joints while reducing pain and swelling.

The girdle is designed to stabilize your core and be easy to get into due to zips on either side. This pick combines shoulder straps with high-waisted compression shorts — which some people might find uncomfortable. Additionally, some reviewers noted that the thighs had a tendency to roll up or were too loose.

You’ll choose your size based on your pre-pregnancy pant size. According to a customer service representative, the garment is machine washable, but should be run in cold water on a gentle cycle, and hung up to dry.

The garment is also available on Amazon — but at the time of publication, it was considerably more expensive than directly from Motif Medical.

Pros

  • The longline cut is made for full compression through the abdomen.
  • Side-zip construction makes the girdle worth considering for those experiencing cesarean delivery recovery.
  • The built-in straps are meant to help keep it in place throughout the day.
  • This girdle may be eligible for insurance coverage.

Cons

  • The thigh fabric could be too loose for some.
  • Fabric on the thighs could be prone to rolling up as you wear it.

Best postpartum girdle for bloat

UpSpring Baby Shrinkx Belly Bamboo Charcoal Belly Wrap

Price: $$

When you have improved circulation, your body can heal better. The UpSpring Shrinkx Belly Bamboo Charcoal Belly Wrap is infused with bamboo charcoal fibers alleged to help improve circulation. This girdle has the classic Velcro fasteners that allow you to adjust the compression to meet your needs. This postpartum girdle is rated for use with cesarean delivery and vaginal birth recovery.

One common complaint with this girdle is that it’s bulky and visible under clothing. Another concern was that the fabric was scratchy, making it impractical for use directly on your skin.

Pros

  • The Velcro fastening is made for simple use.
  • The girdle comes with triple compression that can be customized.
  • It’s made with bamboo charcoal fiber, which the company claims will naturally help boost circulation.

Cons

  • Limited size range that may not accommodate all bodies.
  • Some users say the girdle is bulky — which may make it visible beneath clothing.

Best splurge postpartum girdle

Belly Bandit Viscose from Bamboo Belly Wrap

Price: $$$

The Belly Bandit Viscose from Bamboo Belly Wrap is designed to be ultra-soft, and utilizes Belly Wrap technology, according to the company. It’s meant to focus on your core midsection with gentle compression, and features an adjustable and removable Velcro closure. It’s available in sizes XS through XL and also comes with 6 inches of adjustability to help accommodate your changing shape as you progress through your postpartum period.

If this one seems on the pricier end, keep in mind that many insurance companies may reimburse you the cost of Belly Bandit products with a prescription from your healthcare provider.

Pros

  • Designed to be latex-free with breathable viscose material that users may find more comfortable.
  • The Belly Bandit is eligible for insurance reimbursement.
  • Available in sizes XS through XL.

Cons

  • Limited size support for moms with more weight.
  • Pricier than many other options.

ProductPriceSizesColorsClosureCare
Loday 2 in 1 Postpartum Recovery Belt$XS-XLnude, blackpull-onhand-wash only
Bellefit Postpartum Girdle Corset$$$XS-3XLnudehook & eye, snapshand-wash only
AltroCare 3 Panel 9″ High Postpartum Abdominal Binder$S-2XLwhitehook & eyemachine washable
Boujee Baby Belly Band$$one sizebrownwrapunspecified
Everyday Medical Plus Size Abdominal Binder$2X-3XblackVelcrohand-wash only
Motif Medical$$00-2 to 20-22nudeside zipmachine washable, gentle cycle
Upspring ShrinxBelly Postpartum Belly Wrap$$S/M, L/XLblackVelcrohand-wash only
Belly Bandit Viscose from Bamboo Belly Wrap$$$XS-XLblack, whiteVelcrohand-wash only

Waist trainers are modern-day corsets that are worn over the midsection and rely on hook and eye closures or ties to help create the illusion of a sculpted hourglass figure. They also have a reputation built on bold claims of weight loss and shaping, or “training,” your waist into the desired silhouette.

But under medical review, these undergarments don’t stand up to the hype. While they can create the visual effect of slimming your middle, they don’t provide long-term weight loss or shaping benefits. They can actually damage your internal organs, reduce your lung capacity, and lead to other health problems.

In contrast, a postpartum girdle is designed with support as the primary goal. These garments are worn around the belly and upper hip to provide support for your core and pelvic floor. While they do feature compression, it’s supposed to be gentle and targeted to hold your muscles and ligaments in place and speed recovery after childbirth.

At least one medical study from 2012 showed that using postpartum girdles can help you safely strengthen your core over time, especially when used in combination with physical therapy.

Remember that the best way to help your body recover after birth is to:

  • rest a lot — you’ve heard it said, but truly, try to sleep when they sleep!
  • eat healthy foods
  • drink a lot of water

If you do decide to add a postpartum girdle to your recovery plan, be sure to keep these things in mind while you shop:

Price

It’s not necessary to splurge to find a quality postpartum girdle. Depending on your budget, there are full coverage models available at every price point.

Ease of use

Most girdles will feature one of three options:

  • pull-on style
  • hook and eye closures
  • Velcro closures

The type you pick will depend on which is easiest for you. A pull-on style is awesome if you don’t want to fumble with closures. But Velcro closures can be ideal if you want to quickly adjust your compression levels.

Hook and eye closures offer the most secure fit, but if you’re trying to very quickly get in and out of your girdle, well — good luck.

Likewise, for a girdle to be truly effective, look for options that will stay in place.

Size

Many brands offer girdles in two common sizing options — traditional letter sizing (XS to XL) or based on precise numerical measurements. It’s a good idea to take your measurements and compare them against the size charts offered by the brand.

Between the two sizing options, numerical measurements will always be more precise than lettered sizing. Keep in mind that a postpartum girdle should fit snugly but should never restrict your ability to breathe or impact your range of motion.

Style

The most common options are longline and midsection styles. A longline girdle begins just below your bust and usually ends just at, or in the middle of, your hips. This is great if you’re recovering from diastasis recti, a cesarean delivery, or you want to work on improving your posture.

A midsection style is great for general support and can be a better alternative for someone that feels a longline style is too restrictive. However, based on consumer reviews, longline styles are better at staying in place — whereas midsection-specific girdles are more prone to shifting or rolling while worn.

Material

Always look for breathable materials when shopping for a postpartum girdle. Breathable fabrics allow sweat to evaporate and escape or diffuse through the fabric. In simpler terms: these fabrics don’t trap moisture on your skin.

Natural fabrics like bamboo-based viscose tend to offer better breathability, which is essential as more pronounced sweating is common during postpartum.

If you’re recovering from a cesarean delivery, look for options that have moisture-wicking and breathability to help with incision healing.

Research on girdles is limited, and if you have concerns about your recovery it’s better to consult with a physical therapist or another healthcare professional who specializes in women’s pelvic health and abdominal health.

Even though postpartum is marked by changes as you heal and recover from pregnancy, you still know your body best.

There are a few signs you should seek professional care. If you’re experiencing heavy vaginal bleeding to the point where you have to consistently change your pad on an hourly basis, or are passing large clots, there might be a problem and you should seek medical attention.

Other symptoms that indicate you should seek professional, medical help immediately are:

  • chills and/or fever
  • fainting or dizziness
  • vision changes or a persistent headache
  • painful or difficult urination
  • chest pain, heart palpitations or difficulty breathing
  • swollen, or weepy, incision (either cesarean delivery or episiotomy)
  • abdominal pain that continues to get worse
  • swollen or painful legs
  • increased swelling in general

Do postpartum girdles really work?

While scientific studies on the efficacy of postpartum girdles is limited, anecdotal “research” from real parents would suggest that these garments offer benefits after giving birth.

Girdles are designed to provide additional support that works to improve posture and stabilize your core muscles. And the gentle compression they provide may aid in recovery after birth.

Just make sure that a girdle isn’t so tight that you can’t breathe or comfortably move. Wearing a compression garment that’s too tight can have negative health consequences.

How long should I wear a girdle after birth?

Some experts suggest wearing a girdle for at least 30 days to boost recovery. However, there’s no hard-and-fast rule for how to best care for your postpartum body. Just consult medical professionals, as needed, throughout the recovery process and listen to your body.

When should I start wearing a postpartum girdle?

As long as you don’t have any complications from the delivery, you can begin wearing a postpartum girdle immediately after giving birth.

If you do have complications, speak with your midwife or physician to determine when you can begin wearing a girdle, and if there are special considerations you need to take into account when choosing one.

Does wearing a girdle help flatten your stomach after pregnancy?

A girdle can help to speed up the process of your abdominal muscles naturally closing after giving birth. But you can’t assume that the girdle will do all the work.

If a flatter stomach is your goal, you’ll want to work with your healthcare team to begin incorporating safe exercise into your routine as you progress through postpartum.

Are postpartum belly wraps worth it?

Users say that postpartum belly wraps can be a great tool to aid in your recovery after pregnancy, but they’re not a cure-all solution. While they can provide added support and compression which can boost recovery, you’ll still need to do the work to strengthen your core muscles.

You need to allow yourself a lot of time to get your body back into shape. And most importantly, be gentle with yourself as you discover your new “normal” postpartum body.

Regardless of how you delivered your baby, the road to recovery during your postpartum period can be intense. But a quality postpartum girdle — along with the advice of your doctor, midwife, or physical therapist — may help give you the support you need to get back to an active life and to heal properly from labor and birth.