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Many moms turn to waist trainers after pregnancy with the hope of getting a flatter midsection.
But can you really waist train your way back to your pre-baby bod?
The desire to “snap back” after having a baby may feel enticing, but before you make these pricy investments, know that the temporary results may not be worth the risk.
In this article, we will explore both the pros and cons of wearing one so you can make your own decision about whether or not it’s right for you!
I learned the hard way that the risk of waist training after pregnancy far exceeds the benefits and moms should be aware of the risks before making these pricy investments.
If I knew then what I know now, I would have steered clear of them altogether.
I, like most moms, was eager to shrink my stomach quickly after I gave birth to my daughters.
After my second baby was born, against my better judgment, I decided to jump on the postpartum waist trainer bandwagon.
Instead of a flat stomach, I ended up with pelvic organ prolapse.
While these garments seem appealing, they don’t come without risk.
Risks that MANY companies and influencers won’t warn you about as they push these products on vulnerable and insecure postpartum moms.
While there are risks associated with waist trainers, this is not to say you cannot use one.
But they should be worn with caution.
Disclaimer: The material on this blog and social media associated with this blog are provided for educational purposes only. While I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology-Exercise Science and am a Certified Prenatal/Postnatal Exercises Specialist, this content should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or in place of therapy or medical care. You are responsible if you choose to try any of the workouts or advice is given on this blog
What Is a Postpartum Waist Trainer?
Post-pregnancy waist trainers or postpartum girdles are corset-like garments that are often worn after pregnancy to shrink or “flatten” your stomach.
They are often composed of a thick fabric with metal boning and placed around the midsection then cinched down tightly and worn for several hours a day.
While the idea behind these compression garments may seem appealing, they will not offer the longer-term, weight loss benefits you are hoping for.
In fact, they may even be dangerous and risky to your health.
What Is The Difference Between a Waist Trainer and Abdominal Binder?
Abdominal binders are worn to help provide LIGHT compression and support of the abdomen, especially after a c-section.
Waist trainers, on the other hand, will provide a TIGHT compression of your abdomen with the intention of not only providing support but also shrinking your postpartum belly.
While some doctors might say that it is safe for you to try wearing a waist trainer after pregnancy – please be cautious before making this decision.
Many doctors are not familiar with postpartum rehabilitation the way a prenatal/postnatal exercise specialist or physical therapists.
Does Wearing a Waist Trainer Shrink Your Belly?
Postpartum corsets claim to shrink your uterus from the size of a watermelon to an apple and help to reduce swelling after childbirth.
This might give the TEMPORARY appearance of a slimmer more toned midsection.
However, there is no scientific research to back these claims, and the research shows that they may actually cause damage.
Any effects seen from using a waist trainer are only temporary and will likely disappear as soon as you discontinue using it.
You simply cannot change your body shape with a piece of fabric!
Is Post-Pregnancy Belly Binding Safe?
Aside from discomfort, waist training after giving birth can pose some serious and potentially dangerous health risks.
These risks include:
- Restricted Diaphragmatic Breathing
Breathing patterns during pregnancy become impaired due to the lack of space in your belly as the baby grows.
Re-pattering your breathing through diaphragmatic breathing is the first, and most important step in healing your body and strengthening your core after pregnancy.
Wearing a postpartum waist trainer restricts proper breathing patterns and can reduce lung capacity by an estimated 30-60%!
- Weakened Core
Your core muscles become very weak and even dysfunctional during and after pregnancy as they are stretched.
The compression from these corsets can cause further muscle atrophy and weakness because they provide the support that would normally come from the core muscles.
Weak core muscles can ultimately lead to a further tummy pooch, poor posture and chronic back pain, and incontinence.
Focusing on strengthing transverse abdominal muscles which act as an internal corset will help you achieve a much stronger and even flatter stomach after pregnancy.
- Pelvic Floor Prolapse and/or Dysfunction
Let’s imagine for a moment that your core is a stress ball and you firmly squeeze the middle of the ball, replicating the compression of a waist trainer.
The pressure from squeezing will cause the water to be forced either up or down.
This downward pressure onto a weak pelvic floor can cause something called “pelvic organ prolapse (POP)”.
Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition in which the muscles of the pelvic floor are no longer strong enough to support the pelvic organs resulting in a drop or prolapse of the pelvic organs from their normal position.
Added pressure to your midsection can also cause these organs to descend.
The pelvic organs include the bladder, urethra, uterus, rectum, vagina, and cervix.
- Organ Damage
It may seem obvious but your midsection is home to a lot of important organs including the liver, kidneys, and bladder.
The compression from a waist trainer can place too much pressure on your organs and potentially affect how well they work in the future.
If it goes on for a long time, this damage may be permanent.
Some research even shows that wearing these bands too tight for extended periods of time can cut off blood flow to your lower body.
Can Waist Training Help With Diastasis Recti?
Diastasis Recti is a condition in which the abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy and remain so for several months after giving birth.
A postpartum girdle or abdominal binder can help address Diastasis Recti by offering extra support, but it’s only a temporary solution at best.
However, I would strongly advise against using a waist trainer for Diastasis Recti because it prevents your core muscles from being able to develop the strength and function needed to heal.
The only way to heal abdominal separation after pregnancy for a flatter stomach is through the combination of strategic core strengthening exercises and a healthy diet.
Are Waist Trainers Safe After a C-Section?
A C-section is considered a major surgery in which many layers of muscles and tissues are cut.
For this reason, I would NOT recommend wearing a waist trainer immediately after having a C-section.
Your doctor may recommend using an abdominal binder to help provide support of your incision while your body heals from the surgery.
However, a waist trainer is NOT advised after having a C-section.
Can a Waist Trainer Actually Help You Lose Weight?
The short answer is, “No”, you can not lose body fat or weight with a waist trainer alone.
The key to any good weight loss program is reduced calorie consumption, increased exercise activity and commitment.
Even one of the websites that sells these corsets states that they “highly recommended to use waist trainer along with a healthy diet plan and workout regimen to get optimal fat burning results.”
This proves there is no replacement for reducing calorie consumption and increasing exercise for weight loss.
So if you think you can just pop on a waist trainer, get out on the treadmill, and expect to see instant results, then you will likely be very disappointed.
If you chose to exercise in a waist trainer, they will definitely help you lose some water weight through sweating.
However, the results will not be long-lasting and they will prevent your core from getting stronger and more toned.
And while a waist trainer may give you the appearance of a slimmer, more toned stomach for a short period of time, they offer no long-term weight loss benefits.
If you are looking for long-term, sustainable results in terms of losing weight, then you must find an alternative solution like healthy eating and regular exercise.
How To Wear A Waist Trainer Safely After Pregnancy
If you are still interested in waist training after pregnancy, here are some tips that can help you wear one safely.
- Avoid cinching too tight. You should be able to breathe and move comfortably. If you begin feeling dizzy or lightheaded or numbness in your lower body, take it off immediately.
- Do not sleep in a waist trainer.
- Opt for using a waist trainer for special occasions only. It should not be used as a replacement for building a strong core!
How to Find The Best Waist Trainers After Pregnancy
If you decide to move forward with using a waist trainer, these are the three products I would recommend and some tips to help you wear one safely.
Choose a Corset that Provides Support Rather Than Compression.
- Sweet Sweat Waist Trimmer Belt
- I personally like this one sometimes because it helps me sweat a lot when I feel the need for an extra sweaty workout. It also provides a gentle reminder to keep my core engaged during exercise. It was also great support during pregnancy.
So How Do I Lose My Postpartum Belly?
Contrary to popular belief, the only way to achieve drastic and long-term postpartum weight loss results is through consistent diet and exercise.
The first step to getting a flatter stomach after pregnancy is to focus on strengthening your core THE RIGHT WAY through specific rehabilitation exercises designed to work your internal corset muscles.
This will give you the slimmer and flatter stomach you are looking for.
Do your best to avoid any exercises or movements that increase intra- abdominal pressure such as crunches and sit-ups.
And as always, focus on a balanced diet that consists of plenty of healthy fats, protein, and carbs while cutting back on processed foods with added sugars and fats.
Will I Ever Get My Waist Back After Pregnancy?
Many women have weight loss and body goals they want to reach after pregnancy, and one of the most common questions we receive is “Will I ever get my waist back?”
The answer will depend on several factors such as your age, your pre-pregnancy weight, and how much weight you gained during pregnancy.
Regardless of these factors, it IS possible to restore a healthy waistline and a strong core after giving birth with the right postpartum care, exercise plan, and healthy eating habits.
And even if your belly isn’t quite the same after having a baby, remember that your body has been capable of some pretty amazing things and it is incredibly beautiful and strong.
Final Thoughts on Waist Training After Pregnancy
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel better about your postpartum body!
However, after having three babies in five years, I can promise you that there are much better, more long-term ways of reaching your postpartum weight loss goals!
With the potential of harming your body and vital organs, the risk is probably not worth the temporary results you may see.
If your goal is to lose weight around your midsection after pregnancy, you can skip the pain, cost, and side effects of expensive waist trainers and instead focus on strengthening your core the right way while focusing on eating a healthy, balanced diet.
Struggles of a Fit Mom uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within it’s articles. Read my editorial process to learn more about how I fact-check and keep my content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
Brooke is a certified Prenatal and Postnatal Exercise Specialist with a Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology-Exercise Science. She is also a mom of 3 girls with more than 15 years of experience in health and fitness. Brooke’s goal at Struggles of a Fit Mom is to help motivate, educate and inspire other busy mamas who struggle with finding time, energy and motivation to take care of themselves in the chaos of motherhood.