Fantastic question! :) And the answer is...."it depends"....so frustrating I know, but hear me out. In general, I tell people that postpartum wrapping is an individual decision because it can feel great and that really makes a difference for some women, BUT there isn’t any evidence to show that it actually changes the course of your healing or makes it go any faster. Some people believe that it brings the connective tissue in the abdomen back together more easily (and helps to prevent diastasis) but in my opinion there are so many other factors that go into that (alignment, breathing, rest, nutrition, etc - see previous blog post) and I don’t know that a wrap will do enough to make up the difference. With that being said, it can feel wonderful to have that “hug” and can help give your pelvis and back some support since your core muscles are going to take a few weeks to move back into their natural positions. Wrapping can also help if you are experiencing any pain in your low back, abdomen, hips, or pelvis. Compression in the early postpartum period may reduce postpartum bleeding, swelling, and water retention.
I do encourage women that if they use one to only use it for the first 3-4 weeks, and not all day long. It’s important to start letting your body rely on its own core coordination to accomplish stability, rather than having external support. Continued core weakness is one of the troubles that can arise with prolonged use. Another is increased downward pressure that can lead to pelvic floor issues or heaviness in the organs. Think of your abdominal cavity like a balloon or a cylinder - if you squeeze the middle of the balloon, the pressure will increase to the top and the bottom. That increased pressure downward can cause a reflexive tightening, or weakening, of the pelvic floor muscles or a downward pressure on your organs. The increased upward pressure can lead to habitual shallow breathing. After pregnancy, the breathing diaphragm is often already used to a limited range of motion because the baby was taking up most of the room - thereby making breath shorter and more shallow - and then if you wrap too tight, too often, or too long, this habit can remain. The problem is we need that full excursion of the diaphragm and full inhale into the lower ribs, back, and belly for many things: good oxygenation, digestion, stimulation of healing hormones, sleep, energy, and pelvic floor health to name a few :)
When you opened this post, I am sure you were looking for a simple “yes” or “no” but I hope these points make some sense so you can determine what’s right for YOU! Every is different in their healing, what they are feeling, and what they need. My answer would be that if you want it for comfort and support and to make you feel better, then go for it. It will feel great and absolutely won't do any harm when used properly, keeping in mind the points above! Make sure you use a high quality one and get proper instructions on how to use it. But I wouldn’t say yes you absolutely HAVE to have it for your healing. Does that make sense?
Really, the best ways to support your connective tissue and abdominal wall coming back together in the early postpartum period are to stay hydrated, nourish yourself with good food that gives your body the building blocks to regenerate, and REST for the first 3-4 weeks - accept a lot of help and give yourself permission to not jump back into your life and responsibilities as you were before your little munchkin was born. They say we're designed to be HORIZANTAL for 3 weeks after giving birth so we don't put much pressure or force through healing tissues. Now, in modern society where we don't live in an actual village who has the time or the support for that, right? But the point is good to keep in the back of your mind to give yourself some grace and be okay with letting go and just focusing on you and that baby. And then learning proper re-connection with that inner core to build strength on a solid foundation, which is where I come in!