Pregnancy, babies and corsets! August 19 2014, 0 Comments
**This post is based around my own personal experiences and opinions. I am not a medical professional and points discussed in this post should not be treated as medical advice. Please discuss your postpartum healing plans with your midwife and doctor.**
Lately there’s been a lot of media hype about women who have recently given birth and corsets.
A number of celebrities have claimed to wear ‘corsets’ to regain their figures post pregnancy. However, if you read these articles (linked below) carefully, the garments described are actually elasticated shape wear and not corsetry.
So the question still stands in many ways. Is it safe to wear a corset during or after pregnancy?
As a corset maker who has recently been pregnant, this is something I have often been asked lately. I’d like to start with looking at the situation during pregnancy. The answer here is a firm no. The Victorians may have fashioned a maternity corset with adjustable panels but this is in no way advisable today – nor would you want to. As D-day approached, my garment of choice was a pair of far too big, loose waisted track pants. I even came home from the hospital in them.
No wonder you have to eat small meals – that baby takes up a lot of room. Quite like wearing a corset in some ways.
How about wearing a corset , after pregnancy then? There are many factors to consider here, such as how was your birth, did you deliver naturally or have a caesarean? If you had the latter, some doctors advise to not drive a car for up to 6 weeks (sometimes longer). A caesarean is major abdominal surgery, so strapping a firm corset over the top of your scar is going to be far from comfortable. The general advice is to defer from all exercise (except gentle walking) until your 6 week check. Your stomach and pelvic floor muscles have taken a real beating – even doing situps too early on can damage this weakened area. To the point – if your stomach muscles do not feel well enough to do a situp, then probably wearing a corset is not a sensible idea.
Be gentle on your body.
So how do you get a fabulous flat tummy post birth?
Thankfully, mother nature has an answer for this. Research shows ‘the best way to reduce abdominal distension is breastfeeding and specific exercises to strengthen the abdominals’.
As you feed the baby, oxytocin is released and this is responsible for helping your uterus to contract back down to its original size (and it’s kinda painful, but in a good way). Nobody leaves hospital with a flat tummy, this happens gradually over time. So for most people: if you keep active, do your pelvic floor exercises, keep a good posture with a tucked tummy and tall spine when you’re out on buggy walks, then by 3 months post birth you’ll be feeling great and probably eyeing up your corsets again.
Still find the idea of a celebrity endorsed, strongly elasticised girdle attractive? Take care – if your tummy is being supported externally when you wear these, then the internal muscles may not work as hard to rebuild themselves. Don’t give yourself a false friend.
Q: I’ve had diasasis recti (separation of the stomach muscles) during pregnancy – how soon after should I consider wearing a corset?
A: Everyone will heal at a different rate. Talk to your gp or physio so they can check how well your tummy muscles have knitted back together before you wear a corset again.
Q: What are some warning signs I’ve gone back to wearing my corset too soon?
A: If you feel any discomfort when wearing your corset (though this should be applied to normal corset wearing as well – but post pregnancy you need to listen very closely to your body) or feel unwell in any way. Trust your instincts and talk to your gp if you are ever in doubt.
Q: Will I need to waist train all over again?
A: Yes. Pregnancy will push out the floating ribs at the base of your rib cage and whilst they will naturally shift back into a normal position over time, if you trained them in before then you will need to do it again.
Like to hear more on this subject? Lucy has made a wonderful video discussing these same points and many more.