Jun 1, 2009

Belly Wraps: Post-Pregnancy Hit or Hype?

We found a very interesting article on WebMd and wanted to share it with our blog readers. This article present us with the opinions of people who swear by the effectiveness of post-partum belly wraps and of those who are not fans of abdominal binding after delivering a baby. We are  Belly Bandit diehard fans!! but you can read on and come up with your own opinion:

Belly Wraps: Post-Pregnancy Hit or Hype?
Some swear belly wraps help them get their pre-pregnancy bodies back, but others don't buy it
By Denise Mann
WebMD Feature

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

"When Seattle mom Ashley Allman, 27, is invited to a baby shower, she doesn’t bring a cute onesie, a silver rattle, or any such traditional gift. Allman prefers to give new moms a gut-busting belly wrap.
Allman, a public relations executive, along with many celebrity moms, including Jessica Alba, have said that these abdominal compression wraps helped them get their pre-pregnancy shape back ASAP.
“I wasn’t using it for my figure; it was more to support my lower back,” says Allman, whose son is now 9 months old. She says she gained 45 pounds during her pregnancy, but by the time her son was 8 weeks old, she was back into her pre-pregnancy jeans. She credits a belly wrap because she wasn’t consciously dieting or exercising.
Is Allman on to something? Are these belly wraps really a magic bullet for getting your body back after pregnancy or just another get-skinny-quick gimmick?
Proponents say that these girdle-like garments -- which have names like the Belly Bandit and the Taut -- essentially shrink wrap the tummy and as a result may help reduce the swelling of the uterus, while supporting the legs and back. But others say that the only way to get your body back after pregnancy is by eating a healthy diet and exercising. Still others strike it in the middle by saying these belly bands may have a role alongside healthy eating and fitness.


Belly Wraps: New Name for Old Concept

Although today’s stylish and even eco-friendly belly wraps are trendy, belly wraps (also known as abdominal binders) have actually been around for a long time, says Donnica Moore, MD, president of the Sapphire Women’s Health Group in Far Hills, N.J. and an author of Women’s Health for Life.
“This is not a new thing,” she says. “Belly wraps were used for people with back pain because they increased abdominal support, which helped people with back pain get around better."
Jay Goldberg, MD, an obstetrician/gynecologist in Beverly Hills, Calif., says, "We have been prescribing abdominal binders for a long time. They have been used for tummy tucks and back problems, but with obstetrics these wraps help women recovering from a vaginal delivery or a C-section with their posture, abdominal support, and self-confidence.”
The gentle compression on the abs may help the uterus return to its normal size quicker, so new moms may get rid of their still-pregnant-looking-belly quicker, Moore says. “There’s nothing worse than still looking pregnant months after you have had a baby.”
Another belly wrap bonus: “You may feel more comfortable and may feel like moving more and the more you move and exercise, the quicker you get your figure back,” she says. They also make you look slimmer while you are getting slimmer. “Women rave about the bands holding the flab in and that does make you appear to be slimmer."

Although Goldberg recommends the Belly Bandit to his patients as part of a postpartum plan, he says the belly wrap won't help you get back your pre-pregnancy figure in a week. He says women can put it on after delivery and recommends they wear it for four to six weeks after delivery to reap the maximum benefits.
The bottom line? “If the cost won’t break the bank, they are not a bad idea,” Moore says.
Belly wraps cost anywhere from $20 to $50, depending on the make and model. They are not all one-size-fits-all, and women may need to buy multiple sizes as their girth decreases.

Belly Wraps: Buyer Beware

Some doctors, including Saul Weinreb, MD, an obstetrician/gynecologist in Baltimore, are less enthused about belly wraps.
“Belly bands don’t help you get your body back any better than any other body-shaping clothing that people try to use to get themselves into shape,” he tells WebMD. “Of course, when used, they may help you fit better into some clothing, but there is no evidence that your body shape can truly improve because of a belly band.”
Don’t be fooled, he says. “It might feel like it is working, but it doesn’t work. Diet fads have historically tried to use all sorts of clothing wraps and similar devices, but they have never worked.”
The best and only proven way to lose your baby weight and keep it off is to eat a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and high in fiber and engage in regular exercise.
“No one thing will get you back to your pre-pregnancy weight,” says Manhattan internist Stuart Fischer, MD, author of The Park Avenue Diet. “You need a comprehensive program that is 50% food and 50% exercise, particularly post-pregnancy,” he says. “You can’t lose weight and maintain that loss without doing both."
“Belly wraps have no place in getting back into shape after pregnancy,” says new mom Sheryl Wilson, president of Fitnotic, a New York City-based pre- and postnatal fitness company.
Wilson says she understands how new moms could be tempted by belly wraps. “Your body hasn’t felt like your own for nine months, you are pressed for time, and when you see this wrap advertised saying it will suck in your gut and help you get back to shape, it’s appealing to think ‘if I strap this on, it will help.’”
But that’s just wishful thinking, she says.
“These wraps are no substitute for exercising and healthy eating generally in life or after pregnancy,” she says. They may actually do new moms a disservice. “We have to consciously work to strengthen and engage our core muscles, and we use less of our abdominal muscles when wearing wraps."
Don’t tell that to Allman and other fans. “They really helped me,” Allman says. “From now on, I plan to give belly wraps to all of my pregnant girlfriends.”

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