This post was written by Motif Medical Compression Director Rebekah Mustaleski, Certified Professional Midwife and expert in evidence-based maternity care.
You've just had a baby – congratulations!! – and now you've entered into the transitional period called “postpartum.” Since your baby is no longer occupying the space in your abdomen, all of your organs and muscles are settling back into their usual places. Your abdominal muscles, which stretched apart to make room for baby, are slowly coming back together. Your connective tissues and ligaments that softened are shrinking and firming up. Your hips, pelvis, and spine are re-aligning too.
It may be tempting to pick up your Shapewear, but let me tell you my top five reasons why Motif's Postpartum Compression Garment is a better option!
1. Abdominal Support vs. Tummy Sculpting
Spanx are designed to sculpt your tummy and make your body look smooth on the outside, which may be what you want for a night out on the town, but you’ll want a long-term fix for your abdominal muscles after you’ve had a baby.
Spanx can help your waistline look good for an evening, but the best postpartum recovery garments help bring your abdominal muscles back together. They can also help prevent persistent diastasis recti (abdominal muscle separation). When these muscles are given the support they need in the postpartum, you’ll be setting yourself up for a firmer, flatter tummy, even without the Spanx!
2. Pelvic Support vs. Side Slimming
With so much of your core unable to support you post-pregnancy, I can see why some side slimming might sound nice, but sometimes it causes more trouble than it’s worth!
Your pelvic floor is one of the sets of muscles that has been relaxed and stretched, so it's not in any condition to support that increased workload and this can lead to prolapses and hernias. No one wants that!
Think of your abdomen like a tube of toothpaste: if you flatten out the middle of it, where does all the toothpaste go? To the top and bottom, right? So, one of the issues with side slimming in the postpartum is that it increases the pressure that's put on the pelvic floor.
Unlike postpartum shapewear, a recovery garment supports both your pelvic floor and your abdomen so that all of these areas will come back together to form a strong core. Once these sets muscles have had the time they need to be a firm foundation around your midsection, they will hold you steady during your daily activities and hopefully you'll have avoided any additional problems along the way. The Motif Postpartum Support garment extends from the high waist and includes full panty support and zipper closure perfect for C-section recovery.
3. Good Posture vs Smooth Silhouette
Waist cinchers are known for giving women a nice smooth silhouette, which is lovely. But do you know what’s even more lovely? A woman who is standing straight and tall with good posture. A smooth silhouette with a slouched back (maybe from the hours spent feeding or changing a baby?) doesn’t look so great. Not to mention all of the back pain that come from spending your day with your spine hunched and out of alignment!
Keeping good posture is particularly difficult in the postpartum because of the lack of core strength in the first several weeks. Postpartum compression has been shown to help new moms keep good posture, even with all the time spent looking at and caring for their baby. As the muscles and ligaments firm back up, and with the spine in proper alignment while that happens, you’re setting yourself up for a gorgeous silhouette—and fewer aches and pains.
4. Long-Term Help vs. Temporary Effects
One of the most important differences between a postpartum recovery garment and waist trainers, corsets, or other body shapers is the purpose behind each one. A waist trainer isn't designed to make any lasting changes to your body. It's made to be a temporary fix for a few hours. A postpartum recovery garment, however, is specifically created to facilitate long-term, lasting changes as your body restores itself post-delivery.
Postpartum compression helps rebuild a strong core, maintain good posture during the long nights and days of parenting, and provides the back support many women need as they resume their daily activities. You’re aiding your body in the work of postpartum recovery and giving yourself a head start in looking your best the next time you're ready for a night out on the town!
5. Covered by Insurance vs. Out-of-Pocket
If the first four reasons haven't already convinced you that a postpartum compression garment is different than Shapewear, here's one more: Motif's Postpartum Recovery Garment is an FDA-listed Medical Device and is eligible for coverage by your insurance company. This isn't just spandex to make your waist smaller—this is a device specifically created to be used after delivery and shown to be helpful in reducing complications and creating a smoother recovery. Even the insurance companies have seen the difference this garment will make in getting you back to your everyday activities!