In many cultures and countries, Abdominal Wrapping or Abdominal Binding (also called Belly Binding, Belly Wrapping or Tummy Wrapping), has been or still is part of traditional postpartum practices done in the confinement period. By the way, the duration of afterbirth confinement periods depends on the specific country, tradition or habit.
With Abdominal Binding, the abdomen and pelvic area are wrapped tightly with a special cotton binding cloth (today also made from other materials) with the goal to reduce swelling in the abdominal area, strengthen the abdominal muscles, reduce water retention, shrink back the area to the pre-pregnancy state, prevent hemorrhage, aid the uterus (womb) regaining normal size and position, and support the back.
Traditionally, to correctly bind the Abdominal Wrap a highly skilled therapist is needed, usually a Doula or Midwife, although today many easy to use and do-it-yourself wraps are available commercially and for sale in-store or online. The Belly Wrap can be worn six to ten hours a day for effective results, but more time is possible also, and one can even sleep with the wrap. So, actually, one can wear a wrap day and night.
Binding also helps supporting and realigning the pelvic organs, which includes the muscles of the pelvic area. Usually, after delivery, women use the wrap until the end of the postpartum confinement period, but the Abdominal Wrap can be used as long as one finds necessary.
The traditional wraps or binding cloths are made of cotton and are rather long, from six to fifteen meters, and about fifteen to twenty centimetres wide. Here again, today, you’ll find Belly Wraps of all kinds of lengths and widths and made of all sorts of materials.
Before the actual wrapping, a postpartum massage may be done and often afterwards the abdominal area is rubbed in with herbal creams, lotions or pastes. Then the wrapping starts from the woman’s hip and goes up to middle part of the body just under the breasts. Abdominal binding is sometimes also applied by women who want to keep their posture well, correct it, or to have a slim appearance, and that’s why it’s sometimes also called the Slimming Wrap.
Although a traditional technique, abdominal binding is still widely used by women that have given birth. In fact, Abdominal Binding has seen a steep rise in application in past years, around the globe. Binding can be done after both normal and caesarean (C-section) deliveries.