In Thailand, abdominal wrapping or abdominal binding (also called belly wrapping or tummy wrapping) is mainly part of postnatal practices done in the Yu Duan thirty-day confinement period. The practice starts in the Yu Fai “lying by fire” stage, almost immediately after childbirth.
The abdomen and pelvic area are wrapped tightly with a special cotton binding cloth 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 regaining normal size and position, and support the back.
To correctly bind the belly a highly skilled therapist is needed, usually a Thai Traditional Midwife. The wrap can be worn six to ten hours a day for effective results, but more time is possible, and one can even sleep with the wrap.
The wrapping starts from the woman’s hip and goes up to middle part of the body just under the breasts. Mind that abdominal binding is also done by women who want to keep their posture well, and that’s why it’s sometimes also called the Slimming Wrap.
Although a traditional technique, abdominal binding is still widely used in Thailand by women that have given birth. Binding can be done after both normal and caesarean deliveries (C-section).
In general, it also helps supporting and realigning the pelvic organs including the muscles of the pelvic area. Usually after delivery, women use the wrap until the end of the initial postpartum period (about thirty days) but it can be used as long as one finds necessary.