For those women in need or want of firm support after the baby's born, a good girdle can do wonders. Generally, a post-partum girdle is called for when a new mother has either had a c-section, or wants compression not just in the abdomen area, but the backside and hips, too.
It's really just a question of preference for some; others need all the support they can get. Tempting though they may be - the results, after all, are instant and dramatic - remember that these types of tummy binders are serious business, and can be quite costly. Converts to the full-girdle style of post-partum support say the price is worth it, and that these garments are definitely the best choice if you're looking for firm, unrelenting compression backed by science, rather than simply for style. For a little less support with great results, try a post-partum support belt.
Surprisingly, these girdles are not altogether uncomfortable, thanks to the wonders of modern fabrics and design. They're helpful for sore backs and distended abdominal muscles - especially if your C-section did a number on your mid-section - and, as a nice bonus, friends and loved ones will marvel at your incredible shrinking midriff! (Don't worry. It'll be our little secret...)
There are several well-loved models of post-partum girdles on the market. If you feel like you might be ready to take the plunge, here are four to consider:
The mother of post-partum maternity girdles, the Bellefit is generally promoted as "medical-grade childbirth recovery." Pull-up, side-zipper or corset models offer differing levels of compression and benefits; those who've had sections will want to opt for the corset model since the bra-hook stye closures run down the front of the garment.
Though you probably won't see any of them walking down the Victoria's Secret catwalk, the good news with Bellefit is that the pieces are not entirely unattractive - the fabric is a simple nude shade, and the design is as contemporary as it can be. Bellefit also makes affordable post-partum panties, shapewear and sleep bras.
One of Bellefit's most enticing claims about its girdles is that they help reduce discomfort and speed up recovery time for those suffering from diastasis recti - the annoying midline abdominal muscle separation that some new moms experience as a result of pregnancy and/or childbirth.
It's hard to believe that the word sexy can be used to describe a post-partum girdle... but the Leonisa Brief Panty Compression Body Shaper makes the dream a reality. Sleek and black (though also available in nude), this mid-range girdle looks more like corset-style lingerie than a way of keeping new mothers' recovering med-sections in check.
Front closure means it's easier to put on and take off for those who've had c-sections, and the removable straps make it a versatile garment when it comes to outerwear. The internal microfibre fabric makes it super-breathable, too. And for those of you who might happen to be looking for a thong-style girdle or other sultry compression garments, Leonisa's got you covered with its large selection of good-looking and innovative shapewear.
The Jeunique Back-to-Normal girdle is a garment that offers a bit of an unconventional design when it comes to post-partum support garments. It slides on like underwear, but instead of heavy corseting, boning or hook closures, this one has a frontal flap made of soft nylon and lycra that is simply pulled up tightly and then secured to the back of the high-riding underwear with velcro.
The innovative swaddle-like design will still alleviate post-partum backache, and the discomfort of cramping after childbirth as well. In addition, the Back-to-Normal claims to not only lift and support your swollen abdomen, but also help guide your displaced organs back to their proper spots. The girdle is equally suited to those who've had c-sections or vaginal deliveries, and is perhaps a kinder and gentler option for those still looking for full coverage post-partum support.
For those on a budget - or simply not willing to spend big bucks on a girdle - the Amon Forgive Post-Partum panty is a basic yet effective pull-up style girdle. The really nice thing about the Amon is actually its simplicity. While it might offer a little less support than those girdles with complicated panels and closure systems, that's what makes it all the more wearable for some.
Comfort is the key here, and the nylon-spandex blend fabric is supremely breathable and easy to wear. The Forgive's high-waist style allows enough room to incorporate a band wide enough to actually work wonders on post-partum bellies. Available in nude, black and white.
Looking for a classic post-partum support girdle at a reasonable price? The Gabrialla is a simple way to contend with a suddenly deflated tummy that isn't as taut as you thought it would be. Because of its pull-up style, it may be more suited to women who've had vaginal deliveries, or for those who are at least two weeks post-c-section.
It's got a high waist with a thick band, and wide reinforced panels at the front and rear, providing compression and support. Constructed out of cotton-lined nylon-elastic, the Gabrialla has two hook closures at the crotch for convenience. This girdle comes in a good range of regular and plus sizes, too, and is widely available at big-box stores.