Do abdominal belts help you lose post pregnancy pouch?

Can new-mums wear the maternity belt through the night?

Have you heard of an old wives' remedy of reducing the belly fat post pregnancy? Well, in some villages across Indian even till today, women tie an old, sturdy piece of cloth or a sari around their abdomen after their delivery.

The popular belief behind this practice is that tying a piece of cloth tightly on the stomach helps in reducing the belly pouch that forms post pregnancy.

And if, you are finding a parallel to this age-old practice in a modern technique often suggested by doctors -- that of fastening a stomach belt around the abdomen then well, you are not alone.

What is a abdominal belt?

A maternity belt or an abdominal belt is a tight piece of clothing often with snug elastic that is worn on the abdomen. It helps to hold the belly tightly and gives a snug support to abdominal walls and muscles.

Many maternity brands have a line of belly belts that are often advertised as easy remedies to help you get rid of your belly pouch that is often left loose by the sudden expansion and contraction of stomach muscles due to pregnancy.

When can you start using an abdominal belt?

A maternity belt is safe to use in a normal delivery as soon as the second day of the delivery. However, it is always a good idea to consult your gynecologist before resorting to any new remedies. One needs to be particularly cautious in case of a C-section delivery as the tight belly belt can interfere with the scar.

One needs to let the C-section scar heal completely before using any external pressure such as tying a tight belt around the belly. It is advisable to be in touch with your doctor to be extremely sure that your scar has healed completely.

The big question

And now for the most important question --- does a maternity belt really help. Even though it is a huge practice in India and in some parts of the world, there is not much scientific evidence to suggest that this remedy may help.

However, anecdotal evidence suggests that women who have used the belt have felt that their posture and back support has improved considerably.

There is also a belief that the tight belt helps in controlling the bulging belly. Most women experience that even after their delivery the belly protrusion makes it look as if one is six months pregnant.

There are also beliefs that tying a tight belt around the tummy results in more toned muscles around the abdomen and the process also helps in reduction of back pain.

The discomfort

It is not exactly comfortable to have a too-tight piece of elastic band wrapped around your abdomen at all times. The method is somewhat similar to the Victorian practice of wearing a too-tight-for-comfort corset.

But despite the discomfort, some women report that they feel better supported and slept much better if they wore the postnatal belt even during the night time.

The ancient practice of tying the sari around the waist too was recommended for at least 40 days and through the day and night.

However, many women prefer to take off the belt for a few hours so that they do not feel constricted. It is better to keep your doctor in the loop and report any new symptoms such as rash or any new discomfort.

Read: 5 mistakes all new mums make while losing the post-pregnancy weight