Belly Bands – Beneficial or BS?

It sure would be nice if we could strap something around our midsection and shrink back to pre-pregnancy shape. But can any “belly band” out there really deliver these results?

I recently appeared on Good Morning America and commented on the usefulness of these products when it comes to getting back in shape after having a baby. It will come as no surprise that I strongly believe these bands are no substitute for exercise and healthy eating.

Contrary to what some moms attest to, there is no product on the market that can “shrink” your belly and get you back to your pre-pregnancy size if you don’t stay active and eat well.

Now are there women out there who, very soon after their child is born, seem to show no signs of having carried a baby around for 10 months? Yes, they’re out there. (And we don’t like them very much. :) )

But come on ladies. Do you really believe that these women look the way they look because they wore a miracle band around their belly?

No.

They likely exercised and ate well and worked at getting back in shape. And for those who swear they didn’t, keep in mind that some women are just predisposed to bouncing back more easily than others. They’re the same women who seem to eat all the junk food under the sun and never gain a pound.

That said, I don’t believe that all bands are totally useless. In fact, there’s one type of band that I think does serve an important purpose, if, and only if, it’s worn by a mom who is also doing specific abdominal exercises to heal a diastasis recti (abdominal separation).

I didn’t have the chance to elaborate on air, but I will explain here.

Generally speaking, bands – like those discussed on Good Morning America – aren’t going to get you back into shape. They can, however, serve some purpose. Be careful though, because these bands can also be counterproductive:

Potential Benefits Potential Negative Effects
Wearing a band can make you feel like your stomach is flatter, which can have a positive impact on your mood, and lead you to make healthier choices like working out. Wearing a band can give you a false sense of security and make you feel like your core is stronger than it is. When your stomach and lower back are weak, many injuries can occur.
When you wear a band it can make you feel like your stomach is pulled in, which may remind you to do important exercises that involve contracting the transverse abdominis muscle and pulling your belly in. (More on this below.) Wearing a band and feeling like your belly is flatter and stronger than it is can actually deter you from working out and thus prevent you from really benefiting your body.
Do you really plan to keep your band on forever? What happens when that band comes off?? Remember, you may feel slimmer when it’s on, but no band is shedding away the pounds for you.

I mentioned that there is one type of band that can serve an important purpose. If you suffer from diastasis recti (the separation of the rectus abdominis muscles), a band that pulls the separated muscles closer together can help to close the muscles and heal the connective tissue between them. However, this is ONLY true if you’re ALSO doing diastasis recti exercises.

The only band on the market that I know of that actually pulls the separated muscles closer together is the Diastasis Rehab Splint. I wore this splint after having my daughter and am wearing it again now, just about 6 months after having my son. I wear it because I’m also doing the exercises to help my diastasis heal, and the splint actually makes the exercises more effective. I want you to know that although I am a qualified “Tupler Technique” instructor, I opted to not become a licensee and therefore am not earning any commission if you purchase the splint. But if you have a diastasis and you’re doing the exercises to help it close, I recommend wearing this splint. If you’re not doing the diastasis recti exercises, though, don’t waste your time or money. Because just like all the others, it’s not going to do anything to help you lose your mummy tummy.


2 Responses to Belly Bands – Beneficial or BS?

  1. joan:

    There’s another “con” to wearing a band. You’re supporting your core, particularly the pelvic floor and lower back, with the band rather than using your muscles for support. Like any band or cast on the body, the underlying muscles will atrophy.

    If you’ve ever bruised or broken a rib and worn a rib band for support what happens when you take it off, after a few hours, is a feeling of wanting to collapse. The muscles have weakened to the point where they don’t want to support your spine.

    October 20, 2011 at 9:43 pm
    • sheryl:

      Excellent point Joan. Very true! Thanks!

      October 20, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*