Pregnancy and recovery support garments vs shapewear
Did you know that pre-pregnancy your uterus was the size of your fist and was hidden waaayy down behind your pelvic bone? And look at it now! It’s your baby’s home!
Now that the end of your pregnancy is in sight – Hallelujah! – you’ve probably got friends dishing out nuggets of post-birth gold all over the place. So no doubt they’ve told you that you absolutely must invest in some support garments…or shapewear…or sucker in-ers….or, what else was it they said?!
Let’s back it up girl, unjumble the mumbo jumbo that is post birth recovery wear and help you figure out exactly what it is you need and why.
Wrapping your head around your post-birth body is probably easiest to do if you think of your stomach like a balloon. It took 9 months to blow it up and once baby is out, it doesn’t pop. Rather, it starts to deflate slowly. For some women that may be quicker than for others but generally it takes your uterus about 6 weeks to shrink back to pre-pregnancy size. It even takes time for your abdominal muscles and pelvic floor to recover, organs to shift back to their original shape and size and if you’re one of the lucky ones who had excess fluid – insert sarcasm here – it will even take time for that to pass through.
So no, we won’t all look like Miranda Kerr a week post birth. Hell, Miranda Kerr would have needed help to look like Miranda Kerr a week post-birth!
What’s the difference between medical grade recovery garments and shapewear?
A lot actually!
If you’ve got an event to attend and a hot dress to wear, you’ll want some help from shapewear to smooth out any small lumps or bumps you may have and to make you feel 100%. You’ll only wear them for a few hours (probably for the best, a girl needs to be breathe!) and it doesn’t rely on your abdominal muscles doing any of the work, it’s all in the shapewear.
Meanwhile, post birth recovery garments are designed to be worn 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for at least 12 weeks post birth. That’s a really, really long time to be wearing sucker in-ers and still be able to live a normal life! So, rather than putting on a pair of recovery shorts or leggings and feeling like everything is being squeezed back into place, you’ll put them on and feel…well, not much....and that’s what you want! You’ll feel some light compression but the support garment is actually forcing your own muscles to activate and do the work, hence strengthening and toning exactly where they should. You’ll notice a real difference if you accidentally go a day without wearing your support wear.
What’s the benefit to wearing medical grade support garments?
- Speeding up recovery time from both a vaginal birth and a C-section by promoting optimal blood flow
- The gentle compression in the stomach, hips, thighs, pelvic floor and legs helps to reduce swelling and move the fluid through quicker.
- This gentle compression also helps to activate, tone and support your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles aiding with recovery for abdominal separation
- Pregnancy support and recovery garments help to stabilize your pelvis and aid in alleviating pain from pregnancy conditions such as SPD.
- Supports lower back muscles to help with correct posture when breastfeeding
How do I know which size to get?
Each brand and style of recovery wear will require different measurements. Some rely on pre-pregnancy height and weight while others are based off your hip measurements. The first thing you’ll need to do is some research to figure out which measurements you need. We make a clear note on each item on the website so that there’s no confusion as to what measurements you’ll need. If the support garment is based off your hip measurements, the best time to do that is when you are 36 weeks pregnant as the width of your hips will be roughly the same as their width immediately post-birth. It’s also a great time to start packing the hospital bag, so having your recovery wear packed and ready to go will take one thing off your mind (read our hospital bag blog here). We’re all about making it as easy as possible for you, no doubt you’ve already got a lot on your mind! So if you still need some help getting the right fit, give us a call or visit us in store.
I’ll give measuring myself a go, how do I do it?
It’s really easy to do but if in doubt – or if it’s just really tricky to see over the baby bump! - get your partner or a friend to help you. You want to be wearing as few layers as possible when doing this so measuring in your underwear would be best. Stand with your heels together and place the measuring tape on the widest part of your hips. Start by wrapping the tape around you whilst being mindful of maintaining contact with your body the entire way, but not pulling it tight. If you find that you have to dip the tape to go under your bump, you’ve got the measuring tape too high. It should be a straight line all the way around your hips, bum and pubic bone. Once you’ve done that, each support garment will have a sizing chart online that you can compare your measurements against.
Hey, I'm pregnant and need support too!
Support wear isn’t just for post-birth! We stock a pregnancy range too!
It’s so handy when things have multiple purposes – like a top that you can wear pregnant and easily breastfeed in! But recovery garments are just that, only for recovery. The compression and make of these abdominal bands, shorts and leggings is absolutely not safe to wear with the growing bump. But don’t worry Mama, if you’re experiencing any sort of pain or discomfort throughout your pregnancy, you don’t have to suffer through it. We stock a bunch of pregnancy support garments to make life a hell of a lot easier for you. There are a number of different options so it’s important to figure out what your needs are and which problems you need resolved.
If your issue is varicose veins or a build-up of fluid, you’d be best to look at pregnancy support leggings such as the SRC Over the bump tights or the Solidea Pregnancy Support Tights – basically, anything full length that will move as much fluid as possible. If you need something to take the weight of your baby bump off, try the Upsie Belly and if you’ve got some serious pelvic pain, you can’t go past the SRC Pregnancy Mini Shorts
How do I know what style to get?
Do you go for a band? Some shorts? Leggings? Over or under the bump? Let’s break it right down to figure out what would be best for your needs.
Benefits of a band: You can get belly bands that sit over or under your bump when pregnant. Both styles help to take the weight of your belly off your pelvis which will make the waddling look a little more like walking! It will also help to take some of the pressure off your lower back. Post birth you can also wear a medical grade abdominal band. These are great to help with abdominal separation and you won’t find yourself taking them on and off during the day.
Benefits of briefs: Wear over your own underwear or wear as underwear, briefs not only support your abdominal and back muscles but they also support your pelvic floor.
Benefits of shorts: If you’ve got to wear these bad boys all day, every day for the foreseeable future you might want something that you can layer over. Shorts and mini shorts are great for under dresses or even under pants. You can find a style that’s over or under the bump for pregnancy and they’re a great warm weather option post birth too. Not only do they support your stomach and help with abdominal separation but they help support your pelvic floor muscles and aid in relieving varicose veins that are higher up on the legs.
Benefits of leggings: In addition to all of the great features of shorts, leggings help with varicose veins all along the legs and the sweet part is that they are pants so there’s no need to think about what you can wear that fits…you’re already wearing it!
And, if you’re still not totally sure on what to do, we stock support garments for during and post pregnancy to suit different budgets and needs. Check out all of the options below to help you decide which support garment is the one that’s calling your name.
Pick a style you like and click an image to read more: