What is it and why you will love it
Like many cultural practices with long and ancient histories, it is common for wisdom and knowledge to be lost, only to be remembered and reclaimed some time later. What we are talking about today is one of those ancient and wise customs.The traditional practice of wrapping the belly post-childbirth has long been implemented in Asia, Europe and Latin America.
In Japan, women use the term “Sarashi”; Hispanic women call their binding a “Faja” and Malaysian women call it a “Bengkung.” Whatever it is called, it is referring to the practice of wrapping the belly tightly with fabric, mostly to facilitate postpartum healing. However, it has numerous benefits to the pregnant woman as well.
A condition that may develop during the third trimester of pregnancy and then into the postpartum time is called Diastasis Recti, where the muscles in the abdomen separate.
According to the Mayo Clinic, you might be more likely to develop diastasis recti as a result of pregnancy if you:
- Are older than 35
- Have a multiple pregnancy
- Deliver a baby who has a high birth weight
- Have repeated pregnancies
During pregnancy, the growing uterus stretches the muscles in the abdomen, causing two large parallel bands of muscles that meet in the middle of the abdomen and separate. The Mayo Clinic goes on to add, “The Malaysian technique of Bengkung binding is helpful in bringing those bands of muscles back together in order for the connective tissue to strengthen and support the muscles more effectively.”
If you have never heard of diastasis recti, know you are not alone. It is extremely surprising that we are not more informed about this very real possibility and that any knowledge of this is a special and hidden secret! I had been a doula for years before ever knowing about this.
….As baby is growing and your internal organs are moving around, often things can feel heavy and can cause back pain. This is when belly binding can help relieve some of that pressure and support a good posture.
The Benefits of Belly Binding
Besides the benefits directly related to Diastasis Recti, here’s why you want to consider belly binding:
- Postpartum binding helps a mother regain muscle strength with firm but comfortable support while the body adjusts to a pre-pregnancy position.
- During pregnancy a woman produces something called “Relaxin” which allows her muscles and ligaments to move and become more maleable. In the postpartum period, taking advantage of the relaxin still left in the body helps to direct natural posture realignment post birth.
- Binding pulls in the separated abdominal muscles (diastasis recti) back together. While being worn it assists abdominal wall healing and it helps the uterus contract at a much faster rate as well as all the other vital organs.
- Provides comfort for “after (birth) pains”.
- It is an ancient, traditional and natural way of healing after birth.
An example of a Bengkung belly binding. Choose your favourite fabric and feel beautiful in your postpartum time. Not only does it feel good, but it allows mama an easier time for lifting and protects her body while she recovers and gets strong.
How to Belly Bind: DIY Styles
If you have a nice and big baby belly, you can start this any time. There is the most ancient way of wrapping, the Bengkung, but there can be a less complicated version whereby you find a sling, or a wrap, with a nice length. For the Bengkung binding you will need it to be no less than 5 feet in length.
A ring sling will work nicely to bind your belly during pregnancy and can have dramatic effects on any back pain you may be experiencing by decreasing weight off your lower back.
Belly Binding Services:
I provide in-home teaching sessions of the Bengkung belly wrap. My fee for this hour-long teaching session is $30 and I can show you some options for types of wraps which are available to you as a separate purchase. I can provide choices and bring your new purchase to your home for demonstration.
Contact Kathleen Baker at Birth Journey Doula Services
right here in little ol’ Kelowna if I can help or shed insight.
Happy Belly Binding my friends….
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More blog posts to come!