You’re excited because you are going out for a night on the town. You pull out the perfect outfit and then realize that your postpartum body just doesn’t fit in it quite the same. That beautiful little black dress would look so perfect if you just reach for a Spanx or other shapewear to pull in, tuck in and push up areas of their body that feel less than perfect.
One of my clients asked me once, why can’t I just wear a shapewear after birth to help heal my core?
There are perfectly good reasons for wearing shapewear, but just not after birth and certainly not to heal a core.
Healing the core means healing the connective tissue between the abdominal muscles. When you put a tight piece of shapewear on and compress the area, you cut off the blood flow and hinder the healing. The muscles should also be pulled closer together so that they are working better, and that can only happen through the in and out movement pattern of breathing and relaxing that area and then engaging your deepest abdominals.
To heal your core, you need to strengthen your deepest layer of abdominals, the transverse abdominals. But if you don’t know what those are; how to find them; how to work them and integrate them into all you do, you are not doing yourself any good by just wearing something tight.
The rehab splints are specifically made to help bring the core muscles back together and hold them in place while you are doing a specific set of exercises. They also help remind you to do the exercises. The other two beneficial things that come along with wearing a splint are that it forces you to maintain good posture while sitting and standing so that your deepest layer of abdominals can be “active” at all times. It also gives you something to pull your tummy muscles in and away from – a tactile cue of what to do.
If you want to wear Spanx or other shapewear for a special occasion – go for it! But if you want to heal your core, you need to learn and utilize a specialized program that teaches you how to heal from the inside out. Go and enjoy your evening!