How do I choose a brace after pregnancy?
Hello everyone, Emily from POGO Physio here. I just wanted to have a quick chat with you this afternoon about how to choose a brace after pregnancy. I get asked a lot by people once they have had their bub if they should be wearing some kind of support garment around their abdomen. I wanted to give you a few ideas about why or why not you would wear a brace and different indications. A lot of the time people wear braces because of their abdominal separation. It is quite hard to find evidence behind this but a lot of the time what people report is that it is really nice to have that support around the abdomen after they have had their bub. You have two options when it comes to braces for that abdominal separation. One is a Velcro brace that wraps around and the other is suck me in shapewear type underwear. From my point of view they both have pros and cons. The good thing about the brace that you wrap around and Velcro up is as you get smaller, your uterus shrinks down, and you can do it tighter and tighter to provide that support. One of the down sides is if it is more a ridged brace it can be quite annoying to sit in as it digs into your legs, and when you are up and down feeding and moving around a lot it can be annoying that way. So if you are going to go with a wraparound brace if it is a nice soft one that can be a really, really good option. When it comes to the suck me in type undies, so sometimes people wear something like SPANX, or the little shorts that come up nice and high, or they may wear the band that wraps around and you pull it up like a skirt, that can be really good because it is easy to move in and it is not too hot. The only thing is you probably need a size for now and a size for a few weeks’ time after you have had your baby because as your uterus shrinks down you will get smaller and smaller and then the undies are too big. Another option is a SRC recovery shorts. Some health funds provide a rebate on these so it is quite good to check with your health fund about that because it provides medical rebate. They can be really comfortable to exercise in and things like that. It is a few layers of material so they can be quite warm so they are really nice to wear in winter but sometimes a bit hot in summer so really it depends on what kind of activity you are in too. Those are a few options for if you are wearing a brace for your abdominal separation. Something to keep in mind with braces is that you don’t want your muscles to become reliant on them so during those first 6 weeks when your uterus is shrinking down it can be nice to wear that brace a lot for the support that you need. From that 6 week mark onwards you want to start weening of the brace. You may wear it when you are just going to do some exercises, or you have a bit more on with your kids, or you have a bit more activity to do that day. From 3 months on you want to wear it less, and less, and less. We don’t want your abdominal muscles to become reliant on the brace so you don’t wear it and your back becomes sore or things like that. That is my views on a few different options for braces after pregnancy when it comes to abdominal separation. I will do another Facebook live about different things for back pain and things like that soon. If you have any questions leave a comment below. Thanks guys.
Emily Georgopolous (APAM)
Featured in the Top 50 Physical Therapy Blog