Waist Training After a Baby – Should You Do It?

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Waist training is becoming increasingly more popular these days. Many celebrities tout waist trainers as their golden key to getting their stomach back into shape after their baby was born.

I’ll admit, I’ve never worn one directly after having a baby and never really considered them until my sister came to me just before her baby was due asking what I thought about them.

Initially I looked into them and thought, “Oh wow! I should definitely try one of those!”Postpartum Waist Training

After each of my pregnancies, I religiously wear girdles and splints because the benefits they give you is, to say the least, incredible.

They do an excellent job giving you much needed extra support after your baby is born. They bring your organs back to their proper place. Used in conjunction with proper exercise and diet, they really can help heal diastasis recti.

The difference with waist trainers is that they pull everything in much tighter.

As I looked into the benefits of using a waist trainer I found claims that they do all of the following and more:

  • Help you lose water
  • Break down fat cells
  • Heal Diastasis Recti
  • Increase weight loss
  • Correct your posture
  • Shrink your ribcage
  • Tone your stomach muscles

I saw dozens of celebrities who advocated them from the Kardashian sisters to Snooki to Jessica Alba and more.

I’m not one to jump on celebrity bandwagons, but having experienced firsthand the benefits of splints and girdles, I was sold.

Though I was pretty happy with my waist and hips due to the measures I’d taken to get into shape after my last son was born, one thing I’ve been unable to do after having three kids, was get my ribcage back down to the size it was before they were born.

I hoped the girdles and splints would help with this and, while they did a little, my ribs were still noticeably wider. My hope was that the waist trainer could help with this.

What Does it Feel Like to Wear a Waist Trainer

My sister had a waist trainer ready to use once her baby was born and let me borrow it to give it a try.

Excited, I took it home and put it on that night.

Oh my goodness, it was tight! 

I’d expected it to be uncomfortable to start with thinking I’d grow used to it, so I kept the waist trainer on.

I proceeded to make and eat dinner with my family and noticed I couldn’t even eat half of my plate without feeling extreme discomfort due to the pressure being put on my stomach.

I waved it off thinking I’d just eat more smaller meals throughout the day.

That night I planned on wearing the waist trainer all through the night because that seemed like it’d be best time to wear it and get results with my ribs.

After rolling around for an hour, extremely uncomfortable, I gave up knowing I wasn’t going to get any sleep if I didn’t take it off.


Should You Use a Waist Trainer
The following morning, I reluctantly put the waist trainer back on and wore it throughout the day.

I had to stick to much smaller meals throughout the day because the food simply didn’t fit in my stomach. In this sense, I guess the waist trainer would definitely help me lose weight.

Anybody who eats less than they regularly do will lose weight.

By the end of the day, I felt extremely uncomfortable. My insides felt ready to burst and I realized I hadn’t had a bowel movement since I put the waist trainer on.

It was constricting my intestines so much that nothing was able to move through them. Again, I took it off for the remainder of the night and felt much better in the morning.

I wondered about wearing the waist trainer during my workout that morning, because I always wear splints or girdles when I work out after a baby for extra support.

Neither of them has ever made it more difficult for me to breathe during my workout.

I ultimately decided against using the waist trainer because it severely constricted my lungs and I knew that couldn’t be good for any workout.

Over the next couple days, I wore the waist trainer less and less. It did start to get slightly less uncomfortable but not by much.

The final straw for me was when I put it on one morning and my ribs instantly began to ache. It felt like I had bruises on my ribs that someone was digging their finger into.  The longer I wore it in this condition, the more it hurt.

At this point, I did what I should have done before ever wearing the waist trainer. I looked into the dangers and complications that might arise from wearing one.

I quickly found everything I’d been experiencing and more.

While a girdle will gently bring your organs back to their proper place, a waist trainer will compress them and push them together. It gives the appearance of causing fat loss because it pushes the fat in your waist to other areas in your body.

Have you noticed that waist trainer extremists have very large hips? The fat that would normally be distributed throughout their stomach is shoved down into their legs and hips and it can actually cause quite a bit of damage to your organs.

You do want some fat around your organs because it helps to protect them. There’s a reason the recommended body fat percentage isn’t 0%.

For women, you’ll actually be much healthier if you have a body fat percentage between 20-30%. This number is different for extreme athletes, but for most of us, it’s a very good goal.

The dangers with fat buildup occur when your body fat percentage rises above this number.

Can Waist Trainers Cause Rib Fractures?

During my research, I found many claims that waist trainers cause rib fractures. I was unable to find a single case in which this actually happened and, after my experience, I think that while they cause bruising, it’s very unlikely they’ll lead to fractures.

What Should You Use Instead of Waist Trainers?

The bottom line is, waist trainers cause much more harm than they do good. Let’s look back at the list of benefits from above:

  • Help you lose waterHeal Diastasis Recti
  • Break down fat cells
  • Correct your Posture
  • Heal Diastasis Recti
  • Increase weight loss
  • Shrink your ribcage
  • Tone your stomach muscles

In reality, I think the only things they really do is correct your posture and increase weight loss. It’s impossible to eat much while you’re wearing one so, yes, you’ll probably lose weight.

They won’t heal diastasis recti, they definitely don’t break down fat cells, and they don’t tone your stomach muscles.

They displace the fat in your abdomen to other areas of your body and any “results” you get with them  in regards to Diastasis Recti and “fat loss” will only be temporary.

A much better alternative is to just use a girdle or a splint. The difference is that they compress your stomach enough to give you the extra support you need to get your body back into shape.

They gently ease your organs back into their proper place without constricting them the way a waist trainer does.

It’s actually quite painful to go without a girdle or splint after a baby because your insides feel like they’re just hanging out and your muscles aren’t strong enough to support them. You’ve gone through nine months of pregnancy and your body is going to need some time to rebuild and move everything back to where it goes.

I’ve found that I get much better, quicker results when I have extra support. Especially while I exercise.

The benefits of girdles/splints are:

  • Help heal Diastasis Recti if used in conjunction with proper exercise
  • Help Correct Posture
  • Give much needed extra support after a baby
  • Help bring your stomach back in
  • Aid in bringing your organs back to their proper place

Keep in mind that these, too, aren’t magic. Without exercise and the proper nutrition to go with wearing them, any results you get will likely be temporary.

They aren’t supposed to help you get your pre pregnancy body on their own; they’re an additional tool to help you along the way.

If you’re interested, I have a list here of my favorite girdles to use after a baby.

To wrap this up, I gave the waist trainer back to my sister and told her exactly what I’d found.

She was very skeptical and was determined to use it, so she did anyway.

I watched and noticed that each time I came to see her, she was wearing it less and less. Eventually she too stopped wearing it completely for the same reasons I had.

What do you think of waist trainers? Have you tried one or are you considering it? Do you have any questions for me? Let me know by leaving a comment below; I do answer all of them!

-Jessica

Jessica Camden

Welcome to Your Post Baby Body! I'm Jessica and have been blessed with 3 beautiful little boys, Conner, Jackson, and Jayden. I've learned throughout each of my pregnancies that building your post baby body can be quite difficult. I've learned what works and what doesn't, where to start, and how to build up. My dream is help other moms get the post baby body they want through diet, exercise, and natural remedies!
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6 comments

  1. Garen says:

    My best friends wife had a baby six months ago, and she still hasn’t gotten any “baby fat” off. I’ve always been in fitness, for about 15 years now. One thing I can say works great is limiting your carbs, too. Carbs equal body fat. But, don’t cut them out too quickly. Otherwise, you will feel horrible.

    I never thought of to tell her to wear a girdle. I’m going to suggest that she gets one, though. I bet they are uncomfortable, though. Any other tips for dealing with the discomfort?

    • Jessica Camden says:

      I wouldn’t ever recommend taking carbs out completely because it’s hard to find foods that’ll give you energy otherwise but it is a good idea to limit how much you have of them.

      Waist trainers are very uncomfortable. If you get the right kind of girdle though they shouldn’t uncomfortable at all. I actually found that I felt the very best when I wore a girdle to gently hold my stomach in then when I didn’t. If you’re looking for a good comfortable one, these are some great options.

      -Jessica

  2. Daniella says:

    Hi Jessica,

    What a great article, I really enjoyed the reading!
    I have two beautiful children and to tell you the truth, I’ve never thought of wearing a waist training after each birth. I would have worn one if the idea would have come to my mind. I would definitely wear the waist training after birth because it takes times until we get back to normal size:) However, I will surely share your article with some friends of mine that are pregnant at that moment:) I am sure they will love the idea!
    Thank you for this excellent post

    • Jessica Camden says:

      I actually wouldn’t recommend waist training because I feel it does more harm than good. It’s not good for your body to squeeze your abdomen so tightly you can’t even breathe and it certainly doesn’t help your postpartum stomach heal. I’d recommend instead that you try one of these girdles.

      Instead of forcing your stomach back into place and causing a lot of unnecessary pain, they gently hold your stomach in place so that, with a good exercise routine, your body can heal the way it needs to and have the additional support it may need to do that.

      -Jessica

  3. Summerly says:

    Great post. I know there seems to be many products that claim to get you your body back after having a baby, it is hard to know which will actually work and which ones to stay away from. I am glad to know now that I will not be looking into getting a waist trainer, they sound like they do more harm than anything. I think I will look into girdles or splints like you mentioned. Thanks for the information.

    • Jessica Camden says:

      When it comes to post baby products, there sure isn’t a shortage of them! Some of them are really just hype and don’t work the way they claim to. Others, like these can actually do more harm than good. Instead of trying to force your body back into shape, you can use a girdle to help keep everything in place while you exercise and go throughout your day. That’ll help more than anything else!

      -Jessica