Bengkung Belly Binding is a traditional Malaysian belly binding method. Basically, it is a long strip of cloth that is wrapped around the abdominal area in the postpartum period, to ensure strong support to the womb after birth- from hips up to women’s ribcage.
What is Belly binding?
Belly binding is a popular postpartum practice, used by different cultures worldwide. Malaysian style wrapping technique consists of using a long, thin piece of non-stretch fabric and wrapping it around your hips and abdomen.
Bengkung belly binding is meant to support your healing body while your muscles retract, it supports your organs so they return to their pre-pregnancy size and positions, and promotes warming of the body after the cooling process of childbirth.
How does it work?
When you are pregnant your body produces a hormone called relaxin to help loosen your joints for baby’s descent through your pelvis. Sometimes things just don’t go back to where they were before. Practicing Postpartum Belly Binding while those relaxins are still in your system is one way to help shift things back into place and aid your body’s healing. There is no scientific research that Postpartum Belly Binding is effective, but it has been practiced in many cultures with positive results. Some say that the act of Belly Binding encourages moms to rest and give their body time to heal after the birth of their little one or perhaps it is that with elevated relaxing levels your body is more apt to healing in the shaping provided by the postpartum belly bind. The anecdotal evidence supports the use for most postpartum women.
How to use it?
It is recommended that women utilize this practice between 3 days and 6 weeks postpartum will provide the most benefit and continue to wear the bind, up to 12 hours a day. Postpartum belly binding is becoming a popular trend as a way to promote healing and return faster to your pre-pregnancy shape
What are the benefits of postpartum belly binding?
- Supports the contraction of the abdominal muscles so they could be pulled back together
- Additional support for the abdominal muscles
- Additional support for the woman's pelvic floor
- Reduces the feeling of emptiness in the abdomen after birth
- Pressure on the abdomen reduces water retention, fat and air in the tissue and cells
- Additional spine support
- Improves natural body position
- Helps clear lochia after birth
- Helps to prevent and relieve lower back ache, often caused by slouching while nursing your baby.
- In case of early or late pregnancy loss of the baby, belly binding can help not only for faster recovery of the body, but also for emotional healing of the soul.
Pros and cons
Size - you don’t have to worry about finding the right size. It’s completely adjustable using the same wrap for all stages of the postpartum healing period.
Comfort - There is no velcro scratching you, not boning digging into your ribs. If you bind your belly directly on your skin under your clothes, it’s very easy to use the bathroom without removing the bind.
It also keeps your stomach covered for a little extra modesty while breastfeeding. There’s no worry about lifting your shirt to get breast access for your little one when you have your beautiful belly bind on. It makes for a more comfortable experience overall.
These are also very easy to DIY
Completely customizable- Since you wrap it new each time, you can put extra pressure on places you want or lesson up those you don’t. Any size, any shape works here! The custom-ability of Bengkung belly binding is personally my favorite “pro” because you don’t have to worry about finding the right size, shape, or returning it when it doesn’t fit right or only fits well for a week.
It does take a little more time to put on compared to the quick velcro postpartum binds on the market (about 10 minutes at first), but even after just 3-4 times of binding in less than 5 minutes.
You really can’t machine wash this bind. I mean you can, but think about 16 - 18 yards of fabric after even a gentle wash cycle. Hand washing is the preferred method if your wrap starts to smell or gets excessively dirty. If warming herbs or essential oils are used, always put a barrier between skin and the wrap.
Is it possible to use Belly Binding during pregnancy and how?
As mentioned in the article, the hormone relaxin loosens joints and bone ligaments, leading to discomfort during pregnancy. This discomfort can be relieved with a different technique of belly binding, wrapped around the abdomen in a certain way to avoid excessive tightening, which can also lead to discomfort of different nature. The abdomen and pelvis areas can also be supported with a rebozo scarf.
How long should I wear the binding?
Traditionally, the Bengkung Belly Bind is done for the entire postpartum period, which is 40 days in the cultures that observe this practice. However, this is impractical for modern day living, and the results begin to diminish after a week or two. We’ve found the best belly binding length to be 6-12 hours for 1-2 weeks, but if you want you could do it the whole postpartum period of time.
How is this different from the postpartum belly bands carried by many retailers?
The standard belly bands tend to be a “one size fits most.” Just as tailored jeans tend to fit better than “one size fits most” the Malaysian style belly binding is
custom fit to you. Additionally, since the bind begins at your hips and goes to just beneath the breast. The custom fit cannot be found anywhere else, and this improves the results you will see.
If I am breastfeeding, will the belly binding be uncomfortable for my baby?
No, the baby should be fine to lay across the bind. The bind can also help ensure that you are using the proper posture while breastfeeding; bringing the baby
up to your breast instead of slouching your breast down to your baby.
Is it possible to belly bind after 40 days of postpartum have passed?
Of course you can do belly binding. The benefits of banding can be felt even after 40 days of the postpartum period.
What if I had a cesarean?
If you gave birth by cesarean, postpartum belly binding is still an option for you! However, it is important to give your scar time to heal (4-6 weeks) properly
before beginning the binding process.
Who should NOT practice belly binding?
Women who have been told they have a pelvic floor prolapse (uterine, bladder, rectum) should not practice postpartum belly binding. It is also discouraged if you have been diagnosed with a hernia or significant diastasis recti (larger than 4 finger separation). You are encouraged to talk to your health care provider
to determine if this is appropriate for you.
How to use the bathroom while belly bind is on?
Recommendations are belly binding to be done underneath clothes. Belly binding is done from the pubic bone to up to the rib cage, so underwear can be put on and tucked in or left over it. As it is convenient for you.
Is belly binding shifting or moving if I move along during the day?
Yes, when you move it is possible belly bind knots to shift and move. The idea of binding is that women could rest and give her body a chance to recover.
I've heard some say that belly binding prevents the pelvic floor from healing, causes prolapse, or weakens the abdominals. Is this true?
It's so hard to say with individual experiences. When done incorrectly (usually when a girdle or corset-type bind is used) belly binding can put downward pressure on the pelvic floor, making already existing weaknesses more prevalent. If a woman does not rest while wearing the binding, but instead is standing, walking, running errands, cleaning, etc. Then that also contributes to weakening the pelvic floor but it is more likely caused by her lack of rest than by the bind itself. Another factor is if they wear it too long without adding in appropriate exercises to strengthen their core and pelvic floor. All of my clients receive information about gentle appropriate exercises for the first 6 weeks postpartum to start healing your pelvic floor.
There's something to be said for prenatal preparation, too. If you don't take care of your pelvic floor before delivery, it will be weak. Belly binding may emphasize that weakness, but does not cause it. As long as you take care of your body and belly bind correctly, you have no need to be concerned.
Forceps or vacuum delivery, along with episiotomy and repair can contribute to weakening the pelvic floor. Some women aren't good candidates for belly binding if they feel excessive pressure or fullness in their vagina after giving birth, have a known uterine, bladder, or rectal prolapse, experience severe incontinence issues, or have had recent surgery.
More Questions? Please reach out and ask!