Bengkung belly binding is the art of wrapping a women's abdomen from hips to rib cage within the first 5 days after the birth of her baby (Women are traditionally wrapped as soon after birth as possible, ideally on day five and then worn for 40 days or longer as needed (This bind can be done 3 days after a vaginal delivery and 2 weeks after a C-section as long as it is comfortable for the postpartum woman.) The process helps to expedite the recovery process after childbirth. The Bengkung belly binding technique is rooted in Malaysian culture however various countries and cultures around the world use a form of belly binding to help support the healing process.
Helps the body heal faster by pulling the separated abdominal muscles back together, helping pelvic organs and all other internal organs return to its pre-pregnancy size as it speeds the process . Assist with preventing back pain, aides in release of postpartum water retention, reduces chance of further stretch marks, and decreases postpartum bleeding time by speeding up the process of expelling water waste blood in a natural way.
Assists the abdominal walls to retract which helps prevent diastasis recti (separation of the abdominal wall)
Helps shrinks cells by getting rid of excess water retention and fat storage
Encourages body to expel blood naturally by lessening lochia and its duration
Helps prevent pubis symphysis diastasis by supporting the pelvic area and pelvic floor
Helps realign posture to it’s pre-pregnancy state while encouraging good posture
Helps prevent back pain
Lessens after birth pains
Hormones are more easily balanced
Closes the pelvis and rib cage
Helps prevent the “empty” feeling after giving birth
Beneficial for a still-birth or miscarriage as it provides physical and emotional support
It provides a feeling of being safe and secure
It feels awesome as it soothes the body, mind and soul!
HOW LONG SHOULD I WEAR THE BINDING?
Traditionally, the Malaysian belly bind is done for the entire postpartum “confinement” period, which is 30-40 days in the cultures that observe this practice. This is unpractical for modern day living, and the results diminish after a week or two. We've found the best belly binding length to be 12-24 hours for 5 - 10 days.
WHAT MAKES BELLY BINDING DIFFERENT FROM WESTERN POSTPARTUM GIRDLES LIKE BELLY BANDIT?
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HOW EFFECTIVE IS BELLY BINDING COMPARED TO A POSTPARTUM GIRDLE, LIKE THE ONES YOU CAN BUY AT WAL-MART?
Imagine the difference between buying pants that claim to fit everyone, regardless of size or shape and getting custom-fitted by a professional. What would be more comfortable? The custom fit is, of course, going to give you the best results. Likewise the traditional belly bind is a custom fit every time. It’s made of soft materials instead of having boning or Velcro like most girdles, which can dig into your skin and be painful when you sit or lay down, especially if you’ve had a cesarean. The Malaysian belly bind is the best option for your time and money if you want the results mentioned above.
I'VE HEARD SOME WOMEN/EXPERTS 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 a book containing 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. People always look for something to blame and never want to accept responsibility for their own actions. 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.
HOW DO I GO TO THE BATHROOM WHILE WEARING THE BELLY BIND?
I recommend having the belly bind wrapped beneath all of your clothes for the best fit and most comfort and convenience. The most effective belly bind stretches from just below your bust to about mid-hip, near your pelvic bone. For modesty’s sake (and because of heavy postpartum flow) you’ll want to wear whatever underwear (mesh, etc.) while binding. It is still easy enough to pull your underwear out from under the bind the first time you use the bathroom and when you’re finished, simply pull them up over the bind or tuck them back underneath.
MY BELLY BIND BUNCHES, ROLLS, OR MOVES DURING THE DAY. HOW CAN I KEEP IT FROM DOING THAT?
The belly bind moves because you move! Realize, the cultures that do this also practice confinement, which is a period after birth where the woman remains in bed the majority of the time. If you are up and moving postpartum, the belly bind is going to shift, bunch, and roll. The only way to prevent this is to move less. Part of what belly binding does is encourage you to be down and resting.
AM I TOO LATE TO BELLY BIND IF I'M X-NUMBER OF MONTHS/YEARS POSTPARTUM?
The short answer is no. You can still receive benefits belly binding after 8 weeks postpartum.
CAN BELLY BIND BE USEFUL DURING PREGNANCY?
During pregnancy the hormone Relaxin works to loosen up all our joints in preparation for birth. This enables the baby to move more easily through the normally rigid pelvic area, as it allows bones and joints a greater range of movement. Unfortunately this can also result in greater discomfort during pregnancy when the pubic bone begins to separate. Sitting, laying down, and normal day-to-day movements sometimes become painful or even impossible. The bind can be tied short, giving support to your growing belly as well as your hips and pelvic/pubic bones. It is easier, however, to simply use a scarf, short baby wrap, or rebozo to wrap the hips, rather than have someone come bind you every day. (Please note: misuse of the belly bind during pregnancy without support from a professional can lead to restricted fetal growth and worsened pain, and is not advised).
CAN I STILL BELLY BIND IF I HAVE A C-SECTION?
You can still receive belly binding if you have a c-section. We will wait until 4 - 6 weeks postpartum, based on your healing and recovery. The belly bind still has many benefits within the first two months. Depending on your comfort level, I may utilize a Taiwanese form of belly binding that is gentler on the incision site.
CAN I STILL BELLY BIND IF I HAVE A MISCARRIAGE OR STILL-BIRTH?
You can still receive belly binding if either of these situations occurs, and in fact, the belly bind will speed your emotional as well as physical healing. Contact me for special bereavement pricing.
WHAT IF I WANT TO LEARN HOW TO BELLY BIND?
I teach mini classes to mamas and a friend and/or family member of their choice who can learn to do the bind. Usually a woman will want this if she intends to bind for longer than 5 or 10 days. If you desire to offer this as a birth service or would like to hold a larger class, please contact me for class information and pricing.