Splinting & Wrapping

Much has been written about binders, compression garments, wraps, corsets, girdles, belly bandits, and splints which are all quite different and all do different things to your tummy. On this page, I am going to give you some quotes from women who have benefited greatly from splinting, my top 4 faves, some personal thoughts, and links to further reading.

Much has been written about binders, compression garments, wraps, corsets, girdles, belly bandits, and splints which are all quite different and all do different things to your tummy. On this page, I am going to give you some quotes from women who have benefited greatly from splinting, my top 4 faves, some personal thoughts, and links to further reading.

Please note that no advice given anywhere on Fit2B should take the place of seeing your MD or ND, although please understand that many {not all} doctors do not know about diastasis or splinting your abs. Sadly, many prenatal and postnatal fitness pros are also still without this information, but I’m trying to get it out there! My semantics might be different than others, so please read all of this carefully, keeping in mind that most of my readers need anatomy information in plain English.

I believe wholeheartedly in wrapping the abdominals with a sectional, therapeutic-grade splint that is specifically designed to help re-approximate the two sides of your abs, holding them closer together and supporting natural alignment in the following scenarios:

I believe temporary splinting is justified when:

  • When a diastasis rectus abdominus (DRA) is wider than 2.5 fingerwidths and/or the linea alba fascia is thin enough to palpate internal organs. Check your tummy for that here. Proper splinting has been shown to improve core connection, facilitate fascial regeneration by keeping pressure off healing areas, and even minimize minor hernias.
  • Right after giving birth. I believe every newly-delivered mama should start with basic core exercises for diastasis recti such as these and splint within 3 days post-vaginal birth and 10 days post-surgical birth to promote quick and complete core recovery. Read our Pregnancy Q&A page for more info on that.
  • When someone is especially heavy around their middle. I’ve seen how splinting can also be incredibly helpful to those carrying extra mass around their belly beyond pregnancy, making it easier for them to align, engage and FEEL without having to support their girth with their hands all the time to help facilitate a belly breath, which is simply not functional for the member who wrote about having five kids, 2 with polyhydramnios, and 3 Cesarean sections, one of which resulted in a grapefruit-sized incisional hernia on one side, and even though she had it repaired years ago, the pic she posted in our forum years later showed her stomach still hanging lower on that side.  I recommended the TT 4-panel {see below} since it is made to support yet consider her shape while freeing her hands and connecting her core so she can be more active.
  • When someone is depressed and in a true “slump” both emotionally and physically. I have read case studies like this one where splinting helps to immediately stabilize emotions and refocus energy while offering instant hope the second a person feels that gentle hug around their middle. I’ve also witnessed it take place myself. The splint goes on – the person takes this big breath and their shoulders relax, and suddenly they smile. It’s miraculous! Girdles and corsets don’t do that 😉

Splinting is not forever. It is not a tool to “flatten your tummy” although that can happen if your splint helps you narrow a DRA that was keeping your tummy poochy. I do not recommend splinting alone without restorative exercises for diastasis recti since that can create dependence rather than strength. Many belly binders and compression garments like spanx can cause greater pain, more weakness in the core thanks to co-dependence issues, and even leaking. The ones I’ve reviewed below do not cause those issues because they aren’t designed for looks but for rehabilitation:

Please read what The Tummy Team has to say about abdominal wrapping and which splints might suit your situation HERE.

Please visit this page for info on pregnancy & splinting.

Here is a compelling article about the history of belly binding from a doula’s perspective.

The Four Splints I Recommend

My research has led me to the following 4 splints that have been engineered by qualified specialists who are literally working in the trenches of closing gaps, so to speak. Again, rehabilitative exercises for diastasis recti must be done in concert with splinting the abs. One single brand might not work for everyone due to body shape and life patterns, so if you believe you need to splint, read ALL this information, contact the companies with any questions, and choose the one that resonates with your needs.

Click HERE to see The Tummy Team Therapy-Grade Splints – The velcro is the best ever, and these are truly a member favorite that work with all body types.choice of straight, 2-panel, 3-panel, and 4-panel splints in various sizes. Member’s feedback on this is that it contains “spillage” and hides the “muffin top” better than the others. Click HERE to see your options and find the best fit! Call (360)952-CORE in the USA. Use code “Fit2B” to save 10% on your order! International orders accepted!

Click HERE to see the FitSplint – Designed by Celeste Goodson of ReCORE Fitness, who also happens to be a  contributor for our “Experts on Diastasis Recti” ecourse, this arm-style splint has both prenatal and postnatal options. Members report their favorite part is the silicone lining that helps it stay in place. The postnatal FitSplint works best with athletic builds, and is great for runners and those with narrower waists. Many Fit2B members have used the Maternity FitSplint during pregnancy, being sure to wrap it over their navel which is where abdominal fascia needs the most support. Save 15% on FitSplints when you enter this code at checkout: Moms2Bfit

“Just another fit2b win! We went on family trip to the mountains. I am 31 weeks pregnant and had no issues completing a total of 5 hikes, roughly 10 hours total, over 4 days. Many hours were spent on uneven ground, scaling large rocks, and doing steep inclines. I wore my fitsplint the whole time of course! My muscles are fatigued but feeling great! We even cut off at least 30 minutes from a hike we did at the same point in pregnancy when I was pregnant with our first two years ago! So excited to see how much more in shape I am this pregnancy and how my abs were able to keep up to all the work and still feel strong!” – Brittany L.

FitSplintcode

Click HERE to check out AbdoMend which is specifically geared toward C-section recovery but sadly only serves Bermuda, South Africa, Dubai, Ghana, Australia and New Zealand. I found this splint when my colleague Lorraine Scapens of Pregnancy Exercise in NZ told me about it. If you get the Abdomend, be sure it’s the wide one with the arms that covers the whole belly. In Canada, BelliesInc. called the

Click HERE to see The Ab Tank designed by physiotherapists to work like a supportive undershirt! This one also comes with a full program of diastasis recti exercises.

Worn correctly, a good abdominal splint or wrap will feel like a much needed hug… a hug that truly helps and calms and centers you. 

I’m sure there are other types of splints on the market, but these are the ones I trust to not be too compressive, not supportive enough, not wide enough, too difficult to wear, or totally frustrate you desire to deal with your belly at all. Talk about counterproductive! Knowing firsthand how frustration with a poorly fitting splint can sabotage the overall healing process, Fit2B only recommends splints that fit more people more consistently and ones that last for at least 6-8 weeks through the most crucial phase of ab rehab.

Note: You don’t need to have diastasis recti to benefit from splinting your core. It can also aid depression, digestion, hernia, and lower back pain even if a DR isn’t present, but please speak with your doctor or physical therapist about using them that way. Splinting isn’t right for everyone. If your DRA is well on its way to healing without one, and you don’t have the other issues I listed above, I wouldn’t recommend it. But if you feel like you’re falling apart at the seams, and your DRA is pretty wide and deep, and just doing a set of exercises – even under the care of a PT – isn’t working, please give it some consideration. I’ve seldom seen it NOT work when done appropriately.

True Stories

“After my last birth (#4) I splinted immediately as we left the birthing centre. I was able to gain core strength faster and felt less unstable in those first few days because of the added support. I wish i would have known earlier for previous births as it would have been easier to function in those first few days!” -Allison E.

“This was the first pregnancy I splinted with and I didn’t use it much in pregnancy because I didn’t notice my back hurting…felt like I had a strong core. Post partum I began using it and my belly shrunk so much faster! I noticed my afterbirth pains were vastly minimized when I was wearing it. We had a homebirth and on our daughters second day of life she had a fever…we ended up in a hospital two hours from home for three weeks treating a viral infection. I had a lot of blood loss in the delivery so my midwife said to take it slow…not possible in our situation. And yet this was the best recovery I’ve ever had…after four pregnancies. I’m not sure what helps the most…this was my first pregnancy after discovering fit2b and between good core strength, nutrition, and splinting, and Gods grace, I am so thankful for an awesome recovery… to not feel like things are falling out down there is so wonderful!” –Brandy A.

“Without the splint I felt like everything was wobbling all over the place. It actually felt like my guts were going to spill to the floor, and even though I know that would be impossible it made me feel really nauseated. The splint really helped to stabilise that and also helped with my lower back ache.” -Kristin W.

“I used a splint after my fourth c-section. I waited until day 10 and i feel was really helpful. splinting gave me great support and it helped with the terrible back ache I’ve suffered with after my precious babies. I felt it was extra helpful to keep me in check with my alignment. (It was not very comfortable if I decided to hunch over or tuck my tailbone, especially while nursing constantly. By 10 weeks my diastisis was at a 1, from a 3. I was not super diligent with working out, just kept to proper alignment, some belly breathes and a few pulses here and there. I really feel the splint helped postpartum recovery for me. I also found that I have feeling between my belly button and scar, it has been numb since my first c section, 6 years ago. The only difference has been splinting and tummy safe exercising.” -Kara E.

If you have any further questions about splinting, please contact the makers of the ones I recommended above. They are wonderful people, and I trust them completely to steer you in the right direction. I’ve even known them to say, “No, you don’t need one right now. What you need to focus on is your nutrition, or ….” whatever… which is why I trust them and why I recommend them.

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