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Belly Wraps: Post-Pregnancy Hit or Hype?

Some swear belly wraps help them get their pre-pregnancy bodies back, but others don’t buy it.

Belly Wraps: Wishful Thinking?

Some doctors, including Saul Weinreb, MD, an obstetrician/gynecologist in Baltimore, are less enthused about belly wraps.

“Belly bands don’t help you get your body back any better than any other body-shaping clothing that people try to use to get themselves into shape,” he tells WebMD. “Of course, when used, they may help you fit better into some clothing, but there is no evidence that your body shape can truly improve because of a belly band.”

Wrap or no wrap, the best way to lose your baby weight and keep it off is to eat a healthy diet that is low in saturated fat and high in fiber and get regular exercise.

“You need a comprehensive program that is 50% food and 50% exercise, particularly post-pregnancy,” says Stuart Fischer, MD, author of The Park Avenue Diet . “You can’t lose weight and maintain that loss without doing both."

“Belly wraps have no place in getting back into shape after pregnancy,” says Sheryl Wilson, a mom and president of Fitnotic, a New York fitness company.

Wilson says she understands why new moms might want to try belly wraps. "It’s appealing to think ‘if I strap this on, it will help.’”

But that’s just wishful thinking, she says.

“These wraps are no substitute for exercising and healthy eating generally in life or after pregnancy,” she says. They may actually do new moms a disservice. “We have to consciously work to strengthen and engage our core muscles, and we use less of our abdominal muscles when wearing wraps."

Seattle mom Ashley Allman loved her belly wrap after having her son.

“I wasn’t using it for my figure; it was more to support my lower back,” says Allman. She says she gained 45 pounds during her pregnancy, but was back into her pre-pregnancy jeans by the time he was 8 weeks old. She credits a belly wrap because she wasn’t consciously dieting or exercising .

"They really helped me," she says. "From now on, I plan to give belly wraps to all of my pregnant girlfriends."

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Reviewed on June 25, 2012

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