Monday, May 6, 2013

Postpartum Hip Binding

I am just now, FINALLY getting around to doing that post I promised (oh like what, 7 months ago?!?) on postpartum hip binding. ( just fell off the radar.)

Here it is!!

I got myself one of those "HipSimmers."
Yep. I did.

Honestly, it wasn't because I cared about my hips. (I've always been curvey, with hips, so I don't have much riding on adding a couple more inches.) It was because I was on a roll researching all things pregnancy, and I just couldn't stop!

I just had to see what this was all about.

So I am not being paid to do this review. These are just my observances and opinions. (The company did discount my Hipslimmer a bit, but that was strictly because it got lost in the mail and took longer than expected to arrive. Which speaks well of their customer service.)

So what is this thing?

Well, when pregnant your body makes this hormone called Relaxin that relaxes your joints, and their connective tissues, to allow your hips the ability to grow and stretch to let your baby out.
(Which is a very good thing! You want this to happen!)
So after pregnancy your hips have been widened.
(And sometimes your feet are bigger too! But thats another story.)

Your body keeps making relaxin even postpartum. So this hip corset is taking advantage of that, by using your joints mailability in the early postpartum weeks to guide the joints back to their old position. And therefore hopefully get you back in your pre-pregnant pants.

So when looking into these types of things I decided that only this brand looked worth my while.

I only saw two brands selling this type of postpartum hip thing.
The other brand was not as tall (meaning it only covered a small strip of your hips) and it used velcro. The reviews I read said it would roll down and shift around.

This one looked like it would stay put, and stay tight. So that's how I made my call on getting the HipSlimmer.

When it arrived I was really surprised at how sturdy this thing is.
I had pondered trying to sew myself something of this nature (I'm a die hard DIYer) but there is no way I would have been able to make this thing.

The fabric is quality, and very unique. (Read I don't know where I'd buy anything like it.)

The front and sides have this thick, stiff-but-padded insert inside. (You can kind of see the shadow from it on the right side in this photo.

Then on the inside are these strips of grippy lines that hold it in place.
And you can see the part behind the lacing (on the right) and how it has a soft, almost fleecy fabric.

These things are really well made.

Using it:

Ok so to use this baby you need to lace it on really tight for 4 - 6 hours a day during the first 8 weeks after your delivery (which is when your relaxin is still at its peak.)

There website said some women choose to wear it longer, and find it easier to wear at night.

Ok so I'm about to be really honest with you.

I have no idea how you would wear this thing any time other than night time.

You can not sit in it.
You cannot bend in it.
And you can't really walk in it.

So unless you enjoy standing still for hours at a time (maybe you are cashiering already at four weeks postpartum?) I think you will be wearing this at night.

Ok here's another overly honest (too honest for my own dignity) part.

This thing does not make you look good.
The model on the website almost makes the thing look sexy.
But well, for one thing, I imagine she's 16 and never been pregnant. (Maybe I'm too cynical, you never know.) 
But for another, she's not wearing it fully cinched up.

When you cinch this thing it creates a muffin top like you've never seen!!

I'm about to prove I have no shame by showing you this lovely effect on me!
(***But please, I beg you...don't Pin these photos!! Save my last shred of dignity and pin the hip slimmer photo when its not on me!! I can only take so much humiliation! :) )

Ok so this is me, under normal 10-months-postpartum circumstances:

And now, what the Hipslimmer does to me:

Just imagine what it does to a just-had a-baby-belly!
Not pretty!
It does not feel sexy!

This is another reason I don't think you'd wear this during the day.
At least while anyone was around.

Putting on the HipSlimmer:

They say to buy the corset in accordance to your pre-pregnancy pants size.
On the size chart they have pant sizes listed as well the coinciding as hip measurements. (Your pre-pregnant measurements.)
I'm crazy enough to have my pre-pregnant-hip-measurement written down, so I knew for sure my pants size and hip measurements actually did coincide on their chart.
My hip measurement was actually right in the middle, and I tend to wear both the pants sizes listed for my size. So it was an easy call which size to wear.
They say when you are between sizes, go with the smaller one.
Unless you have gained 50 pounds or more in your pregnancy, then you likely will want to go up a size.

I'd trust them on all that.

When I first when to put mine on it looked like it just barely would fit me. With the laces pulled all the way out.
But you would be surprised how much you can cinch it up.

And a view from the front:

Me normal 10-months-postpartum circumstances:

Just pulled on:

You start by cinching up either the top or the bottom half first. I always go with the top.

And already the muffin top begins!

Follow with the other half.

Now its tight, but you can get it tighter.
You want to tie and retie this thing until you just cannot pull it any tighter.

And often times, at this point I would fall into my bed (not bending -- kinda mermaid style), and cinch it up even tighter once I was laying down.
I can get mine closed now when I really try.

If you are thinking, "That doesn't look comfortable."
You are right!

One review I read of this, before I bought it, equated it to a medieval toucher device. I don't think she was too far off the mark.
Its not painful. But its NOT comfortable.
And after hours of wear it does start to cut into your skin a bit. (Like the way a tight bra can after a whole day, but in a more intense manner.)
I tried to layer clothes under mind to help with this. I would never wear this over bare skin.
I always put on pants and then my belly band (the thing that supposed to help pre-pregnant pants stay up unbuttoned while pregnant) on before cinching myself up.

I always wanted to wear it more to help it work its best, but within the four to six hours of recommended wear my skin had had it. So I'd take it off and sleep the rest of the night without it.

Ok, so now, lets remember. You are wearing this while taking care of a baby. One who is likely waking up somewhere between every 2 to 4 hours to eat.

You will have to maneuver yourself while wearing this thing, in order to feed your baby.

I don't know if I could have handled that with my first.
Learning to breastfeed her was a lot of work. We had a hard time getting a latch. And I was just too nervous about her in general to have been bother by this contraption. 
This is not something you can just fling off, it takes a bit of time to remove. (No where near as long as it takes to put on though.)
I wouldn't have worn it.

I also had a c-section with my first. I don't imagine I could have stood the feeling of this thing on my incision. But I have read reviews of women who did wear it after their c-section. (After the initial healing phase. You should not wear it before your incision is closed well.) The hipslimmer website says  if you've had a c-section, to consult with your doctor before wearing.

But for me personally, I did not find it to be an issue wearing this after having my second. I had an easy time nursing this time around, and I didn't have a c-section incision this time, and my baby was pretty easy going. So the maneuvering to feed her at night wasn't too hard on me.

I actually got used to the feeling of it and kind of enjoyed the tightness in a weird way. If I tried to go to sleep without putting it on, I couldn't drift off because it became part of my sleep routine. But after the second nursing session of my night, I would take it off and sleep more soundly.

Ok, so.... did it work!?!

The short answer is yes.

Here is my long answer:

Over my pregnancy my hips grew by 3 inches.

I started wearing the hipslimmer at 5 weeks postpartum.
Within a week of wearing the hipslimmer it took my hips down a half inch.

By the end of the recommended 8 weeks my hips had gone down a full inch.

I wore it on and off longer than the 8 weeks, because relaxin says in your body while breastfeeding. 
At 3 months (12 weeks) postpartum I had a half inch left before being at my pre-pregnant hip measurement.
But I was fitting into my pre-pregnant pants already. (I don't have an exact date on when that happened-- I was enjoying breezy dresses more anyway. Pregnancy ruins me towards pants.)
I'm nearly certain this was a half inch of weight that would need to be shed still. I generally tend to gain weight in my hips and thighs, so I don't think that half inch could have been taken off by a hip corset.

That being said, that half inch was still there at 5 months postpartum when I returned to my pre-pregnant weight. 
But I'm a firm believer in patience when taking postpartum changes. It just takes a while for it all to work itself out.

By 9 months postpartum my hips were measuring the same as before I got pregnant.

I can't promise you that this all wouldn't have happened all on its own, without a hip slimmer.

I did not do this kind of measuring postpartum after my first. So I can't honestly tell you how this experience compared to that one.

I think each women has different experiences with this. Some women do return to their old size without any help. Some women do not. And I even read some reviews of women who said they saw no change after using the hipslimmer.

What I can tell you is (and I bet this will only serve to confuse you more) after my first pregnancy, I went on to lose 15 more pounds than I gained while pregnant (through good old fashioned hard work, eating well and exercise) and so after that my hips were smaller than they had been before I got pregnant.

This time I started at a healthy weight, so I didn't expect my hips to be smaller than when I started. So returning to the original size was perfect.

Overall I do think the hipslimmer helped me get back quicker than had I not used it.
And I do think that perhaps it served me more than I know, since I've heard some women say that with each pregnancy their hips expanded a bit more. So this being my second, maybe it saved me from a bit of that. 
But I can't really tell.

All I know is my hips did seem to initially respond to the hipslimmer and today I measure the same as I did before getting pregnant.

Is it worth it?

That's totally a personal call.

Honestly, I don't think I'd care if my hips stayed larger. I'm into the Marilyn Monroe shape, so a couple more inches of hips wouldn't kill me. It would however, mean trickier pants shopping though (as I already do have a tough time finding pants that fit my full hips and smaller waist.)

Its a lot of work strapping this corset on every night. And its cumbersome when caring for an infant.

Its not for everyone.

It might be for you if:
  • You really desperately want your hips to measure the same as before.
  • If you are into the "no pain, no gain", "beauty is pain" mentality.
  • If this is your last baby and you really wanna give this a try. (Because it only works right after giving birth. )

If you are kinda intrigued but not totally sold, and this is your first baby, and you think you'll have more...maybe you'd want to use it next time when you'll be more accustomed to all the new mother changes you'll be facing.

I will say, for me, the postpartum body changes were much more emotional the first time around. So I might have been more tempted to get it all worked out faster then. So maybe you would want to use this with your first.

I don't know.

I find it really hard to make the call on how worthwhile this is.

Since I own mine now, if we have more babies, I'll wear it again. But honestly it might just be to get my money's worth out of it. Since like I said, this was mostly just a kinda fun research project for me. Not really something that meant a whole lot to me.

So there you have it.

My not so scientific, not so official, not so settled review.


  1. thanks for taking the time to write about this. i'm pregnant with my 4th child in 5 years (pretty sure this is my last) and would love to just feel normal again. i think i'm going to give it a go. thanks again.

  2. How do contact Hipslimmer?

  3. For anyone looking to employ the hip binding technique for cheaper and in a manner that allows mobility try using a long sarong or a robozo.Fabric should cover from the top of the hip bones to just at the base of the buttocks (this allows the wearer to sit and use the bathroom without having to remove the binding.) Wrap fabric as tightly as possible. It does make a difference doing the binding. I work with pregnant and postpartum women and those who use this technique see a big difference to those who don't (myself included.) Best of luck to all and congratulations to all you moms.

  4. Just wanted to say that I appreciate this thorough and honest review! Baby #4 is about to arrive and my hips have definitely been expanding a little bit more after each baby, so I think I'll try this product to help with that. But it can be hard to find really honest reviews online, so I'm grateful for this one! Thanks!

  5. I was skeptical that results in the "studies" and testimonials were mostly from 1st pregnancies where hips and body seem to return more easily than with subsequent pregnancies- no binding needed- at least in friends I've seen and my own.

    Also, of course, anyone's hip measurements from the day after baby arrives until 8 weeks later will decrease from the initial loss of water weight the 1st week or 2. When you drop 15 lb in 3 weeks, who's to say if it's the bones or weight loss?!

    The details of your testimonial were very helpful. I especially found it interesting that you didn't start until week 5 after the initial weight loss phase has probably evened out...I like how you gave examples of measurements so I have some ballpark of what to look for (though I'm sure we can all be different)... and finally, now I know that I can keep using it after 8 weeks and still hopefully see results if I breastfeed. THANKS so much. :)

  6. Thanks for your review. I didn't even know such thing exists. I'm 6 months postpartum.I'm not sure if this thing is going to help but I'm going to give it a try.

  7. The Postpartum Hip Binding girdle you shared is very interesting and looks good quality, I like it very much.

    yoyo plus size c section recovery belt


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