Understanding Postpartum Hip Changes and Hip Binding


As pregnancy progresses, we watch our belly expand, but what about our hips? Some women experience noticeable changes to the width of their hips during pregnancy, and others are not aware of any widening until they try to put on their jeans after having their baby. While some mums don’t have a problem with their wider hips, others look for ways of safely getting their pre-pregnancy hips back. 

In this article, we discuss the quite amazing reasons as to why your hips and pelvic area expand in pregnancy, and a safe and effective way of helping you to narrow your hips, postpartum.

pregnant

Photo by Migs Reyes from Pexels

What Causes Postpartum Hip Change? 

A woman's body,  particularly the pelvis and hips,1 are uniquely designed to accommodate a growing foetus and  deliver the child in childbirth. 

The pelvis2 is situated just below your belly and above your thighs. It is made up of the: 

  • Bony pelvis, which includes the hip bones 
  • Pelvic cavity
  • Pelvic floor
  • Perineum, which is the area between the opening of the vagina and anus

The pelvis is surrounded by bones which are attached by ligaments (tough and flexible tissue) and four joints. All these together help the pelvis move and function. 

The pelvis changes in many ways throughout pregnancy, including the way the ligaments and joints work, its shape, and position. All these changes happen to accommodate your growing baby and the birth process.    

To prepare the pelvis for delivery, the hormone relaxin3 is released during pregnancy. This helps  to help relax the pelvic joints and ligaments as well as soften and widen the cervix so that your baby can pass through the birth canal. 

The pelvic areas most affected by relaxin are the Pubic Symphysis4  (the outer area of the pubis) and Sacroiliac Joint5 (where the spine and pelvis connect). Due to the natural stretching and widening that occurs, some women do experience wider hips after pregnancy.

Can You Reduce Postpartum Hip Change? 

To help reduce postpartum hip changes, some women turn to postpartum binding. Many Asian cultures, including Singapore, have been binding their bodies after pregnancy for centuries. 

Postpartum binding

Research6 shows that postpartum binding might support the recovery of a new mum. It could help ease pain and support wound recovery,7 among other benefits. In Singapore, bengkung8 is a popular traditional postpartum binding method. It involves wrapping a cotton cloth around the new mum’s body, from under the breasts down to the pelvis. Bengkung is thought to help shrink the uterus, reduce water retention, and support posture.  

When it comes to widened hips, according to research,9 binding the hips immediately after birth could help stabilize loosened pelvic joints, and help hips gradually return to their pre-pregnancy position. Binding the hips can in fact be done after each pregnancy, as often, hips will expand with each delivery. Some women may not experience wider hips after their first delivery, but may see increased widening with each subsequent pregnancy.  

The science behind how hip binding works to narrow the hips, is linked with the hormone relaxin. Previously, we described how relaxin loosens the joint and ligaments in the pelvis in preparation for birth (which may also cause your hips to widen). Even after you give birth, relaxin remains in your body for approximately eight weeks, which means your pelvic joints remain loose. During this time, a wrap, if used correctly, will work with the relaxin to gently compress your hips to their pre-pregnancy state.   

The issue with traditional wraps however is that they can cause you to sweat and feel uncomfortable, especially in Singapore’s hot weather. Also, if the wrap is too tight, it might cause too much pressure on your C-section scar (if you had one), pelvic floor, or diaphragm, which could cause a lot of discomfort.   

Shrinkx Hips by UpSpring helps you to avoid these potential issues, yet still gives you the hip-narrowing benefits of traditional binding.

Shrinkx Hips is Clinically Proven to Narrow Hips 

shrinkx hips

Launched in 2009, Shrinkx Hips was the first postpartum compression wrap designed exclusively for the hips, and is the only postpartum band—or wrap—clinically proven to narrow hips. 

In the Shrinkx Hips Clinical Study, 95% of mums who used it returned to their pre-pregnancy hip size, or smaller, after wearing Shrinkx Hips. 

How does Shrinkx Hips work? 

Patented Shrinkx Hips applies pressure directly to the hips, helping to guide them back to their pre-pregnancy position. It also holds your hips in place while your pelvic joints are stabilizing. Shrinkx Hips is designed to be used within an eight-week window after delivery, while relaxin is still present in your body, keeping your hips malleable.  

The triple-point compression in Shrinkx Hips helps to maximise the results, while being gentle on your body. It is made of soft nylon and spandex, which keeps you comfortable even in Singapore’s warm weather. 

Can you wear Shrinkx Hips if you had a C-section? 

Yes, but not right away. Wait until all your staples or stitches have been removed. Many of our Shrinkx mums say wearing Shrinkx Hips after their C-section actually made them feel better because it provided extra support.  

Meet the Mum behind Shrinkx Hips 

As a lifelong athlete and professional body builder, Janiene Allen quickly went back to her pre-pregnancy weight after having her first baby. But although she lost all of the baby weight, she noticed her hips were wider and her clothes never quite fit the same.

Because of her body building experience Janiene knew about the hormone relaxin and how it caused the body to become malleable during pregnancy. She also knew relaxin caused some women to experience changes to the size of their feet, ribs, and hips after childbirth. While pregnant with her second baby,  Janiene decided to take a more active role in her postpartum recovery. As a result, she invented, tested and patented Shrinkx Hips. 

Shrinkx Hips comes in two sizes and two colours (black and beige) and retails at SGD67.90.

To learn more about Shrinkx Hips, click here.  

References

  1. Anatomy of pregnancy and birth – pelvis. Pregnancy Birth & Baby. Last reviewed October 2020. Retrieved on June 6, 2021 from Anatomy of pregnancy and birth - pelvis | Pregnancy Birth and Baby (pregnancybirthbaby.org.au)
  2. Anatomy of pregnancy and birth – pelvis. Pregnancy Birth & Baby. Last reviewed October 2020. Retrieved on June 6, 2021 from Anatomy of pregnancy and birth - pelvis | Pregnancy Birth and Baby (pregnancybirthbaby.org.au)
  3. Relaxin in Human Pregnancy. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Published in April 2009. Retrieved on June 6, 2021 from Relaxin in Human Pregnancy - Goldsmith - 2009 - Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences - Wiley Online Library
  4. Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction. Physiopedia. Retrieved on June 6, 2021 from Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction - Physiopedia (physio-pedia.com)
  5. Sacroiliac Joint. Physiopedia. Retrieved on June 6, 2021 from Sacroiliac Joint - Physiopedia (physio-pedia.com)
  6. Traditional Postpartum Practices and Rituals: A Qualitative Systematic Review. Women’s Health. Published in July 2007. Retrieved on June 6, 2021 from (PDF) Traditional Postpartum Practices and Rituals: A Qualitative Systematic Review (researchgate.net)
  7. The Effects of Abdominal Binder on Wound Healing and Consumed Pain Medications After Cesarean Section: A Randomized Control Trial. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal. Published in February 2017. Retrieved on June 6, 2021 from (PDF) The Effects of Abdominal Binder on Wound Healing and Consumed Pain Medications After Cesarean Section: A Randomized Control Trial (researchgate.net)
  8. Should I perform Postpartum Abdominal Binding? Embrace Physiotherapy. Published on 19 November, 2019. Retrieved on June 6, 2021 from Postpartum Abdominal Binding in Women — Embrace Physiotherapy
  9. Effect of Abdominal Exercises versus Abdominal Supporting Belt on Post-Partum Abdominal Efficiency and Rectus Separation. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology; International Journal of Medical and Health Sciences. 2013. Retrieved on June 6, 2021 from Effect of Abdominal Exercises versus Abdominal Supporting Belt on Post-Partum Abdominal Efficiency and Rectus Separation (waset.org)