It’s not just a fetish, it’s a lifestyle! I am a waist trainer. This means I use old fashioned methods to drastically manipulate a womanly figure. I did this before children and thoroughly intended to continue after children. Due to this it is often a surprise to most people that I am a mother at all; much more a mother to more than one natural child. I achieved this with patience, healthy diet, exercise, and my secret weapon of the historical gentle-women.
In waist training, or corset training, there are several things to consider especially dealing with the postpartum body.
- When is the earliest I can start wearing a corset?
- Is it dangerous?
- How does this change my body?
- Is it permanent?
- What are the side effects?
- What type of corset should I use?
- Is this right for me?
Without becoming long-winded and overly technical, I’ll try to address all of these as concisely as possible.
- The absolute earliest you should even consider waist training is 6-8 weeks postpartum. Why?
The postpartum body is not only continuing to change, it is also healing. The uterus, having been 500 times larger than normal at full term, is shrinking. At 4 weeks postpartum the uterus is almost back to its original size. Add in one to two more weeks to shrink that puts you at about 6 weeks postpartum and ready for your 6 week OBGYN appointment where you should discuss waist training with your doctor before starting.
The bladder and organs postpartum are also swollen from the process of birth and pregnancy. It may take them the full 6 weeks or longer to return to normal (as they move back into place). You would not want to irritate or disturb them (as waist training does to the organs) while they are still trying to regain normalcy.
Did you have a cesarean? That is a major surgery that cuts through the flesh, abdominal muscles and uterus. It is a traumatic thing for the postpartum-post-surgery body to go through and requires a respectful length of healing time. While compression garments may aid in the healing process, it is important to remember this is not the function of body-modification corset training and should be avoided until you are all healed. I did not lace up after my third c-section until almost 3 months postpartum. Healing is tough and I knew my body just wasn’t ready. Remember, there is no rush.
It is also important to remember that as you recover, resume normal activities, and breastfeed (if that is on the table) that your body will continue to shrink and lose weight naturally. Spending an upwards of $100 for a waist training corset would prove fruitless and expensive when your body will naturally out shrink the corset before you even have the chance to break it in. It is with this consideration, I PERSONALLY suggest not waist training until 3 to 6 months postpartum. In my opinion, it is not practical, but everyone also recovers differently. If you bounced back after a month then congratulations! Get doctor’s approval and go forth!
- Short answer: no.
Under normal circumstances, the pressure and strain your bones, organs, and other tissues goes through during pregnancy is far more stressful than corseting. However waist training can be done WRONG and cause discomfort or even injury such as fracture. When we stop listening to our bodies and become impatient we start to hurt ourselves. If you suffer from back injuries or conditions, besides asking your doctor first, you may need a specialized corset to waist train or a more customized regime.
- Just like if you were waist training a year postpartum or never had a child, what happens to your body is the compression and eventual reformation of the rib cage and muscular memory.
- Waist training can be permanent if you do it wisely. The body changes over time as we age–we gain weight, lose muscle, gain muscle, lose weight, go through medical changes, etc. If we don’t keep up with the waist training we started then the natural course of life will foil our hard earned figure. If I take a month or two off waist training, it is not uncomfortable, but it may be a bit tighter. This is due to the muscles adapting to not being confined and returning to their natural state. Waist training will not help with diastasis recti or the separation of the stomach muscles (indicated by being able to fit 2 or more fingers between the mid line abdominal muscles when flexed).
- Corseting postpartum, you may experience some upper rib pains at a certain point. This is from the swollen uterus resting under your ribs and causing it’s own bone/cartilage modification. It is important to take this pain in stride. Like any wist training, do not continue if the pain is overwhelming or inhibiting you. It will be uncomfortable, but slow reduction even with mild discomfort for short periods of time will help this pain go away.
Keep in mind waist training can also be used to aid in diet as it can suppress the appetite, causing weight loss. Yay? Not really. The postpartum body needs to eat for continued recovery, regaining strength, keeping up with your new life, and sustaining your baby if you’re breastfeeding. Never go on a diet while breastfeeding.
Additionally the act of corseting too soon as the added side effect of undue discomfort while caring for your new baby. Breastfeeding a baby while wearing an underbust can be uncomfortable to both of you and could make it difficult to feel close to your baby when he or she lays on your chest. I personally combated this by only waist training at night (which has its own cautionary checklist), but this is also due to my previous strict regime allowing me to do this comfortably so it did not interfere with my baby time during the day.
You can expect, otherwise, the same side effects as any waist training side effects.
- The most ideal in my opinion is the one you should use for waist training in general which is a spiral steel underbust with a nice plunging front to hold in lower abdomen. Avoid corsets that manipulate the position of the spine and strive to use a corset that is only 4 inches smaller than your natural waist (at the moment).
- Waist training is a personal decision and should be made being fully educated, with doctor’s approval, and setting realistic goals. Even if you have your doctors approval and are motivated to regain a tiny waist, you may decide you are not emotionally ready for it. Consider: with a new baby (and older children around?) what sort of chores are you keeping up with during the day? How will a corset inhibit this? How well will you be able to transport the baby, play with the baby, and care for the baby with a corset on? You may find it is more sensible that you wait until the baby is more mobile and you have a better swing of things. Or maybe not!
I can only speak personally on this matter, but for me, I first adorned a corset 3 months postpartum with my third child and 9 months after my second (having been constantly pregnant or with a baby for 4 years straight at that point). It was surprisingly painful and uncomfortable after my second–I did the wrong thing and went too far too fast. Thankfully it was only for a short amount of time. By the time I felt like I was ready to tightlace after my second child, she was 2 years old. During that time I worked out and dieted. I bought a thin underbust from Timeless Trends which was spiral steel and also nude colored. This allowed me to think of it as underwear and not just a corset.
At the time of purchase my waist was about 26-27 inches. The corset I bought was a 20 inch corset. This would be considered much too tight, but since I am an experienced waist trainer (tightlacer) I knew what I was getting into. I did not CLOSE this corset for 3 months once I started, with everyday wear. The first week or two was breaking it in. The next week was adapting a workout and house chores around my training. By the end of the first month I reduced my corseted waist down to a whole 2 inches. Oh my! By a perfectionist’s standards like mine, this was awful, but this is still a VERY important part of training–learning patience.
My second month included pushing my comfort for wear-longevity and reduction. The reduction was still small, only about half to one inch a week and I would loosen or tighten as needed throughout the day. While breaking it in the first month I strove for one hour a day, slowly increasing it to two at a stable reduction. I listened to my body. When it was ready to reduce more, it just would, and to my surprise and convenience, that was about half to one inch a week average. I trained my thinking as well to just putting it on like a habit–like you would your bra every day.
It was important to exercise before wearing it as well as keeping up with chores while wearing it to prevent muscle atrophy. This trains the muscles, as they are worked, to form the shape of the corset. It also aids in building your upper lung muscles which was a very hard aspect for myself while training postpartum (especially after a c-section). I felt very winded the first couple days because of my weakened chest muscles, shoulder muscles, and upper lungs. Keeping a slow and steady pace helped with this. However, this pain and discomfort persisted for some time for me (which may or may not be someone else’s experience. At that time I had basically spent almost 4 years out of a corset due to 2 back to back pregnancies). I would say it lasted about 2 months. Once the upper muscles were built, however, this no longer bothered me.
By 5 months of training every day I was comfortably closing my corset, wearing it all day, and it was with this I and everyone else saw a noticeable change. It was also thanks to all the work I did in the corset that I could simply flex my stomach muscles and replicate the more drastically corseted figure. By this point I was comfortably 3 inches smaller in my waist than I was when I started without the corset on. The wait was worth it.
Sounds like a pretty basic waist training regime, yes? Postpartum waist training should be treated like non-postpartum waist training, only with more precautions and a lot more patience. The body is coming from a much more “compromised” place than for someone without a history of pregnancy when it comes to corseting. Practice good sense and caution when training postpartum and have fun.