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Splinting in Pregnancy
Outside of the United States, most cultures choose to splint, or “bind,” the belly after delivery. We believe it helps to reconnect and protect the stretched-out abdominal muscles. And because new mothers are generally more focused on caring for their newborns than tending to their tummies, a splint works wonders without much extra effort.
Splinting immediately after delivery as well as the first few weeks postpartum can help with healing, reconnecting to your core, back pain, and even postpartum depression. For best results, we recommend using a splint in conjunction with our Core Foundations Rehab Program.
We don’t usually splint during the first trimester. It is the most beneficial during the second or third trimester when there are more demands on your body. Here are our general guidelines:
- We do recommend splinting when clients are suffering from pregnancy-related pain, such as abdominal pain, lower back pain, pubic bone pain, hip pain, SI joint instability, sciatica and more. The splint will provide the necessary support that your core craves to eliminate that pain.
- We recommend intermittent abdominal splinting late in the pregnancy as the baby gets heavy and your muscles need a break. The splint will provide the support you need to give you much-needed relief.
Keep in mind that splinting should always make you feel better, not worse. Never power through pain or ignore what your body is telling you. If you are ever feeling overheated, crampy, nauseous, or anything else, then take a break from the splint.
An abdominal rehab splint wraps around to support your corset and your transverse abdominis. It can help reverse your diastasis recti during pregnancy by bringing the two sides of the separated abdominal wall together, placing the connective tissue in a lax position to speed up healing.
We recommend splinting if you have significant diastasis recti (3 fingers and deep, or more). If you have a severe diastasis, your abdominal wall is not strong enough to support your growing uterus without complications like a hernia. The splint will help protect your tummy from further damage.
The splint can also help reinforce the corset muscle which can help alleviate back pain, hip pain, pregnancy-related abdominal pain, sciatica, SI joint instability, and much more.
Abdominal splinting is highly encouraged to support optimal fetal alignment. When your core is strong and working as intended to support a growing uterus, it places your baby in optimal alignment – head down and aligned vertically with the cervix and birth canal. However, if your core is functionally weak, then the splint can help pull the baby up and in, placing the baby in better alignment. This position puts the least amount of unbalanced stress on mom’s body during pregnancy, alleviating common pain symptoms. But optimal fetal alignment also sets the stage to place effective pressure on the cervix to stimulate and intensify contractions, therefore steadily progressing labor.
Wearing a splint even during contractions and the pushing phase of labor will help keep the baby in optimal alignment and helps you coordinate the necessary muscles to effectively push the baby out.
Yes. The splint will help pull the baby up and in which puts the womb in a tight position. However, this won’t give a baby in a poor alignment room to flip and turn later in pregnancy. So if you are late in your 3rd trimester and know your baby is not in optimal alignment, take a break from the splint and give the baby time to move. Once the baby is flipped and head down, then splinting can help keep the baby in the right alignment leading up to labor.
A splint is a great addition or alternative to an SI belt (a belt that helps stabilize a hypermobile pelvic bone). However, SI belts are not very comfortable during sitting or some movements. The abdominal rehab splint will support the pelvis in a very similar way, but is much more comfortable and flexible during movement.
Maternity support belts are not recommended because they don’t support the abdominal muscles well and require you to rest into the belt to get any support. Instead, an abdominal rehab splint will reinforce what your muscles are meant to do and will promote optimal alignment.