Original Article

Prevalence of Planned Abdominal Binder Use after Vaginal Delivery

Authors: Anita Madison, MD, MPH, Leah Bryan, MD, Laura Faye Gephart, MD


Objectives: Pregnancy and vaginal delivery are risk factors for pelvic floor dysfunction. Abdominal binder use may increase intraabdominal pressure, affecting pelvic floor healing or function in recently traumatized postpartum pelvic floor muscle. This study assesses the prevalence of postpartum abdominal binder use, timing, and reasons for use.

Methods: In this cross-sectional observational survey study, women who underwent a vaginal delivery at our institution were enrolled. Participants were excluded if they did not speak Spanish or English. Participants were recruited on the postpartum unit. Data were deidentified and analyzed as appropriate for each variable.

Results: In total, 673 surveys were completed. Seven were excluded because they had cesarean deliveries. The average age was 26 years. Median gravidity and parity were 2 and 2. In total, 549 women (82%) planned to wear an abdominal binder postpartum. In all, 335 women provided a specific time when they would start use: 240 women (71%) would start at ≤2 days postpartum, 60 women (18%) would start at 3 to 7 days postpartum, and 35 women (11%) would start after 1 week postpartum. Common reasons reported for use included appearance, support, pain, swelling, weight loss, and recommendation.

Conclusions: Among women delivering at our institution, planned abdominal binder use postvaginal delivery is common. The reasons cited include health and desire to return to prior body shape. The effects of using an abdominal binder in the postpartum period are unknown. More research is needed to better elucidate how increased postpartum intraabdominal pressure affects healing in traumatized pelvic floor muscles.

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