Bengkung Belly Binding

"Belly Binding after birth is a practice used around the world in older traditions, with good reason. It offers such stability and comfort, like being hugged at a time when there is so much empty space inside."

-Ysha Oakes Ayurvedic Practitioner and Postpartum Doula 

The History

 

The traditional practice of wrapping the belly post-childbirth is an ancient art that was implemented in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The wrapping techniques commonly involved very long strips of cloth wound firmly around a woman’s midsection after giving birth to her child. As a new mother’s abdomen contracted down, the cloth was shortened and tightened. Japanese women call their belly wrap a ‘sarashi,’ Hispanic women call their wrap a ‘faja,’ and Malaysian women call it a bengkung. The binding method that is gaining popularity in the US is referred to Bengkung Belly Binding, adopted from Malaysian cultural practices. To fully appreciate the process, one must learn the history. 

 

 

For centuries, Asian mothers have used their “Sarashi” to speed up weight loss and aid in the toning of the abdominal muscles and loose skin after childbirth. Hispanic mothers believe their “faja” helps bring all the muscles used in the birthing process back together again. As a general rule, women practiced abdominal wrapping to reduce swelling and to tighten overstretched muscles. The results of belly binding were very apparent and continued on for centuries, however, this Eastern practice has only been fully discovered and implemented in the western world in more recent years. While lacking scientific studies of the benefits of binding, the words of thousands of mothers support and encourage this ancient ritual, coming from generations of authentic wisdom.

Sarashi

In Japan, it was and is very important for women to have a period of time for “ansei”, or peace and quiet with pampering.  Historically, Japanese women would have spent 100 days inside with their babies. During these 100 days, the women would have been wrapped in blankets with their babies and would have been expected to do little beyond eating and nursing their children. While it’s no longer common for women to spend that long in bed with their newborns, many of the postpartum pampering practices are still done in many areas. Belly binding is one such practice. Of the cultures discussed, the traditional Japanese method of belly binding “sarashi” is most closely related to that of the Malaysian bengkung binding.  However, the sarashi postpartum wrapping method is used by folding the material rather than twisting the material like the bengkung binding. Thes arashi is shorter than the bengkung and is about 13 feet in length and between 8-9 inches in width.  It starts very low on the hips and traditionally would end between the belly button and the bust line.  As a new mothers abdomen contracted the cloth would be shortened and tightened. 

Bengkung

In the Malaysian tradition, new moms have their tummies bound for 44 days post-natal. For Malaysian moms, the womb is the center to a woman’s wellness and they believe it’s essential to take care of it at all stages of life, but especially after birth. The tradition originated generations ago at the palaces, with princesses using it to help them ‘bounce back’ and quickly spread across the land. It’s still actively practiced in the countryside and is currently enjoying a resurgence with urban dwellers alike.

Faja

The faja (Spanish for girdle) is believed to prevent air from entering the woman, to ensure the uterus from falling down and thought to help the uterus close and contract. There are many types and styles of material used to make a faja or belly wrap but the most common are cloth and mixed material i.e.; cotton and elastic.  The faja is typically worn for at least 2 weeks during the days.


In Latin American cultures, the position of the uterus is at the very core of traditional birth medicine.  It was common and still is found that abdominal massage after the birth and wrapping are used not just to heal the muscle wall, but to actually help place the “womb” back in its proper position.

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Regardless origin, all the binding methods had one thing in common. They were used to promote healing and the health of a mother’s body. 

Reported Benefits of Bengkung Belly Binding

 

As a new generation of women are discovering other cultures' ancient traditions for better birthing experiences, they are also discovering better ways to heal their bodies after birth. Binding the stomach offers support, stability and comfort to the muscles, skin and internal organs. Wearing the bind promotes healing and repair to the postpartum body. During pregnancy, the vertical abdominal muscles widen and thin to accommodate growing babies, which can result in diastasis recti. Diastasic recti is when the muscles separate, creating back issues, hernias and bulging of the abdomen. Binding is an excellent way to bring the muscle walls back together. In doing so, supports spine and posture realignment.

 

Binding is considered very emotionally healing for postpartum mothers. Pregnancy opens and fills up the body with life and binding is considered a ceremony of “sealing” the body in which pregnancy ends and the woman now transitions into motherhood. During pregnancy a woman’s body retains water, fat, and air which cause her body to swell and expand, including the organs in the womb area such as the cervix and vagina. The water retained by cells supports the amniotic fluid and the purpose of the air is to cushion the baby, the mother’s internal organs, and bones as her center of gravity shifts and her baby growos bigger and bigger. This is why a pregnant woman gets so swollen during the last months of pregnancy. When a baby is born, the excess water, fat, and air are no longer needed and the cells will naturally release and shrink back to their pre-pregnancy size. However, the purpose of a post-pregnancy wrap is to speed up this process with constant pressure on the abdomen and torso area.

 

 

Belly bindings are traditionally worn for 40 days and binding can start as soon as 3-4 days after a vaginal delivery and 6 weeks after a cesarean. Using at least 12 yards of fabric, the bind wraps from the mother’s hips to the rib cage. There’s no slipping, stretching, or uncomfortable pressure on the abdomen. The fluidity in the fabric allows it to form to the needs of your body for comfort and mobility.

 

So, what are the benefits of binding?

  • It helps to slim the ribcage, belly and hips.

  • Pulls in the separated abdominal muscles (diastasis recti) back together. 

  • It’s an ancient traditional natural way of healing after birth.

  • Helping the body regain its pre-pregnancy shape: Due to water + air retention, pelvic expansion, and larger organs (such as the uterus returning to its original size), belly binding supports the body in returning to its previous state.

  • Pelvic + Back support: supports good posture in walking, sitting, and even the dreaded “nursing slouch”.

  • Prevents excessive postpartum bleeding while keeping the uterus in a contracted position.

  • Gives support to the womb after birth

  • Speeds up the healing process of the uterus and provides a cleansing of blood clots

  • Helps to reduce common back and shoulder pain associated with nursing by improving posture

  • Helps to tone up your abdominal muscles and shape your hips after childbirth

  • Relieves muscular and tendon tension throughout the torso

  • Accelerates fat burning

  • Improves circulation

  • Excellent support after surgical births (wait 1-2 weeks to allow proper oxygen to the wound for healing)

  • Provides comfort for anxiety and PPD

Services We Offer

 

We are excited to share with you, this beautiful way to honor and support your body and belly, postpartum. Bengkung Belly Binding is an excellent way to focus on and nourish yourself during your precious "baby moon." There are a few options for you to choose from, to benefit from our binding. Regardless the package you select, we will teach you how to use the belly bind so you are able to confidently and safely wrap yourself daily. 

 

Wrapping the belly is an effective and important part of a new mother's recovery. The belly bind helps to supports the abdominal muscles, improves posture, and supports the torso while helping vital organs return to their pre-pregnancy size and position. In doing so, the bind also supports the back by providing you with stability and correct posture.

Our binds should be worn for at least 40 days and for around 8 to 10 hours per day for best results. After a vaginal delivery, we can begin binding as soon as the next day. After a cesarean delivery, it is best to wait until your doctor gives you the go ahead and your incision scar is healed. Typically, this is around weeks 4 - 6 postpartum.*

*Results will vary as we cannot guarantee outcomes. The bind will work differently for each person and is extremely dependent on duration of wear and length of time worn. There will be no refunds for services provided.

CLASSES

Belly Binding classes are offered throughout the year at various locations in the Statesville, NC area. Times will be posted as they are scheduled. You can email us or follow us on Facebook and Instagram, as well, to find class dates and times. Classes are typically 1 hour long.

IN HOME SERVICES

 

 

In home belly binding services allow you to learn the method of binding in the comfort and privacy of your own home. We have a few different packages for you to choose from. If you live outside of the service area, please contact us for additional travel fees.

 

All packages include an unbleached cotton muslin bind or a hand dyed bind for an additional cost. All visits are between 1 to 2 hours long. 

BENGKUNG BINDS

 

Here, Bengkung belly binds are for sale. They are all hand made and made to order. With this option, I am available for support via email to answer any and all questions you have regarding binding.

 

*If you are interested in a hand dyed Bengkung, please email us the color scheme you would like.

**There is a $20 discount if you purchase a class or package as an add on service to placenta encapsulation or doula services.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose bengkung belly binding?


For many reasons! The biggest is that it assists the body in healing faster by providing the abdomen and torso with constant pressure. This encourages the abdominals to come back together to heal and/or prevent diastasis recti.

It helps to support and realign the spine and hips and prevents back pain. While wearing the wrap, you are reminded to sit and walk straight, a good antidote to the "nursing-slouch". Due to water and air retention, pelvic expansion, and larger organs (such as the uterus returning to its original size), belly binding supports the body in returning to its previous state.

It also decreases postpartum bleeding time by suporting the womb and keeping the uterus in a contracted position.




How do I know what size bind I need?


People come in all shapes and sizes so general sizing is tricky. Unless you already own a wrap that’s the correct length, we encourage you to contact us prior to purchasing so we can figure out your correct size.




What makes this method of belly binding better than other conventional and modern methods?


Your bind will be anywhere from 12 to 18 yards of one continuous piece of muslin fabric. The muslin is very customizable and can conform to any body shape unlike the stiffer, commercially made support bands. As your body returns to its nearly pre-pregnancy shape, your bind will conform to your adjusting figure and will allow you to simply tear off the extra fabric. The Bengkung method also fully covers the entire abdomenal area, plus some; from just under the breasts down to the hips, pelvis and pubic bone area. It provides ideal support and a truly full coverage that modern binds simply cannot provide.




How soon after birth can I begin binding?


If you had a vaginal birth, you can begin binding as soon as a couple days postpartum. If you had a c-section, it is best to avoid binding until the incision has fully healed, generally 4 to 6 weeks after birth.




How long should I wear the bind?


You should wear the bind a minimun of 40 days and for 8 to 10 hours per day, to see the most benefits. Benefits are not guaranteed and are very dependent on how long you bind.




Can I wear it under my clothes?


Yes and no. It is best to wrap it over a tanktop or tightly fitted shirt and then you can put a shirt over if you prefer.




What if it is too tight? Is it a compression binder?


Bengkung belly binding is not a form of compression wrapping. Think of it as swaddling so to speak. You are simply hugging your torso and providing gentle pressure to your abs and back, hips and pelvis. The first wrap around your hips should be only as tight as you want, then you should follow the curve of your body upwards to just under your breasts. If you find it’s uncomfortable when you sit down, you should unwrap and wrap again a little looser. It may take several tries to get it just right. We are here to help!




Can I exercise while wearing my bind?


The short answer is depends on the type of exercise. Your belly and body are healing from childbirth. You want to take it easy postpartum. With that being said, briskly walking to the park, grocery shopping, super light exercise, and playing with your kids is fine!




What if I want to use belly paste or essential oils?


Belly butters, lotions, oils, and essential oils are all ok to wear under the bind. However, it’s recommended that you use a warming wrap or an old shirt under you bind to prevent it from getting stained.




How do I wash my bind?


Since our binds have frayed edges, it is best to hand wash and line dry your bind, otherwise you may have some twists and knots in it. Remember, your bind will be approx. 36 feet long! If you want to wash in a washer, gentle cycle on cold, with like colors. Then line dry. It is common to droop it around a shower curtain rod.




How do I measure the tail?


Grab the tail end of your bind and hold it up to your forehead. Measure all the way down to your pubic bone. That will be your tail.




How do I store my bind when not in use? Do I have to roll it back up?


Not at all. You can just loosely fold it up and store in a basket or bag.




Can you guarantee results?


I cannot make any guarantees. I’m not a physician so I can’t tell you that bengkung belly binding will help you with any medical condition. There are many who have reported belly binding has helped bring together the separation of their abdominal muscles after childbirth (diastasis recti,) provided support for lower back problems, helped slow the bleeding after childbirth (lochia,) and even helped with headaches and arthritis. However, I make absolutely no claims that belly binding will do the same for you.





 

Areas We Serve:

All cities in North Carolina within a 65-mile radius of Statesville. If you live out of the service area, contact us for pricing. We want everyone to have access to our quality services.

 

Locations We Serve:

Homebirth | Natural Beginnings Birth and Wellness Center | Davis Regional Medical Center |  Lake Norman Regional Medical Center | All Novant Hospitals |  Frye Regional Medical Center | Wake Forest Baptist |  All Atrium Hospitals | Magnolia Birth Center | Forsyth Medical Center | Catawba Valley Medical Center | CaroMont and more...

We Specialize In:

Medicated Childbirth | Unmedicated Childbirth | Epidurals | Natural Birth | Emergency Cesarean Birth | Planned Cesarean Birth | VBAC | Hospital Birth | Birth Center Birth | Water Birth | Home Birth | OB/GYN | Midwives | Breastfeeding | Bottle-Feeding | Pre-Eclampsia | Induction | Overnight Care | Babywearing | Advanced Maternal Age | Addiction Recovery | Fertility/Infertility | IVF | High Risk Pregnancy | Multiples | Anxiety Disorders | PTSD | Single Parents | Solo Parents | Surrogacy | Adoption | LGBTQI+ | Diverse Families | Bereavement | Cloth Diapering | Placenta Encapsulation | Postpartum Support | Postpartum Depression

The Statesville Doula LLC, provides a full spectrum of doula support and is committed to providing superior support to all families regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, age, family structure, physical abilities, or religious and cultural beliefs.
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