Slinging weight loss (and other) products on Facebook to your friends is pretty popular these days. Some women do it to make a bit of extra income while staying at home, or to supplement their income, and that’s cool. But are these products safe? Not only for everyday use, but what about postpartum ladies? The It Works wraps, among other It Works products, have been making the rounds on many a Facebook feed, but are It Works wraps safe to use after a C-section? And do women’s health experts think they’ll actually work?
Acupuncturist and women’s health specialist Kristen Burris, L.Ac, says that because C-sections are major abdominal and uterine surgery, your abdomen should be treated carefully and with the utmost caution postpartum, and “unnatural chemicals, as found in It Works wraps, should never be applied to a fresh incision. I would not advise applying It Works wraps to a woman’s abdomen after she has had the invasive C-section surgery due to the chemicals and the sweat-inducing herbs that can weaken a woman’s defenses and immunity, and make her vulnerable to catching colds and flus,” she says in an email interview with Romper. She also advises against using It Works wraps if you’re breastfeeding, because your skin absorbs anything you apply to it, which will go directly into your newborn baby through breast milk.
As far as weight loss and stretch marks, Burris doesn’t think they’ll aid in weight loss in any way. “Topical application of herbal medicine, combined with chemicals, has no therapeutic benefit for weight loss. Even the company does not tout the wraps as weight loss; instead, they cautiously entice you that their wraps will to tighten, tone, and firm your skin within hours of application,” she says. “The added camphor and menthol [in the It Works wraps] can help induce sweating and reduce inflammation — which could possibly reduce the appearance of size — but this would be temporary, at best.”
However, Burris says, “Inducing unnecessary sweating postpartum is not recommended, and the odor of the menthol and camphor could be offensive to your sensitive baby. Absolutely do not allow these ingredients to come in contact with a newborn baby as they are sensitive new beings and may get a rash or get teary eyed just from the smell alone.”
As far as treating stretch marks and your C-section incision, after one week postpartum, Burris recommends applying pure aloe liberally on the incision because it will help reduce scarring. “Another natural option is vitamin E, raw honey, or a combination of both. They are both natural emollients and antioxidants that can reduce the appearance of stretch marks and C-section scars,” she suggests.
“Another ‘natural’ suggestion is to change your internal language about your postpartum body,” Burris says. “Every time you hear yourself say something negative, instead, thank your body for providing a miracle home for your child to grow. Your body is supposed to change and stretch and grow as you nurture the miracle of life."
"Each body is different, and it’s critical to push away that negative self-talk and honor the way you are made individually. This is not the time to diet — this is the time to rest. This is a time to count your blessings and take a nap. This is a time to celebrate the gift of motherhood that eludes one in six suffering from infertility," she says.
After giving birth — though I know it's easier said than done — try to focus on how awesome your body is, and how miraculous it is that you brought a new life into this world. Don't worry about toning and tightening. You've got sleep to catch up on and a baby to snuggle.