Victorian corsets found a resurgence with the recent popularity of waist cinching, or waist training. The trend, popularized by celebrities with hourglass figures who credit waist training corsets for their curves, has spread to mainstream culture over the past couple years. For expectant moms with a growing belly, you might wonder, is waist training safe during pregnancy?
The answer is pretty straightforward. No. Why? Because waist training hasn't been deemed safe for bodies period, let alone that of a developing fetus. Weight loss and nutrition expert at Mount Sinai Hospital, Christopher Ochner told Marie Claire that the risks of waist training include passing out, fractured ribs, and compressed organs and lungs. Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, a health and wellness physician, told USA Today that waist training can crush your organs by cramming them together (ouch). Remember, you're a grown-ass woman and your organs are fully formed. So imagine what waist training can do to developing organs.
According to Baby Center, by 10 weeks, your baby has begun to develop organs, including kidneys, intestines, brain, and liver, all of which are beginning to function on their own. By 11 weeks, your baby's bones are starting to harden. Your baby's lungs, brain and central nervous system continue to develop up until 37 weeks. Knowing all this, ask yourself: does a waist trainer sound safe when pregnant? Double check with your physician for a second opinion.
You might also consider the overall effectiveness of waist training. OB-GYN Mary Jane Minkin told Women's Health that waist training is more hype than science. If you're pregnant and concerned about back pain, talk to your physician about strengthening exercises for the lower back that are deemed safe when pregnant. And treat yourself to a prenatal massage.
During the postpartum period, you might consider waist training, but not to effectively lose weight. Dr. Iffath Hoskins, a high-risk obstetrician at New York University told Today that waist trainers might offer comfort and support to lower areas of the body, including the abdomen and lower back that might be suffering from postpartum pain. "It’s helpful if you’re bending down and picking up the baby off the changing table," he said. However, he emphasized that waist training postpartum is not going to help you get your pre-baby body back, and shouldn't be worn for that reason. He reiterated that waist training postpartum is best to alleviate discomfort.