Bengkung belly binding is the art of wrapping a postpartum women’s belly and hips for physical support and to help hasten the recovery process after childbirth. This belly binding technique uses a long strip of cloth to wrap around the abdomen from the hips to the ribcage. Women are traditionally wrapped as soon after birth as possible, ideally on day five and then worn for 40 days or longer as needed. The Bengkung belly binding technique is rooted in Malaysian culture; however, various countries and cultures around the world use a form of belly binding to help support the healing process.
A good youtube video on how to bind is here, This bind can be done 3 days after a vaginal delivery and 2 weeks after a C-section as long as it is comfortable for the postpartum woman. The best time to do this is in the 6 weeks after birth since there is still relaxin present that helps things move back in place more easily. It is recommended that the bind be worn for up to 12 hours and then taken off for 12 hours. This is “training” the woman’s body to do on its own the same thing the bind helps to achieve. Before binding, be sure to spend about 10 minutes helping the woman to get her organs back up in her body so things are not bound in lower position. To do this, bind right after she gets up in the morning since she has been laying down for a while. Otherwise, put her feet up on the couch or do legs up the wall 10 minutes to help reposition those organs that have fallen a little lower because of pregnancy and childbirth and gravity. Be sure to have her keep her legs together when binding the hips to get the most benefit. Also, have the new mom take her underwear down and then pull up once a few binds over the hips are done. (She will need to be able to use the bathroom during the 12 hours of binding)..
Mom can wear a nursing cami under the bind and it becomes part of her outfit! Binds should be made from 100% prewashed soft cotton fabrics that can go directly over the skin without causing any discomfort. Bengkung Belly Binds are at least 15 yards long and about 8 to 9 inches wide when finished. Overwrap the bind more if the woman is smaller in order to use the whole length. The tension put on the bind is a personal choice, but the tighter it is, the more benefits received. The cotton fabric does loosen a little while wearing and is usually much more comfortable than the standard belly binds available. Rolling the bind after each use makes it easier to do the next time, but this is not necessary.
I have been making and using these binds for almost a year and my clients love them. I teach them how to bind themselves and they typically use them for the first 6 weeks after birth or longer. They say it helps with their posture, gives them good support when they are breastfeeding and helps get rid of their baby pooch sooner. I include a Bengkung Belly Bind with my Birth package and offer them to all my postpartum clients for an extra fee. As a doula, I do not say that binding does anything medical, just that it will help them get back to their pre-pregnancy figure quicker and add some comfort to their postpartum recovery period.
CLD, CPD, CAPPA Faculty
Carolyn is a mother, a grandmother, and former elementary school teacher who grew up in a very large family, caring for babies from an early age. In addition to a BA in Elementary Education, she has a Masters in Applied Communication. Carolyn has many years of experience in adult education; teaching marketing, public speaking, memory techniques, and neuro linguistic programming topics. She has pursued a variety of interesting and rewarding careers in addition to teaching that include retail management, marketing, public relations, and interior design. Everything Carolyn has done before led her to finding her true passion in this doula work. “I see it as making a huge difference in the world of families and babies, as well as making a difference in our present and future world.” She is committed to sharing and teaching the experiences and information she has learned, making doula services more available to more families.