Postpartum Shapewear 101: The Basics

postpartum and maternity shapewear

We hate to jump on the post-pregnancy horror bandwagon but, yes, your body does change after having a baby. Not only does your expanding tummy now take its sweet, sweet time to recede, but you’re also left with flab, bulges and pouches that no one ever told you would stay. Mix in lack of sleep, no time to shower and the odd stretch mark and it’s no wonder learning to love our body once again is such hard work!

But it CAN be done! And it’s not just because we’re about to talk about the wonders of postpartum and maternity shapewear. Just watching the numbers on that scale go down as soon as you give birth can be exhilarating, breastfeeding burns a ton of calories and, most importantly, having a kid is AWESOME. Trust us on this one!

mom with her baby

So what about postpartum shapewear? Is it really necessary?

Why would someone even need shapewear when they just created a baby from scratch? Shouldn’t we get a break from looking flawless THIS ONE TIME? (The answer is YES!)

However, post-birth shapewear isn’t about looking better - after birth is when shapewear actually becomes the MOST functional. It’s not about looking good; it’s about feeling comfortable. How? Well, here are a couple of benefits wearing post-pregnancy shapewear provides:

  • Post maternity shapewear helps aid your body in returning to its pre-pregnancy glory, softly guiding it towards where it should recede. You’ll appreciate the extra abdominal support! 
  • Shapewear can also help you feel more comfortable during your first postpartum weeks, when everything seems to be dangly and achy and out-of-place. Containing this feeling can also help you feel more centered during this critical time. 
  • Got a C-section? Shapewear helps create a buffer between your stitches and your regular clothes, so you can focus on what’s really important (your new baby!) instead of what’s not (your C-section scar). 
  • Postpartum shapewear can also help you regain your pre-pregnancy posture, acting as a soft reminder to broaden your shoulders, sit up straight and put your proud mamma face on! 
  • Still got some aches and pains on your back? Don’t fret - it’s normal! This is clearly linked to the changes in posture that occured during your pregnancy. Wearing shapewear can help ease back pain, or remind you to stand up straight! 
  • And, of course, if shapewear was a godsend for bloaty days pre-pregnancy, imagine how much confidence it’ll give you post-pregnancy! If you need to be out and about (or are returning to work), wearing shapewear after pregnancy can help you feel more confident and prepared during these uncertain but magical times. 

So what’s the best shapewear after pregnancy? Glad you asked!

How does postpartum shapewear work?

The correct type of post-birth maternity shapewear will support your back, retrain your muscles to shrink back to your previous, slimmer shape, give you that extra support you need while breastfeeding, and take the pressure off your legs and back.

mom with her baby in her arms

Postpartum body shapers have also been used for centuries to aid in repairing Diastasis Recti, a common condition after giving birth in which your abdominal halves have separated while pregnant. They also alleviate swelling after giving birth, as postpartum shapewear wraps around that mummy belly, compressing your blood vessels and capillaries, flushing fluids away from your skin.

How do I choose the best postpartum shapewear for me?

So ready to reap the benefits of your pre-maternity shapewear? There’s no reason why you can’t use the shapewear you’ve once come to love for the beginning of this new era in your life. However, please make sure you avoid wearing shapewear while pregnant. The compression can harm your growing baby. Remember that, when in doubt, it’s always wise to consult with your doctor.

That said, here’s a quick guide to help you determine whether your pre-pregnancy shapewear can now double up as postpartum shapewear (or to know what to look out for when purchasing your new shapewear wardrobe once the baby is here!).


1. How does it look under your clothes?

Trust me, you won't be pulling out your bodycon dresses too soon after giving birth, but you will need want to be in the lookout for post-pregnancy shapewear that’s thin and breathable.

As a rule of thumb, shapewear should never be visible under your clothes. Look for something that will provide the compression you need, but can still can be easily concealed, like the All Day Every Day Ultra Thin High-Waist Shaper Panty.

Shaper Panty maternity

All Day Every Day Ultra Thin High-Waist Shaper Panty


2. How hard is it to slide on?

Have you ever tried to wrestle your way into a wet swimsuit? Putting on your postpartum body shaper shouldn't be like that - there’s no need to feel like you’ve just completed a full cardio workout each and every single time you go to the bathroom.

Don’t feel discouraged if you need to go a size up before slipping into your old shapewear. Remember: you need to feel compression but feel comfortable at the same time! Have some patience in your body 😉


3. Does it stay in place?

Life is already full of uncomfortable inconveniences. You don't need to add another one by wearing shapewear that slides and shifts around. You have enough on your plate with your new baby without having to adjust your maternity shapewear every five minutes.

So make sure your new postpartum shapewear stays comfortably put all the time you need it. Most brands offer shapewear with anti-slip silicone bands to make sure their products don’t roll down, but you can also opt for an open-bust bodysuit. These garments -such as the Co’Coon Seamless Antibacterial Hip Hugger Bodysuit - offer full body compression but also leave your breasts uncovered for easy breastfeeding access.

bodysuit maternity

Co’Coon Seamless Antibacterial Hip Hugger Bodysuit


4. Does it compress enough?

You want post-pregnancy shapewear that provides you with good compression but doesn’t squeeze the bejesus out of you. You just gave birth - be kind to yourself! If after just an hour of wearing your shapewear you’re itching to get it off, it’s safe to say you need a little bit less compression. Remember, this isn’t to hide, tuck and squeeze for you to look better - it’s just a tool to keep everything centered and in its place while your body heals itself.


5. Is the fabric breathable?

Breathable materials are a MUST. After childbirth, you’ll notice that you’ll sweat a lot more - this is mainly due to your body eliminating excess fluids which you were retaining while pregnant. Look for breathable, lightweight fabrics and avoid those with a lot of latex.

One example you can find right here at Shapermint? The All Day Every Day Body Shaper Short.

Shaper Short postpartum

All Day Every Day Body Shaper Short


Shapewear and C-sections - Should you go for it?

Postpartum shapewear is especially useful for moms who went through C-sections, either recently or in the past. Most women start using shapewear right after their surgery to avoid getting their stitches caught in their clothes, and to help with pain relief in the incision area. Most moms will wear shapewear for these reasons 2-3 months after giving birth.

However, it’s not unheard of for other C-section moms to continue their shapewear use even long after they give birth. C-sections are notorious for their characteristic “pouch”, where the skin on the stomach folds a little bit over at the incision line. Many women with this “pouch” choose to wear shapewear while in the process of relearning to love their bodies, as a way to feel confident in whatever clothes they wear.

Here’s what YouTube user JustineMarie hast to say about shapewear, C-sections and relearning to love her postpartum body right here:


So go ahead and take the plunge! Shapewear is very common in women who have gone through C-sections. There’s nothing to be ashamed of - wear it LOUD and PROUD!

Note: please talk to your doctor before choosing to wear any post-pregnancy shapewear. Every woman -and pregnancy- is different, and it’s always best to consult first!