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Recovery Shorts vs. Shape Wear

by Kylie Patterson on October 23, 2021

Approximate Reading Time: 3 minutes

As a physiotherapist I’m always interested in management options for common problems that women present with after having a baby.

Until a few years ago, if you had an abdominal muscle separation your options were to wear tubigrip (which rolls up or falls down and pills horribly), an owata obi belt (you needed someone to help you into it- think giant bandage) or simply put up with a gaping hole in the front of your stomach muscles and endure questions about “when are you due?” even though you’re actually 6 months post natal!

Then SRC recovery pants became available and when I had clients going from 4 finger width separations down to two fingers inside a 6 month period I got pretty excited. You can read one of my many patient case studies regarding the results.

Of course people always look for a cheap option as well and I have had several women in the past few years who opted to buy “shape wear”- think the sucking in underpants that come up to the belly button- like the Bridget Jones ones and hope for the same result.

They didn’t get it. For a number of reasons-

SRC shorts are MEDICAL grade compression- i.e. They are designed to provide the right amount of compression to promote tissue healing. They come up to the bra line which supports and draws together the ENTIRE abdominal wall- this is how they assist with closing the separation.

They’re comfortable enough to wear ALL the time- and they are designed to be worn all the time to provide the kind of compression that closes separation.

SRC shorts are specifically designed to close abdominal muscle separation and provide support to the pelvis- and that’s what they do.

Sinead O'Donovan (inventor of SRC Recovery Shorts)

Shape wear has been an outstanding invention and like the humble corset of old it has transformed women’s bodies for centuries. Shape wear has come a long way due to fabric technology. It has been designed to be worn as underwear and needs to be tight to work. Shape wear was created to flatten the stomach area and smooth out other areas that carry a little too much padding. It should be worn for short periods of time so that you can look your best when you want to wear something a little hugging. If it does not fit well it can accentuate those areas that we all like to go unnoticed.

SRC Recovery Shorts are a medically designed garment that must not be tight. SRC Recovery Shorts provide the “sense” of where the body is by compressing the muscles around the trunk and pelvic girdle which creates a better connection with the brain. In this way it becomes easier to “feel” the muscles contract and this in turn facilitates more contractions which provide better support for the abdomen, lower back and pelvis- essential in post-partum.

The most obvious effect of prolonged immobilization is loss of muscle strength and endurance. A muscle at complete rest loses 10% to 15% of its strength each week. Nearly half of normal strength is lost within 3 to 5 weeks of immobilization. (Canadian Family Physician VOL 39 June 1993). The majority of women will not be immobile post birth but with the above statement in mind, and in order for your abdominal muscles to recover appropriately after childbirth a garment that is tight or restrictive may cause the muscles of your tummy to become weaker if immobilized by a garment that is restrictive or tight.

Our message to you as a new Mum is simple, do not deactivate your vital core muscles, allow them to remain active, to facilitate a better recovery after having baby.

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