Why waist trainers are dangerous for your health — and safer alternatives to help you lose weight

Although waist trainers may temporarily help postpartum, you still should not wear one. That’s because they increase the risk of uterine prolapse. Uterine prolapse is a common condition after childbirth whereby the weakened muscles and ligaments in the abdomen cause the uterus to slip down into the birth canal or even outside of the vagina. 

“Waist trainers cause increased pressure on your abdomen, leading to more stress on your pelvic floor,” Toshkoff says. “While most prolapse improves over time, using a waist trainer can worsen prolapse given the increased pressure downward on the pelvic floor.” 

While mild uterine prolapse generally doesn’t cause symptoms, signs of a more severe prolapse can include: 

  • A feeling of heaviness in the pelvis
  • Tissue protruding from your vagina
  • Urine leakage or retention

How to shape your waist safely 

Modern fashion and popular culture place intense pressure on women to achieve an hourglass figure, but having a slim waist does not equate to health, and it might not be possible for you depending on your unique bone structure and body shape. 

If you are overweight and concerned about your health, it’s possible to lose weight with healthy habits rather than wearing a waist trainer. If you want to safely lose weight, the CDC recommends: 

  • Eating a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables
  • Exercising for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week 
  • Sleeping between seven and nine hours each night 
  • Reducing stress

Insider’s takeaway 

Waist trainers may be an appealing shortcut to a slim figure, but there is no proof that they actually aid in weight loss efforts. Rather, waist trainers can have negative health consequences like disrupting breathing and increasing the risk of postpartum prolapse. 

If you’re having trouble losing weight, consider talking to a healthcare professional instead of spending your money on a gimmick.

“Waist trainers, and other similar quick fixes do not help anybody achieve long-term fitness goals,” Nicholas says. “Before using one, be mindful of how much of your body will be compromised just to get that perfect hourglass body shape.”

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