Belly binding is the ritual or process of binding the abdominal area. Without any concise information regarding where this ritual originated from, it is actually found in many different cultures and traditions around the world.
Belly binding is done for a number of reasons. Beauty, shape, periods cramps and more however it is much more wildly used during the postpartum healing period.
For approximately 40 days after birth the mother is binded everyday for a few hours.
In Africa this practice is used throughout the continent and performed by women’s older female family members or even members of the community.
In Nigeria and Ghana the English/pidgin word for belly binding is wrapped/tied. There are also specific words used from local tribes languages. For example the Hausa people call it Wankan Jese.
the main difference between African belly binding and bengkung belly binding is African binding can be done on a woman who has had a c-section straight away. It is also gentle and very easy to do on oneself.
before binding it is traditional to massage the stomach and vaginal steam with water and herbs like fresh or dried neem leaves. This makes sure that the vaginal area as well as the uterus is cleaned thoroughly as well as warmed up well.
This is a very summarised look at African belly binding. If you would like to learn more click here to learn more about our online certification course ‘The Art Of African Belly Binding’
This course breaks down the history, preparation and practice as well s how to add this ritual into your birth work services if you wish to.