Being pregnant is one of the most enlightening phases of a woman’s life. Every time people talk about pregnancy or imagine pregnancy, it seems like the best feeling in the world. From smelling small baby clothes, to taking gentle jogs around the neighborhood park, with people nodding at you in approval and support, being pregnant sure seems like a significant part of a woman’s life.
But, do you have any idea about the downside of being pregnant? Nausea, the constant urge to pee, the excruciating back pain and the ever increasing baby bump. No one ever talks about that! On one side you have a feeling of elation that you are going to bring an entire human being in this world, but the process is strenuous to say the least, and that is why it is essential to make this bumpy ride for your bump easy.
Bump Along The Way
By the end of your first trimester, your baby bump will likely be evident, it will start growing gradually and by the end of the 5th month, your bump will be quite visible. Along with the excitement of feeling your baby’s kicks and getting to see your baby in the ultrasound scan, there are a few other things that are increasing simultaneously, such as your baby bump, your back pain, most probably your weight and your stress levels.
A few reasons why you have excessive back pain during pregnancy is because of your increasing weight, your center of gravity changes and due to a hormone called Relaxin which loosens the ligaments in your hips and pelvis to prepare you naturally for delivery, this leads to pelvic girdle pain. Upto 80% of pregnant women have back pain but most of them are unaware of how to treat it.
There are plenty of products nowadays to bring ease to your pregnancy phase and to provide support to you in this hour of need. Products like pregnancy pillows, maternity pants, morning sickness medication all help ease your pain and provide relief to your body and mind. Another such product that has been doing rounds lately, and is being advised by many doctors around the globe is the pregnancy belly band, or most commonly known as the maternity belt.
What is a Pregnancy Belly Band?
A pregnancy belly band, or a maternity support belt comes under the category of maternity wear as it is a kind of belt that you wear around your belly.
It is usually made of breathable and stretchable, lightweight material such soft cotton so you can wear it easily around your belly and abdomen without it causing discomfort or being itchy. It is made to be stretchable and flexible so you can easily adjust it according to your comfort level, and fasten it with a Velcro band that is attached on it.
It comes in different sizes and you can choose a size accordingly. You can tighten the belt a little to provide compression to your belly, which most women say has a soothing effect and takes some strain off the hips and back.
There are different types of pregnancy belts; most provide support to the belly and back but there are some which come with additional straps to support the upper abdomen, groin, and shoulders as well.
Why Do You Need a Pregnancy Belly Band?
Imagine you are heavily pregnant; in most cases your bump will slightly droop downwards, which causes an added weight tugging towards the ground, and you have to walk around with that push-down feeling throughout the day. In this condition, have you ever asked your partner to lift the bump a little for a few seconds or have you done it by yourself? Doesn’t it feel so light and relieving? If you haven’t, try it!
Every time you ‘pick up’ your bump, you will feel light and your lower abdomen will feel ventilated. It is very relaxing. It happens because you’ve been carrying this droopy weight on you throughout the day and a little support provides much comfort. That is exactly what a pregnancy belly band does, it lifts your weight and provides support to your belly so that you don’t feel like you are walking around with a boulder tied to your front.
A pregnancy belly band or a maternity belt supports your bump and:
- Provides comfort.
- Eases back pain.
- Corrects your posture during pregnancy.
- Lessens the pressure on your bladder – so you wouldn’t have to worry about running to the loo in the middle of important meetings or tasks
- Balances the weight around the bump.
- Decreases leg swelling with regular use.
- It can also be used after pregnancy, in your postpartum phase, to help you with correcting your posture.
Benefits of Wearing a Pregnancy Belly Band
Once your bump is compressed and fit snugly in this supportive belt, you will find that going about your day has become much more easier. You can take your morning jog, exercise, work and do everything that you normally would without having to worry about the extra weight tiring you down.
Think of it as a sports bra for your bump. It not only provides extra support to your belly, but to your back as well which reduces the effects of the round ligament pain and corrects your posture so you don’t have the typical pushed back, belly-out posture. You can strut with a ramrod straight back and exude the confidence that you would otherwise.
A lot of women also feel they have breathing problems because of the excessive weight they carry around. Many women have claimed that by wearing a pregnancy belt, they have found it easier to breathe and that unclogs their mind as well.
Belly bands help tremendously in doing exercise while being pregnant. We know how important it is to workout during pregnancy. According to Dr. Sherry Ross, MD, OB/GYN and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, “Women who run gain a healthy amount of weight during pregnancy and have babies born with a healthy birth weight.”
Often, it becomes cumbersome to jog and workout during pregnancy because of the growing bump. By wearing a belly band, you can keep your bump snug in to place and find it helpful while working out.
If you tighten the belt ever so slightly around your bump, you can create a compression effect and and that provides relief against the increasing round ligament pain that increases substantially as you move towards the third trimester. The compression not only provides a soothing effect but also supports the uterus and and decreases discomfort when you move around and do your daily activities.
Choosing the Correct Pregnancy Belly Band
There are many types of pregnancy bands available. You should know which one best suits you. A few factors to keep in mind when buying a pregnancy band are:
Maternity bands are available in many different materials, usually all are lightweight and breathable but make sure you check the material before buying, to ensure it is a soft material and not something that might cause discomfort to you. Also keep in mind the weather where you live and choose a material that would not cause itchiness.
Maternity bands come in many different sizes and this is where most women mess up. They order the wrong size and the belt is sometimes a size too small which causes discomfort or a size too big which doesn’t fit on the belly snugly, thus does not provide the compression or comfort that it should. Most brands offer multiple sizes from XS – XXL and some even have a free size. Choose your size accordingly and according to your measurements. Ideally, you could ask for a size chart which will help you choose the size.
There are many different types of maternity bands available online and in-stores. Some of the most common ones are:
Adjustable Belly Band
This is an adjustable wide band that you wear around your bump, and fasten it around the front with the Velcro attached to it. It may or may not have metal rods at the back to keep your back straight. It comes in different sizes and colours.
Seamless Belly Band
This belly band is seamless and looks like a tube top for your bump. It has no metal wires and is just a tube-like soft, breathable material that you cover your bump with. It keeps the bump lifted and provides compression.
Belly Band with Top Strap
This type of belly band is not just a circular band around the belly but also has a strap that you fasten across the top of your tummy for added support. This way the band does not have to bear the entire weight which could sometimes bend the band as well but distributes the weight evenly.
Belly Band with Shoulder Straps
This belly band is a cross between a pregnancy band and suspenders / galluses. It is a belly band that you wear around your belly but also has suspenders that you wear on your shoulders so all the weight is distributed between your shoulders and belly. This could be worn as a fashion statement but some people could find it uncomfortable.
Belly Band with Groin Support
This is a tube-like band that you wear across your belly but it has added groin straps that you fasten around your groin. This band provides support to your groin and helps relieve pelvic girdle pain.
How to Fasten a Pregnancy Belly Band
This may seem like a “Duh, eye roll” moment because who wouldn’t know how to wear a belt *eye roll again* but did you know that a lot of women who buy pregnancy bands do not actually know how to secure it properly or end up buying the wrong size and so they are unable to use the belt to its full potential.
First of all, buy a pregnancy band that is of your size. You can ask for a sizing chart and buy one accordingly. Once you have the belly band, follow the instructions given, and ensure the band is around your belly, then fasten is securely with the Velcro given. The best way to wear the belt is in the lying-down position, that way, when you get up, the belt will be securely in place and the bump will be in a lifted position.
Do not just wear it around your belly without lifting the bump up first. The bump should be snugly fit in the belt. Make sure the belt is not too loose or too tight. Wearing it just a bit fitted would provide compression but make sure it is not too tight. Make sure the metal rods(if there are any) are straight along your back, as those will correct your posture. Fasten any extra straps that you have and you are good to go.
Belly bands can be worn under or over your dress or garment.
Things to Keep In Mind When Using a Pregnancy Band
Pregnancy bands are a fairly safe product to buy and use. As safe as a house. There are not many things to consider when using a pregnancy band as they are very reliable and doctors around the globe recommend its usage.
Some things to keep in mind when using pregnancy bands are:
- Overuse – Doctors do not recommend wearing pregnancy bands for more than a couple of hours at a time. It may cause dependency and cause muscle weakness if used for long spans of time.
- Wearing the belt too tight – Some people think wearing the belt too tight could cause suffocation to be baby. There is no scientific evidence to back this claim. However, in some cases, wearing the band too tight could cause changes to the baby’s heart rate.
- Core Strengthening Alternate – People consider belly bands as an alternative to core strengthening exercises as they provide rapid relief and compression to the belly. This is not true. Even though these bands are used to alleviate the pain, you still need to do core strengthening exercises. So keep those Kegels going!
- Skin Irritation – This is by far the most common drawback of wearing pregnancy bands. Belly bands are usually worn under your clothes (you could wear them over though) and can cause irritation to your skin, which results in chafing, especially if you perspire a lot or live in an area with high humidity.
Best Belly Band for Pregnancy
There are a gazillion companies selling belly bands, so how do you choose the best belly band for pregnancy? Try going to any website that sells products and you will find thousands of listings of belly bands. But are all of them really good quality and are they worth buying? Not really.
When it comes to belly bands, this may seem like just another band that you tie around your belly so why not just buy any off the market. But no, a good belly band encompasses many different attributes that may not be offered by all. After all, you don’t want to be stingy when it comes to you or your baby, right. You want to invest and not just splurge.
We tried out many different belly bands in our community of to-be moms and the list boiled down to a few that were recommended by the ladies. Here are some of them:
1. NeoTech Care Pregnancy Support Maternity Belt
2. AZMED Maternity Belly Band
3. Maternity FITsplint
4. Cabea Baby Belly Band
5. KeaBabies Maternity Belly Band
For a comprehensive overview of these bands, we recommend reading our article on best belly band for pregnancy. This resource may assist you in selecting the most suitable option based on your requirements.
To wrap up the discussion, it would be wise to say that pregnancy belly bands are recommended by doctors, absolutely safe and very useful if used in the correct manner. They not only provide relief to your belly but also increase comfortability and making movability during pregnancy easy and efficient. There are multiple types of bands available so choose the one that you find most suitable. Pregnancy belly bands are God-send and no, they don’t suffocate the baby!