Pregnancy is a fabulous experience. But, it is not always a bed of roses for pregnant women. They have to endure many difficulties during this phase of life. The pregnancy-associated pains and discomforts become an integral part of expectant women.
Fortunately, to ease such pains and provide relief to an extent, a variety of pregnancy support belly bands are available on the market.
Belly bands are custom-made, designed, and developed to comfortably wrap around the abdomen and support the lower back. These flexible bands exert mild compression on abdominal muscles easing stress caused by protruding belly due to growing baby weight in pregnant women.
The best time to use belly bands is during the second and third trimesters (the second trimester of pregnancy lasts from week 13 to 28, or months 4, 5, and 6. of pregnancy).
Following are the top ten benefits a belly band can provide:
1. Reduces Pregnancy Related Pains:
Sacroilitis -SI joint pain: During second trimester of the pregnancy extra pressure is caused on Sacrum (a triangle shaped bone near bottom of spine or tailbone) joints by increasing weight of the growing baby. SI joints become less stable which may produce excruciating pain in lower back, pelvis, hips, spine and legs.
Wearing a belly band supports lower back and baby bump. Thus, evenly distributing the extra belly weight stabilizes the joints preventing pain and arthritis.
Round Ligament pain : Round ligaments (a rope shaped pair of ligaments surrounding the womb to keep uterus in place) normally tightens and expands slowly. In pregnant women, sudden stretch or body movement snaps it like a rubber band. This results in jabbing feeling to sharp pain which may be temporary but could be sometimes unbearable.
Belly bands distribute the weight of the baby across the back and abdomen, which in turn relieves the pressure on the round ligaments and considerably decrease pain.
2. Facilitates Comfortable Exercising and Routine Activities
If you enjoy being active even during pregnancy, use of belly support bands is a great addition to your workout.
The extra support to carry weight and gentle compression on muscles provided by belly band makes exercising comfortable. It also reduces severe stresses and strains while performing normal routine activities at home or office.
A study in Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine Reliable Source indicates that prenatal exercise during later stage of pregnancy or postpartum phase, has positive effect on physical and mental health. Pregnant women should always take to slow workout and be extra cautious to stay safe. Belly bands prevent injury during exercising and normal daily working.
3. Help Maintain Proper Posture
The body posture of women during pregnancy and postpartum stages changes considerably due to stretching and weakening of key core muscles that support the spine frequent bad posture may result into musculoskeletal pain, aesthetical problems and injury. Hence, it is equally crucial to retain proper body posture during pregnancy. The body posture most commonly appears in pregnant women is that of “swayback” i.e. horseback like.
With added support of belly band, bad posture won’t matter much. The band provides external cues gently compressing to prevent overextension of the lower back and torso while lifting the baby off of your hips. This helps you sit and stand up straight helping align your spine. Thus, these bands encourage correct body posture lowering pain.
A 2018 study Source conducted involving 90 pregnant women found that wearing a maternity support belt improved posture during all trimesters. This results in better body posture and less bulking of the body, improved body balance and reduced risk of fall for the pregnant women.
4. Clothes Hacks
In Pregnant women, wearing their favorite or even normal clothes may prove uncomfortable and shorter being unable to fasten or button up them properly.
Suitable belly bands cover the expose prone skin areas, thus, women need to buy new clothes less often. In addition, wearing belly bands spares you the embarrassment of showing your back or belly while bending or moving freely.
5. Assists Faster Healing - Postpartum
The benefits of your pregnancy support band don’t end up with delivery. You can keep using the band for support even after giving birth.
Many women find that wearing a belly band postpartum provides additional support to the abdomen and lower back, decreasing discomfort. A belly band can physically bring the abdominal muscles back together preventing diastasis recti.
Extra support provided by belly band adds strength to weakened body, elevates confidence and boosts recovery of the new mothers.
6. Prevents Preterm Contractions
Overall stress on the body while walking and doing house core activities may cause preterm contractions. The pressure caused on cervix feels like real labor pain.
Frequent use of belly band provides necessary support to hold baby up and takes pressure off the cervix. The baby hump slows down avoiding feeling of premature labor pains.
7. Minimizes Pressure on Bladder
Expanding baby in the womb results in increased pressure on bladder. The pregnant women feel frequent need to urinate due to more pressure on the bladder.
Wearing a belly band alleviate baby’s weight from the abdomen relieving pressure on the bladder.
8. Reduces Stretch Marks
Stretch marks quite commonly develop during sixth or seventh month of pregnancy and may remain there even after delivery. A study shows that as many as 90 percent of women get Striae Distensae (stretch marks) due to overstretching of skin caused by sudden weight gain and hormonal changes.
Belly bands help reduce stretch marks as they support sudden weight gain of the baby bump and provide soft cushioning effect to the skin with mild compression.
9. Helps Fast Recovery from C-Sections
Abdominal transverse muscle do not contract faster especially after a caesarean delivery.
Proper use of belly bands can help close separated abdominal muscles, a condition called diastasis recti. In addition, it can help to decrease pain during recovery period.
10. Decrease Fats and Weight
The extra weight gain, especially in postpartum phase, is natural but not easy to get rid of quickly. Vigorous exercising are never feasible to reduce fats and shed weight as the body is not strong enough to go through all this for the new mothers.
Wearing belly bands moderately everyday on the midsection warms and heat up core muscles helping to burn belly fats and reduce weight.
Important Considerations Regarding Use of Belly Bands
⦁ Wear a belly band or support garment moderately, for not more than two to three hours at a time to prevent overdependence.
⦁ Belly bands are for temporary use and aren’t a permanent fix. A referral to physical therapy is recommended to address ongoing pain both during and after pregnancy.
⦁ Always maintain proper hygiene of these products during use.
⦁ Incorporate use of belly bands with proper exercise, diet schedule and regular medical check-ups both during and after pregnancy.
⦁ Select the product according to your body shape, size, comfort, climate, budget and sensitivity to these products.
⦁ Check insurance cover as some plans may be including maternity support garments as well.
⦁ Wear belly bands snugly i.e. never over tighten to avoid health damages.
Charissa Newton, certified nurse midwife at the Premier Health Center for Women’s Health & Wellness in Mason says “As the uterus grows, all the ligaments that wrap around the abdomen are stretched and pulled and can cause a lot of pain in the back, pelvis and hips. A belt adds a little extra support and can help get you through your daily activities with less pain.”
”A lot of women use bands and belts and find them helpful. I tell my patients who might need them to try one and if it helps, great! It's an easy, non-invasive intervention."
While main focus of such belly bands and belts is to manage postural changes during pregnancy, these are also widely used to cure post–op recovery including hernia, spine pain and hysterectomy for men, children and women.
A study conducted in Spine Journal Reliable Source examined the prevalence of back and pelvic pain during pregnancy. It was concluded that 71 percent of pregnant women complained of low back pain, and 65 percent reported pelvic girdle pain. Further studies found that the pregnant women who moderately used belly bands felt lesser pain.
Belly bands are largely helpful in reducing muscle fatigue, improve circulation, and decrease swelling in the body. This is what a pregnant woman desires for.
Belly bands make feel more comfortable to the most active women and is ideal for the bump on the move.
Belly bands are fanatic for pregnant women as agreed upon by even the experts.
As the body and medical conditions of all women cannot be same, it is advised to follow your Gynecologist doctors’ recommendation before using pregnancy support belly bands.