Pregnancy is undoubtedly tough on the body and no matter how much you prepare your body with exercises, it is still a shock for the body, especially the back and teh pelvic girdle – with almost 3/4th of women reporting some kind of issues in these areas. There are couple of reasons for this
- The abdominal muscles usually bear a lot of the load and prevent excessive pressure from developing on the back. With pregnancy however this function of the abdomen is affected and with the shift in center of gravity of the body, a disproportionate amount of the pressure falls on the back, resulting is sharp pain the region adjoining the tailbone.
- During pregnancy the body secretes hormones to enable your body to prepare itself better for birth but these hormones also play their role in weakening the muscles and ligaments surrounding the belly. For example the hormone relaxin cause the hip joint to become loose and unstable. The ligament are under your belly is also profoundly affected – causing pain that can become unbearable.
This is why I would recommend that all pregnant women use maternity belts irrespective of whether they actually feel the discomfort or not. In many cases the strain in the back may not be evident immediately but may haunt you after the pregnancy. The maternity belts is a super innovation and believe me – the effect is immediately noticeable – it supports the belly while protecting the back. After a few days I would feel really strange without this contraption.
The maternity belts may also help
- By providing gentle compression that can be benficial.
- By facilitating better posture.
- By allowing you to exercise without pains that can act as a deterrent. I can vouch as I am one of those who would not exercise for days if I felt any kind of pain during the process.
- Can provide extra protection in the cold months. Since my second stage of pregnancy coincided with the cold months in Chicago, I really appreciated the extra layer on my belly.
- They can also be worn after pregnancy since the belly will not disappear for a long time – especially if you had twins and a c-section.
In addition to maternity belts there is another useful accessory called belly bands which are more useful for covering up the belly and allowing you to ear your regular jeans and pants unbuttoned.
Lot of bloggers use the two terms interchangeably and people might get confused unless they do a lot of research
So here I lay out the differences
- Maternity belts are the preferred contraption for supporting your belly and back. Belly bands are only for light support and for allowing you to wear your regular pants for a little longer when they become difficult to button up due to your expanding belly.
- Belly bands are more useful during the first few months when you can use them to adjust to your belly which is still growing. Later on the belly might become so big that these are not as useful as they never stay put and may fall downwards.
This allowed me to wear my regular pants and jeans – all I did was leave them unbuttoned under the belt.
Since my second stage of pregnancy coincided with the cold months in Chicago, I really appreciated the extra layer on my belly. In fact I got so used to this that I continued using it for a few months after my pregnancy. Needless to say – it helped support my belly after my C-section.
Important Things to Know About Wearing a Belly Band
- Wear a belly band or support garment for no more than two to three hours at a time to prevent over dependency.
- Exercises to strengthen the transverse abdominis (TA) should be done in combination with the use of a belly band to strengthen the core muscles both during and after pregnancy.
- Always consult your doctor before using any compression garments. Women with compromised circulation or abnormal blood pressure may be advised against the use of a belly band.
- Belly bands are for temporary use and are not a permanent fix. It’s important to address the underlying dysfunction. A referral to physical therapy is recommended to address ongoing pain both during and after pregnancy.