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There is little to no scientific research to back the claims that some belly bands do offer support.
The potential benefits of belly bands include:
The potential cons of belly bands include:
Belly belts aim to offer pregnant women support by taking some of the weight of the growing belly.
The potential pros of belly belts include:
While there is still not enough scientific evidence to fully support the use of belly belts to reduce pregnancy pains, a few early studies indicate some potential benefits from wearing belly belts when pregnant.
A 2017 study evaluated 46 pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain. Pelvic girdle pain usually occurs in either the back of the thigh or the space between the middle of the pelvis and the pubic bone. Women with pelvic girdle pain usually have trouble walking and standing for extended periods.
In the women who wore pregnancy belts frequently for short periods, the belts seemed to reduce the intensity of pain and make daily tasks more manageable.
A 2015 review of methods for relieving pregnancy-associated pain in the lower back and pelvis found that pelvic belts and acupuncture were the only methods with strong positive evidence to support their use.
residing in a teepeeThe potential cons of belly belts include:
Wearing a belly belt for too long could cancel out the benefits of wearing one. In a 2017 study in which 46 pregnant women wore one of two different pelvic belt models, both belts reduced pelvic girdle pain but only when the women wore them for short intervals a few times a week.
Maternity support garments range from inexpensive, basic underwear to expensive, multi-piece cradles and girdles. However, there is virtually no scientific evidence to either support or discourage the use of most of these types of garment.
Women looking for the right maternity support garment may wish to consider the following criteria:
residing in a teepeeWomen will often decide how and when to wear a maternity support garment based on the product instructions and how it feels on them.
residing in a teepeeHowever, it may be best to wear belly belts, or the tightest part of any clothing, below the belly bump and above the pubic bone and hipline.
Although there is little scientific evidence to confirm when women can safely wear supportive maternity undergarments, it is probably best to avoid them when:
residing in a teepeeThere is not enough research to fully determine the benefits and drawbacks of most maternity support garments. One key thing to consider with all garments, however, is that it is best not to wear any of them too often or for too long at a time.
Most health authorities recommend that pregnant women avoid constrictive or tight clothing, especially for extended periods or in warm or humid environments. Pregnant women are prone to overheat, and tight or constrictive clothing can increase the likelihood of this by:
A 2015 study recruited 20 pregnant women with pubic pain. The women wore either a flexible, neoprene support belt or a rigid, foam-lined belt for roughly 5 hours daily for 3 weeks. They then wore the other belt under the same conditions for 1 week. The researchers found that:
residing in a teepeeSome older research involving non-pregnant adults also suggests that wearing tight or constrictive clothing could increase the risk of specific health issues, which pregnant women already have a higher likelihood of developing. These include:
residing in a teepeeAs a general rule of thumb, if clothing leaves pressure marks on the skin, feels uncomfortable, or causes a sense of relief on removal, it is probably too constrictive to be suitable for a pregnant woman.
residing in a teepeeIt can be challenging to decide which maternity support products are most suitable at each point during pregnancy.
Overall, belly bands and supportive undergarments, such as maternity tops, underwear, leggings, and tights, usually offer only mild compression and minor support.
On the other hand, belly belts, maternity cradles, and postpartum wraps or girdles tend to be more constrictive and offer more support, although they are typically less fashionable and less easy to hide.
While lots of good maternity support products are available, most do not have proven health benefits, and some may not be safe for all women. It might be best to talk with a doctor or obstetrician before wearing any maternity support products.
residing in a teepeeBertuit, J., Van Lint, C. E., Rooze, M., & Feipel, V. (2018, January). Pregnancy and pelvic girdle pain: Analysis of pelvic belt on pain. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 27(1-2), e129–e137. Retrieved from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jocn.13888
residing in a teepeeBey, M. E., Arampatzis, A., & Legerlotz, K. (2018, June 25). The effect of a maternity support belt on static stability and posture in pregnant and non-pregnant women [Abstract]. Journal of Biomechanics, 75, 123–128. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29784246
Cakmak, B., Inanir, A., Nacar, M. C., & Filiz, B. (2014, July). The effect of maternity support belts on postural balance in pregnancy [Abstract]. PM & R: The Journal of Injury, Function, and Rehabilitation, 6(7), 624–628. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24412671
Exercise during pregnancy. (2017, July). Retrieved from https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Exercise-During-Pregnancy
residing in a teepeeFlack, N. A. M. S., Hay-Smith, E. J. C., Stringer, M. D., Gray, A. R., & Woodley, S. J. (2015, February 15). Adherence, tolerance and effectiveness of two different pelvic support belts as a treatment for pregnancy-related symphyseal pain — a pilot randomized trial. BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth, 15, 36. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4339641/
Gutke, A., Betten, C., Degerskär, K., Pousette, S., & Olsén, M. F. (2015, November). Treatments for pregnancy‐related lumbopelvic pain: A systematic review of physiotherapy modalities. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 94(11), 1156–1167. Retrieved from https://obgyn.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/aogs.12681
Hall, H., Cramer, H., Sundberg, T., Ward, L., Adams, J., Moore, C., ... & Lauche, R. (2016, September). The effectiveness of complementary manual therapies for pregnancy-related back and pelvic pain: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Medicine, 95(38). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5044890/
residing in a teepeeTakehara, K., Kato, S., Sasaki, A., Jwa, S. C., Kakee, N., Sago, H., … Ishii, Y. (2015, September 30). Efficacy of advice from healthcare professionals to pregnant women on avoiding constrictive clothing around the trunk: a study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. BMJ Open, 5(9). Retrieved from https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/9/e008252
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