So, your abdomen begins to get bigger as you progress through your pregnancy. You also begin to feel pain in your lower back, muscles, and joints, as well as the discomfort when you do specific activities.
This usually happens during your second trimester and some people may recommend you wear a maternity belt. What is a maternity belt? Does it ease pregnancy discomforts? Why do you need one?
What is a maternity belt?
A maternity belt is kind of abdominal support system that helps pregnant women adapt to the changing body size during the pregnancy period. It comes in different styles but the most common is the belt worn around the back and secured with Velcro beneath the stomach.
It can be bulky and obvious under the clothes. Two other types are the tube top pulled over the abdomen and the camisole type, which provides very little support.
What is maternity belt used for?
Pregnancy is difficult with all the physiological changes that happen in your body including the increasing weight and the size of your stomach. As its name denotes, the primary function of maternity belt is to ease pregnancy.
It helps lift the abdomen and provide back support by reducing the downward and forward pull of gravity on your stomach. For pregnant women who work out, the tube top maternity belt lessens the bump of exercise, while the camisole style reduces the friction on the stomach during the first stages of pregnancy.
However, it’s worth noting that a maternity belt doesn’t entirely relieve back pain. The body releases a hormone called relaxin which prepares the body for birth.
This causes the pelvis ligaments to become loose, that when combined with the pregnant abdominal weight, makes the back ache. When you feel discomfort, you might need to rest your body.
Benefits of wearing a maternity belt
There is no medical evidence that maternity belts help during the pregnancy period or postpartum. But here are some potential benefits of wearing one as experienced by many pregnant women:
Relieves hip pain and SI joint pain
The body releases relaxin during the third trimester to help stretch and loosen the muscles, joints, and other connective tissues to make labor and delivery easier. Since these tissues are looser, the sacroiliac joint (SI joint) in the pelvic area becomes loose resulting in discomfort.
As the abdomen becomes bigger, women have different postures while laying, walking, or sitting which can cause lower back pain and hip pain. A maternity belt helps support the loosened tissues and provide support to the pregnant stomach.
Reduce discomfort while doing physical activities
Carrying a heavy uterus take a lot of effort and affects your daily physical activities such as working, walking, or working out. It also affects your performance and concentration.
If you want to continue working or doing other physical activities while pregnant, a maternity belt can help you carry the weight.
A maternity belt lifts up the stomach and provides support. It relieves the pressure you feel on your lower back; hence, you can continue doing your daily physical routines.
Supports proper posture during the pregnancy period
Your back overextends because of the loose core muscles during your pregnancy. The spine also protrudes as the support ligaments and joints become loose too. Since your joints, ligaments, and muscles become weak during this period, you might develop poor posture.
A maternity belt provides support to these muscles and joints to help you maintain proper posture. It prevents the overextending of your lower back while walking, sitting, and doing other activities and postures.
Potential drawbacks of wearing maternity belt
Just like any other products, maternity belt also has its drawbacks. Among them are:
Additional cost during pregnancy
Aside from maternity belt, the more important expenditures to look forward to are the vitamins and medical checkups. A maternity belt comes in different types which vary in cost depending on the brand and the materials used in the design and construction.
Bulky and visible under clothes
If you the kind of woman who wear tight clothes like dresses or skirts, a maternity belt might easily be noticeable and be bulky under these clothes. So, instead of wearing tight clothes, you might want to consider a flowing dress or a pair of jeans.
Before purchasing a maternity belt, try one on in the store. Some women feel uncomfortable with a specific size, brand, and style of a maternity belt, so be sure you find one that is going to give you the support and comfort you need.