Belly Bands for Pregnant Women: What You Should Know
The recommendations regarding the use of belly bands by pregnant women produce many conflicting opinions. Although they can be beneficial to protect the lumbar region, they also have their contraindications. Therefore, below, we’ll tell you everything you should know about their use.
Is it a good idea for pregnant women to use belly bands?
Belly bands are designed to fulfill the function of supporting the abdomen and the lumbar spine region during pregnancy. In addition, they can provide many benefits during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. In fact, a study published in the journal Spine mentions that more than 70% of pregnant women have lower back pain.
The benefits of the use of belly bands in pregnant women
The main function of the belly bands is to support the volume of the abdomen and contribute to certain muscles to allow them to perform with less effort and tension. These are their main benefits:
- They reduce back and joint pain: Discomfort in the lumbar region or in the joints can hinder some activities of daily living.
- Relieve sacroiliac joint strain: During pregnancy, levels of the hormone relaxin increase, which is responsible for relaxing the hip joint and making it less stable.
- Decrease round ligament pain: This manifestation can arise in the second trimester as a dull or sharp pain under the abdomen, at the front of the hip. In fact, it’s caused by the extra weight and pressure on the ligaments that support the uterus.
- They provide mild compression during activities: Belly bands help support the uterus and decrease the discomfort of movement during exercise. However, it’s important to clarify that too much compression alters blood circulation and favors indigestion or heartburn.
The disadvantages of belly bands in pregnant women
Before using any type of compression garment, it’s best to consult a doctor. This is because their use isn’t recommended in women who have circulation problems or altered blood pressure levels. In addition, they tend to make the muscles more sluggish, as they’re not allowed to do their work independently and thus become weaker. Therefore, the use of belly bands by pregnant women is only recommended when there’s a real disability or specific injury.
The use of belly bands in the postpartum period
In the weeks following childbirth, there’s a significant decrease in strength in the center of the body. That is, the muscles and ligaments that have been stretched and tightened during pregnancy need time to return to their previous state. The use of belly bands after childbirth provides extra support to the lower back and abdominal region, which relieves discomfort.
However, some specialists don’t recommend their use, as they claim that the body has the ability to recover on its own. However, postpartum belly bands can also be beneficial for those who have experienced diastasis recti (the separation of the abdominal muscles) by contributing to the physical binding of the muscles.
Tips to prevent lower back pain in pregnant women
The use of belly bands in pregnant women is recommended for short periods of time to avoid overdependence. In turn, strengthening the transverse abdominal muscles through physical exercises is a great complement. In addition, when there’s pain in the back due to altered posture, some measures can be implemented to prevent discomfort, such as the following:
- Try to maintain an upright posture
- Bend your knees when bending over
- Lie on the left side of the body to promote blood circulation
- When sitting, keep your back in contact with the back of the chair
- Practice swimming or yoga
In fact, in order to strengthen the muscles, doctors recommend doing physical exercise during all the months of pregnancy. This will bring benefits for the health of the baby and the mother. In this regard, swimming is an ideal sport, as it corrects the posture of the spine, tones the muscles, promotes breathing, and helps to improve blood circulation.
The importance of belly bands in pregnant women
The use of belly bands during pregnancy must always be approved and assessed by the medical specialist who’s responsible for monitoring and control. In addition, the use of the product during pregnancy shouldn’t be a generalized indication, but should only be advised when trained and qualified personnel consider it necessary.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Kovacs FM, Garcia E, Royuela A, González L, Abraira V; Spanish Back Pain Research Network. Prevalence and factors associated with low back pain and pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy: a multicenter study conducted in the Spanish National Health Service. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2012 Aug 1;37(17):1516-33. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e31824dcb74. PMID: 22333958. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22333958/
- Bertuit J, Van Lint CE, Rooze M, Feipel V. Pregnancy and pelvic girdle pain: Analysis of pelvic belt on pain. J Clin Nurs. 2018 Jan;27(1-2):e129-e137. doi: 10.1111/jocn.13888. Epub 2017 Nov 3. PMID: 28544276. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28544276/
- Barakat R, Perales M, Garatachea N, Ruiz JR, Lucia A. Exercise during pregnancy. A narrative review asking: what do we know? Br J Sports Med. 2015 Nov;49(21):1377-81. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2015-094756. Epub 2015 Jul 1. PMID: 26135742. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26135742/