You're in the home stretch! And stretch is the operative word. As you get into your third trimester, your blooming bump seems to throw everything out of whack. Picking up something you drop, getting out of bed, standing in line, even sitting can strain your back.
What's an almost-new-mom to do? Many have turned to one of the new breed of belly supports.
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Some moms look for help with aches and pains as soon as five months; others not until month 9. And a few lucky moms never have them at all. It's usually second time (or later) moms who will have the most discomfort, especially in their pelvis and back, says Samir Hage, DO, Obstetrics & Gynecology at Redlands Community Hospital in Redlands, Calif.
"Also, women with jobs that involve near constant standing, or near constant sitting, benefit most from support," he adds.
Mamas that routinely exercise, especially yoga and stretching (with their doctor's permission, of course), are less likely to have these late-pregnancy discomforts, says Dr. Hage. "They're not mandatory for expectant moms across the board," agrees Jay Goldberg, M.D., of Beverly Hills.
"Some women find it incredibly helpful when they're carrying 10 to 30 additional pounds up front, while others are bothered by the constriction and heat. From a medical standpoint, it provides back support and may help with circulation."
Dr. Hage says anyone can benefit from extra support, but cautions moms to avoid using any kind of support that could restrict blood flow to the pelvis during exercise. "Support could be beneficial during exercise depending on the level of discomfort," he says. "But it depends on the mom's weight, the type of exercise, any underlying conditions, and previous injuries."
So if your aching back is starting to make you miserable, you don't have to suffer. As with so many things when you're pregnant, you should run using any particular belly support by your health care provider, especially before exercising, but here are three to consider.
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One of the more popular options, this is a wide, adjustable band that's worn under your belly. On top of providing back, hip, and abdomen support, it—Hallelujah!—takes pressure off the bladder.
Yes, tape. Resourceful mamas all over Pinterest are using this souped-up version of old-fashioned white athletic tape to hoist their baby bumps, giving support and stability to muscles and joints. This adhesive, elastic, often colorful tape is much more stretchy than athletic tape, and can stay put for two, even three days if used correctly. Strategically applied to the abdomen and/or back, it is especially helpful in relieving round ligament pain, that sharp jab in the lower abdomen or groin.
If you need heavy duty support (twins, anyone?), look to a maternity support belt with an abdominal support pad that tucks under your belly and an upper tummy strap. These can be found in many department and maternity stores, including Motherhood Maternity.