3 Pregnancy Belly Support Solutions to Know

In late pregnancy, it can seem like everything hurts. Belly bands, maternity belts, or tape may offer the support your body needs.

pregnant belly in shadows

As you enter your third trimester, your growing bump seems to throw everything out of whack. You're in the home stretch! And stretch is the operative word. Picking up something you drop, getting out of bed, standing in line, or even sitting can strain your back.

What's a pregnant person to do? One possible answer: Get some belly support. Read on to learn about who might need pregnancy belly support, how it helps, and the types of belly support available.

Who Needs Pregnancy Belly Support?

According to the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, hormonal changes, weight gain, and changes in the center of gravity during pregnancy can lead to spine curvature and pelvic tilting, resulting in low back and pelvic girdle pain. For most people, lower back pain begins in the second trimester, around 22 weeks, with 20% to 90% of pregnant people experiencing lower back pain and 16% to 25% experiencing pelvic girdle pain.

It's usually those in their second (or later) pregnancies who have the most discomfort, especially in their pelvis and back, says Samir Hage, D.O., an OB-GYN at Redlands Community Hospital in Redlands, California. He adds that those with jobs that involve near-constant standing, or near-constant sitting, benefit most from support.

People that routinely exercise—especially yoga and stretching—are less likely to have these late-pregnancy discomforts, says Dr. Hage. Of course, be sure to discuss exercise with a health care provider to be it's safe for you and your pregnancy.

Belly Support Considerations

Some find it incredibly helpful when carrying 10 to 30 additional pounds up front, while others are bothered by the constriction and heat, says Jay Goldberg, M.D., of Beverly Hills. "From a medical standpoint, it provides back support and may help with circulation."

Dr. Hage says anyone can benefit from extra support but cautions people to avoid using any 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 the benefits and risks may vary depending on some factors, including:

  • A person's weight
  • The type of exercise
  • Any underlying conditions
  • Previous injuries

For these reasons, it's best to talk to a health care provider before using a support band, especially during exercise.

Types of Belly Support

You don't have to suffer if your aching back is starting to make you miserable. In addition to the pregnancy belly supports listed below, some people also find relief from:

There are several types of pregnancy belly support, each with its own approach. What works for each person is often a personal preference.

1. Pregnancy belly band

One of the more popular options is a wide, adjustable belly band worn under your belly. On top of providing back, hip, and abdomen support, it takes the pressure off the bladder.

According to a 2019 systematic review, the benefits of these types of bands are that they are:

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean
  • Dimensionally stable
  • Dirt-resistant

However, they are often made from fibers that do not adequately absorb moisture, which can make you hot and sweaty and even lead to skin irritation. It's best to use these (and all belts) in moderation, maybe a few hours at a time.

2. Kinesiology tape

Yes, tape. Resourceful parents all over use 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, and often colorful tape is stretchier than athletic tape and can stay put for a long time if used correctly. Strategically applied to the abdomen or back, it is especially helpful in relieving round ligament pain, that sharp jab in the lower abdomen or groin.

In a 2017 study published in Medical Science Monitor, researchers found that treating with Kinesio taping decreased low back pain significantly compared to placebo. The therapeutic effects started on the second day after beginning taping and lasted for two days after the tape was removed. Talk about lasting relief.

3. Maternity belt

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 stores, maternity stores, and online retailers.

These belts are typically wider on the back, which can be great for stability. However, some people find the extra fabric uncomfortable and may find it more difficult to remove when using the bathroom or changing clothes.

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