Before you got pregnant, you heard a few things here and there about the discomforts of pregnancy: morning sickness, weird cravings, swollen feet. You probably didn’t think much of them. Now, you’re the one who is pregnant and the reality is much sharper and more uncomfortable than you imagined.
The last trimester’s aching hips and back, swollen, itchy belly, and sleep deprivation can make the toughest mom want o camp out on the couch until the baby comes. Indefinite suffering isn’t necessary. By using a maternity band, you can ease the pressure on your back and hips and support that sweet baby bump.
Why do I need a maternity band?
Most of us aren’t that super-fit mom with an 8-pack during the last trimester and exactly .4 pounds of fat gain — all in the breasts. Especially if you’ve already had a baby or two, the likelihood is you have some degree of diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is a condition characterized by a separation of the abdominal muscles down the middle of the stomach. It’s the main contributor to the dreaded mom belly postpartum because the abdominals can’t support the tummy as well any longer.
If your abs can’t support your belly well postpartum, imagine what they’re going through with 10 pounds of baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid pushing from the inside. Your core muscles are the linking group that stabilizes your body so the other muscle groups can function efficiently, and now it’s under extreme pressure.
A belly band helps take the load off your core muscles by taking some of the baby’s weight. It helps diminish back and hip pain because those groups take on additional work, trying to compensate for your weak core. The less those muscles have to overcurrent, the less pain you’ll feel during your pregnancy.
What am I looking for?
Every mama needs different levels of support for her baby bump depending on her age, pre-pregnancy physical condition, individual pregnancy circumstances, and weight. Even which stage of pregnancy you’re in helps decide which band you should buy.
If you’re suffering from severe back pain, or have an extra-large belly from a big baby or multiples, a band with straps, called a support cradle, may be the most effective option. On the other hand, you may only need a little extra oomph, and a small band will work.
Ultimately, you want to make sure you purchase one made of quality materials, with good construction. Most support belts can be added on to if you need additional relief down the road.
What are the benefits of using maternity bands?
Belly bands take the load off during pregnancy. Easing the pressure from your baby helps to lessen round ligament pain, the ligaments that stretch through the core, and keep your bump up.
Added support can also prevent herniated discs, sciatica, and painful pelvic pressure. While nothing is a magic cure-all, alleviating these unpleasant pregnancy symptoms makes the whole experience more enjoyable and safe.
How do I use one?
Belly bands are easy to use, I promise. Depending on the model you choose, you may only have to slip an elastic band on – think tube top, but for your belly. Others open up and are wrapped around your tummy, securing with velcro.
If you opt for a support cradle, things get a little more complicated. You’ll have to wrap the main support band around your lower stomach and back, first, then fasten the velcro. Next, you take the upper strap that encircles the top of your belly and bring it across to hook back to the main band.
If you’re a health-conscious, prenatal yoga class loving, butt-kicking mama, Gabrialla is thinking of you with this maternity belt. The gentle compression and extra high back on this one help you keep moving during your pregnancy. The tapered fit towards the front of your bump offers more comfort than some and keeps undue pressure off your diaphragm, letting you breathe through that run.
Medicare covers the Gabrialla elastic maternity belt, and it’s FDA approved for pregnancy support. All their accolades are undoubtedly impressive, but the best feature has to be the pocket in the back for a heat or ice pack. That this is even an option is the best thing to happen to pregnancy gear, ever.
The sizes range from small to XX-large. You buy based on your pre-pregnancy size and can adjust the velcro closures outwards as your pregnancy progresses. Wearing it snugly helps you run or exercise as comfortably as anyone can during pregnancy.
- Stays cool during a workout.
- Doesn’t slide around.
- Full lower back support.
- The sizes run rather small.
- There’s a lot of adjusting required to wear it.
Rheane’s designers must have done this pregnancy thing because they definitely know what makes moms-to-be happy. Their support band comes with an elastic pants extender to keep your pre-pregnancy pants closed and save you from an embarrassing situation. And hey, no one will ever know if you pull the band down over the gaping fly of your pants. We don’t judge, mama.
Rheane’s rendition of the pregnancy band has good airflow thanks to its 92% cotton makeup. You want that little bit of spandex that makes up the rest though, that’s what hugs your belly and supports that sweet baby you’re growing. They’ve even tried to solve all the problems by including a silicone strip along the bottom hem to prevent sliding.
The back support is not as significant with this band, if that’s been your problem area, don’t expect substantial relief. You can rely on it, though, for help with round ligament pain and reducing pressure on your bladder.
- Pregnancy and post-partum support.
- Breathable cotton and spandex mesh.
- Fits a broad range of sizes.
- Some users felt it shifted too much during use.
If you were turned off in the past by belly bands that rolled down when you sat or moved, Donna Elite’s support belt may be what you were hoping for back then. Silicone bands keep the belt securely in ace while you go about your day. If you’re a very active mama, it will save your sanity, putting a stop to the constant adjustments.
The cotton fabric is naturally breathable, and the hook and loop closure is secure. You get a good level of support for the tummy using the maternity belt, too, which is especially important if you’re having a lot of pain.
One of the best things about the Donna Elite belt is that you can use it as a post-partum support belt as well. Getting the pre-pregnancy body back is no easy task, especially if you have diastasis recti, as we discussed earlier. Keeping those muscles knot together will help them heal properly as you recover from giving birth.
- The belt runs larger than average, going to 52″.
- Comes with band extenders for bras.
- Can be used while exercising.
- Not machine washable.
Belevation has made the classic maternity support band. The stretchy, breathable fabric provides a gentle, lightweight lift for your belly. There are sizes for just about anyone, ranging from 0 to 26.
This band is an excellent solution for mamas who need a bit of help to ease typical pregnancy aches and pains. It isn’t the most bracing band on the list, so it may not work as well if you’re experiencing an unusual pregnancy. That can include herniated discs or a compromised core.
If you’re fortunate, however, not to suffer any debilitating ailments, you’ll likely enjoy using the Belevation band. It wicks moisture and helps smooth your baby bump. It can be useful for extending your pre-pregnancy clothes, hiding that zipper you just can’t quite get up anymore.
- No closures to adjust.
- The light mesh allows good airflow.
- Some users experience loss of elasticity over the day.
- Sizes run large.
Ladies who struggled with shifting using a different belly band will appreciate Leward’s belly brace. The addition of a strap over the top of the belly helps lift your baby bump and prevent the brace from rolling down when you sit. The gentle lift is especially lovely if you’re having multiples, and your belly has taken on a life of its own.
Ventilation across the back and sides is a good thought since the whole brace is constructed of cotton- and nylon-lined laminate. The material is not exactly breathable, so Leward has done what they can to help you regulate your temperature while wearing their belt. Eight months pregnant in August only has to be so miserable, mama.
- Serious belly support.
- Ventilation panels allow airflow.
- Most women need to remove it before using the restroom.
- No size chart available for purchasing help.
And the winner is….
Gabrialla’s maternity belt takes the win! As far as function, quality of materials, and pure relief from pregnancy pain, Gabrialla rises above the rest. Because they fueled their product development into providing a product for active moms, they really nailed it for all mothers. If it can stand up to the extreme, you know it will keep you comfortable if you’re taking it easy, too.
Taking the whole picture of a woman’s discomfort into account, Gabrialla hit all the right notes. Back and hip pain are diminished by proper bracing and support of the lumbar spine. Amen! Pressure on the round ligaments is removed from the snug hug around the lower belly. No more sharp jolts of ligament pain. Another amen! With this maternity band, you can buy one and be done.