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Pregnancy Girdle: How to Find the Best Pregnancy Support Belt

Updated on May 7, 2012
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A pregnancy girdle can be a life saver for many pregnant women. It's no secret pregnancy comes with a fair share of discomfort, some of it expected, but some pain may take you by surprise. For some women bidding farewell to the morning sickness of the first trimester is a huge relief. But, just as they begin celebrating that milestone comes a whole new battle: the rapidly growing belly. As the baby grows and your uterus stretches, an enormous amount of pressure is put on your back, hips, pelvis, abdomen, bladder and even your legs. A pregnancy belt can provide a surprising amount of relief as you enter your second and third trimesters. As a woman who carried twins, I can attest to the pain relief.

If you find regular stretching exercises aren't enough to relieve your pain, a maternity belt may provide that extra support and comfort you need. If you find you just need light support, a maternity girdle may be the right choice for you.

Maternity Girdle
Maternity Girdle
Standard Pregnancy Belt
Standard Pregnancy Belt
Pregnancy Belt with Optional Upper Abdominal Strap
Pregnancy Belt with Optional Upper Abdominal Strap
Prenatal Cradle
Prenatal Cradle

Benefits of a Pregnancy Girdle

A pregnancy girdle can provide more than just pain relief for women in the later stages of pregnancy. You might be surprised by some of the benefits:

  • Decreased pelvic and groin pain: The pelvic joints are under a lot of stress during pregnancy. Your pelvis consists of a number of bones (called the pelvic girdle) attached by joints that normally disallow any movement or shifting. During pregnancy, the ligaments and muscles that support the three bones in the pelvic girdle relax, due to a hormone called relaxin. As a result these bones move more, causing pain and inflammation, a condition known as symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). A rare, but related disorder is called diastasis symphysis pubis (DSP) occurs when the gap between the pubic bones widens too far, due to the joint stretching out. A pregnancy belt helps support these lax ligaments and muscles, decreasing joint movement and thereby keeping pain and inflammation under bay.
  • Decreased Back Pain Most women anticipate at least some degree of back pain during pregnancy, however, for some it can become incapacitating. The compression provided by maternity belts can relieve lower lumbar pain and even sciatica, if present.
  • Reduced Bladder Pressure One of the more common annoyances during pregnancy is the frequent need to urinate. A pregnancy belt can relieve pressure on the bladder.
  • Decreased Leg Swelling
  • Decreased Hip Pain

Types of Pregnancy Belts and Girdles

A pregnancy girdle offers the least amount of abdominal support, but is the perfect choice for women who need that extra bit of support. Many have built-in waistbands that lift the abdomen, while they support the back. They readily expand to the growing abdomen. One type of maternity girdle resembles a camisole that supports the breasts, upper and lower abdomen, as well as the back. It's a full torso support garment that is seamless under clothes. The most popular brand of a camisole-type maternity girdle is called the BellyBra.

The standard pregnancy belt is made out of elastic and fits around the back and underneath the belly. It's adjustable to fit different size bellies and to grow with your expanding abdomen. They generally fasten with velcro, allowing an infinite number of sizing adjustments. Some, however have hook and loop closures. Most have stretch material to move with you and to provide comfort, some are padded for optimal comfort. The pregnancy belt provides medium support.

For even more support, you can choose one with an optional upper abdominal strap. The top strap provides an extra sense of support for some women, especially those who wish to decrease movement during exercise. These are normally three separate components that all attach together via velcro. They have an abdominal support pad that's essentially like a sling around the front, a rear support band that attaches to the front sling and the upper abdominal strap. Provides medium to maximum support, recommended for women carrying multiples or pregnant women who exercise.

Finally we arrive at the mother of all pregnancy belts, no pun intended! Commonly referred to as prenatal cradles, these provide the maximum support of any pregnancy belt. With a total of four points of support, the prenatal cradle helps to redistribute the weight of the abdomen naturally. The support points are: the criss cross design between the breasts that extends up to the shoulders, the side expanders that pull the front bands to the sides to allow for an open abdomen, the torso bands that lift both the front and back of the supportive band, and finally, the lower abdominal band that wraps around the hips. It successfully lifts the weight off the pelvic cradle while supporting the back. It provides maximum support for any pregnant women, and is a top choice for women carrying multiples.

What To Look For in a Pregnancy Belt

Your first consideration should be deciding upon the level of support you need. You should make your choice is accordance with the particular type of pain you are experiencing.

Some pregnancy belts and girdles have features that make them superior. Some have features that will increase the comfort, convenience and benefit to you. I've listed some good choices from Amazon for your convenience. They are all highly rated on Amazon or other sites, and best-selling items. Please note the items listed come in a variety of sizes for your convenience.

Look for ones that:

  • Are highly adjustable. On benefit of velcro is the infinite number of fittings available. If you opt for the hook and eye closure type, make sure there are numerous possible size adjustments.
  • Look for pregnancy belts with padding, they will be much more comfortable.
  • Look for ones that allow you to easily use the restroom.
  • Ones with stretchable fabric are not only more comfortable, but will give you a more custom fit.
  • Look for ones that provide ample back support, with a wide band in the back.
  • Look for ones with breathable fabric in the back. This helps keep you cool and sweat-free.
  • Look for ones you can use as a postpartum girdle, too.

Comments

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  • wordscribe43 profile imageAUTHOR

    Elsie Nelson 

    10 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

    Thanks, crescentaurora! I appreciate you coming by.

  • crescentaurora1 profile image

    crescentaurora1 

    10 years ago from Alameda, CA

    Great hub. Voted up!

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