Abi Smith finds out if a ‘bump band’ will help ease her pregnancy back strain…
Having sailed through my previous two pregnancies with a fairly compact bump and no health issues, it came as a surprise that my third was so different. My bump was visible from the word go – before my 12-week scan, members of my family were convinced it was twins. And from fairly early on, I felt my lower back starting to ache after long periods of being on my feet.
When just one heartbeat was confirmed at my first scan (I won’t lie, I let out a little sigh of relief!), I was told that, as this was my third pregnancy, I shouldn’t be surprised that I had a big bump, as everything had been stretched a little bit more. And while running around after my two children, Lily, five, and Henry, two, was keeping me fairly fit, my back was definitely starting to feel the strain.
Over half of women experience back pain at some point in their pregnancy
So, at 30 weeks and feeling like my bump needed some extra support, I decided to investigate pregnancy support belts. Over half of women experience back pain at some point in their pregnancy. The range of support belts is pretty extensive. You can get ‘over-bump bands’, which cover the whole of your tummy. Then there are ones that sit underneath it and have a single strap that wraps over the top of your bump. Plus, there are belts that just sit under your bump.
I was looking for something that would give my bump support and ‘lift’. I felt it was sitting quite low, which made it particularly uncomfortable on the school run or when walking the dog. The support also had to be flexible enough to allow chasing after a toddler.
After a little research online, I opted for a JoJo Maman Bébé Maternity Support Belt (£24, jojomamanbebe.co.uk). This ‘medical grade support belt’ aims to ‘help relieve tension on the lower back, supporting the abdomen during pregnancy’. The Velcro fastening at the front made it easy to put on and adjust. I liked that it sat under my bump rather than covering my tummy, as I think that would have been fairly itchy.
The back panel wrapped around my lower back and immediately made it feel more supported. And thanks again to the Velcro, I could tighten or loosen it, depending on the level of support I needed at a particular time.
There was never a point when I ‘forgot’ I was wearing it
It took a couple of days to get used to wearing it. There was never a point when I ‘forgot’ I was wearing it, as it sometimes rode up at the back when I was sitting, so needed adjusting. And bending over was tricky if I had the Velcro panel too tightly fastened.
The support is designed to wear over your knickers but underneath your normal clothes, so choosing a top was a bit of an issue. It was fine to wear under a baggy tee, but there was no hiding it under a top that was even slightly fitted. The warmer weather we were experiencing meant I had to make sure the summery tops I chose were loose enough to not give me any weird-looking lumps and bumps.
Looks aside, after a couple of days the belt became an essential part of my wardrobe
Looks aside, after a couple of days the belt became an essential part of my wardrobe. It was comfy to wear and I felt it gave me a good level of ‘lift’ and support. I had less back pain, which was very welcome. I found it more useful when I was walking. I’d often take it off when sitting. It was easily folded away in my handbag if I was out and didn’t need it. It was also washable, which was good, as wearing it under clothes in warmer weather meant I got slightly sweaty.
Overall, I was pleased with the support and will use it until I give birth. There won’t be any more opportunities to wear it after this pregnancy (panic not, Mr Smith!), so I already have it earmarked as
a pass-on-to-a-friend pregnancy gift.