If you're pregnant and have got growing tummy pains or simply feel like you need some extra belly support during your pregnancy, you may need to start looking for a pregnancy support belt or belly band. Doctors suggest that wearing pregnancy belts can possibly provide pain and fatigue relief during your pregnancy.
Pregnancy support belts are wide re-enforced fabric belts designed for support and comfort during your pregnancy. They fit just under your bump and help lift it up slightly, alleviating some of the weight from your tummy and back. If you walk a lot or are feeling uncomfortable during your pregnancy, or if you're expecting twins, you will probably want to invest in a pregnancy support belt.
Not to be confused with belly bands, which an item of clothing worn for comfort and coverage once your regular clothes stop fitting, which fit under your clothes like a pair of tights.
Similarly, belly belts or maternity belts can be for use either during your pregnancy or for extra support post-partum, so be sure to have identified your specific needs before making a purchase. Here, we'll discuss pregnancy belts for use during your pregnancy.
There is some debate about whether pregnancy belts are safe but generally speaking, if used properly, they are. For instance, it's not recommended to use a pregnancy or a maternity support belt while sleeping but you'll get plenty of use out of it when you're out and about.
However, like shapewear, pregnancy belts work by ultimately compressing the body which is obviously not a good idea for your little one, so it's important to find one that fits properly and is fully adjustable - always make sure to try a maternity belt on before you buy or check the returns policy.
Sherry A. Ross, MD, author of 'She-ology, The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period', says, "Maternity shapewear that is too tight and puts too much pressure on the body is never a good idea. If you have trouble breathing, or you're in pain while wearing your shapewear, that's a sign that it's probably too tight for you. Discomfort, pain, reduced blood circulation and heartburn are some of potential issues from maternity shapewear that is too tight or worn for prolonged periods of time."
In addition, prolonged use of a maternity belt can lead to reliance on it for support, which is counter productive. Instead, we should be focusing on developing our own core strength to support our bump and only use a pregnancy support belt as an extra aid. Other criticisms of using belts range from fastenings like velcro and poppers irritating skin or clothing, and regular adjustments throughout the day (like after eating or when sitting down and standing up) being an inconvenience.
Which is the best pregnancy support belt?
There are a lot of maternity belts and belly bands out there, but we've found the best ones. Here are our favourite pregnancy support belts that you can buy in the UK:
This pregnancy belt gives you a strong hold and doesn't roll down over your bump, which can happen with other maternity belts. The belt ranges from sizes 10 to 22. Another good thing about this belt is that it gently increases support as your tummy grows to make you comfortable all the way through your pregnancy.
This is a dedicated all-size support belt that can only be hand washed. This pregnancy belt has been specifically designed to be used while you’re travelling in the car, especially if you'll be seated for a long time, and you can attach it to the car seat belt for extra safety too.
This belt is designed to do two things: to support your belly and help get you in all those clothes that don’t quite fit during pregnancy, and, after your baby is born, support your breasts during breastfeeding on the go. It's machine washable and fits all sizes.
This belly band goes up to a 62-inch bump circumference, which makes it perfect for bigger bumps. It's also totally adjustable, so it will expand as you get bigger. This belt will help you correct any poor posture, with the extra benefit of a lifetime warranty to boot.
This is one of the best-rated support belts for pregnancy and maternity. It comes in sizes 8 to 26. Besides giving all the comfort you deserve it helps minimise stretch marks, relieve bladder discomfort, increase circulation and blood flow and decrease varicose veins, hernias, and haemorrhoids.
When carrying twins, you’ll likely need more support for your abdominal area, back, hip and pelvic region. This belt comes with four support bars so it can do all the heavy lifting you need. Babo Care gives you a 100% money-back guarantee if you're dissatisfied.
If you love wearing your jeans, this maternity belt can help you get the most comfort out of them and is almost invisible. Gabrialla is an American brand well-known in the USA and has received a lot of favourable reviews. This belt adds a fair amount of compression while keeping you comfortable.
This maternity belt is made with smooth stretchy fabric. It can be used for a longer time as it has elasticated fibres that stretch and relax with your body. Some mums say it’s so comfortable you can forget you are even wearing it.
This is a three-in-one set of maternity belts for after you give birth, with one belly band, one waist belt, and one pelvis belt which you wear at the same time. The advantage of wearing this set is that it speeds up the postpartum healing process. During this time you need a bit more pressure to heal, but this belt still manages to keep you very comfortable.
If you like running and want to keep doing it during pregnancy, this support belt will make you feel much more comfortable by protecting your belly and giving more support to your hips, back and pelvis as well as your belly. Another big advantage is that it's designed to keep you cool through those hot flushes.
Homemade support belt alternatives
If you're apprehensive about splashing out on one of the above products, you can give yourself some support using a homemade pregnancy support belt out of a scarf or sarong.
Which belly band would you recommend to other mums-to-be? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!
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