Being pregnant is a beautiful time for most women, however as the pregnancy progresses many women start to feel the strain in their body from carrying around a child. Pregnancy belts, also known as maternity belts, can be beneficial in supporting the growing belly to help ease lower back pain and any abdominal pain that may arise while carrying the baby to term.
- 1 BENEFITS OF MATERNITY BELTS
- 2 HOW TO MAKE A MATERNITY BELT AT HOME
BENEFITS OF MATERNITY BELTS
There are several reasons to wear a maternity belt. We have outlined the main benefits of wearing a maternity belt below.
MATERNITY BELTS DECREASE PAIN AND DISCOMFORT
Back pain is common amongst pregnant women, specifically those who are in their final trimester. A study in the Spine Journal reported that nearly 71 percent of pregnant women report low back pain during pregnancy.
Much of this low back pain is attributed to the weight that is being carried in the belly, which is why wearing a maternity belt can be so helpful. Maternity belts sit just under the belly or belly button, providing support to hold the belly up, releasing tension on the lower back.
MATERNITY BELTS PROVIDE GENTLE COMPRESSION AND STABILITY
The gentle compression from a maternity belt can help to support the uterus and make daily activities more comfortable. Though comfortable compression offers support for the belly, too much compression can be harmful. Be sure not to cinch the belly band too tight – this could lead to indigestion or heart burn!
MATERNITY BELTS SUPPORT PROPER POSTURE
Carrying a heavy weight on the front of your body can cause a few posture issues. Slouched shoulders and a “sway back” are typical drawbacks of pregnancy as the baby grows and becomes a heavier weight on the front of the body. Wearing a maternity belt supports the belly while also encouraging the muscles to remain upright and strong, correcting posture.
It is important to note however that maternity bands should not be relied on all day long. A dependency upon them could lead to an even weaker body, so wear the supportive belt for only a few hours at a time to allow your body time to adjust and support itself.
MATERNITY BELTS PROVIDE SUPPORT DURING EXERCISE
Think of a maternity band as a sports bra – no woman would dare exercise without a sports bra as it can be very uncomfortable. The same can be said for a maternity belt. As the baby and belly grow it can be quite uncomfortable to be active. Staying active and exercising while pregnant is one of the best ways to ensure a healthy pregnancy, helping to avoid gestational diabetes, hypertension and even depression.
MATERNITY BELTS CAN BE HELPFUL AFTER DELIVERY
A decrease in core strength is common following delivery and the weeks after. The stretched and pulled abdominal muscles become weak postpartum, which can result in pain and discomfort. Pregnancy can also lead to a separation of the abdominal muscles known as diastasis recti. Wearing a maternity belt can help to bring the muscles back together.
HOW TO MAKE A MATERNITY BELT AT HOME
Though there are many varieties of quality maternity belts on the market, a maternity belt can easily be made at home. The homemade maternity belt might not have all of the benefits as one bought from a store, so it is important to be aware of your own needs before choosing to make a maternity belt.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 1/2 yard mid-weight woven cotton fabric, preshrunk
- 16″ length of 2″ wide elastic (cut into two 8″ pieces, then sealed together with heat)
- 24″ length of velcro loop tape (cut into two 12″ lengths)
- 8″ velcro hook tape (cut into four 2″ lengths)
- needle and thread
Cut two rectangles of fabric that is 22″ by 12″. Fold both rectangles right sides together along the 22″ length. You should now see the wrong side of two 6″ by 22″ rectangles. Fold each 22″ long open end back up to the fold.
For the front part, take one folded rectangle and stitch along each short end, securing together all four layers. Flip it inside out and topstitch along the perimeter. Center the 12″ strips of loop in the middle of the rectangle, spacing them so the outer edges are 2″ apart and stitch them on all sides.
For the back part take the remaining folded rectangle and tuck one piece of elastic into the center fold on each short side.
Stitch the short ends through all layers and then flip so that all the raw edges are tucked inside with the elastic sticking out of the ends. Topstitch around the perimeter. Fold each end of the elastic towards the fabric, leaving 2″ of single layer elastic and 3″ of double layer. Place one 2″ section of the velcro hoop tape over the edge of the elastic and stitch it into place. Stitch another 2″ piece at the fold of the elastic. Repeat at the other end.
Now that your homemade maternity belt is made, put it on and feel the relief! Remember not to become too dependent on your maternity belt by wearing it constantly. If making your own maternity belt at home isn’t something you are interested in, be sure to check out this list of quality maternity belts to help support your growing belly.