More often than not, along with the joys of pregnancy and the anticipation of motherhood, comes physical discomfort. As your abdomen begins to expand to accommodate your growing baby, an aching in your back and pelvic region can begin to develop as the muscles and ligaments begin to soften in preparation for childbirth. For some women, supportive relief can be found in wearing a maternity belt.
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What a Maternity Belt is
A maternity belt is made of elastic and expands to fit the size of your pregnant tummy. Just as maternity clothing is sold in various sizes--such as small, medium and large--so are maternity belts. Colours also vary. Cotton is often used in the manufacturing of maternity belts because it is breathable and its soft texture is comfortable on your skin (see link in Resources).
In its simplest form, a maternity belt is intended to be worn under your tummy, and around your back. But, some versions also offer a second band that extends above the belly and around the back for added support. Some women who are active prefer a maternity belt that has a wide range of support, opting for what is called a "belly bra." In fact, bellybra.com reports that this form of maternity belt offers superior support for the abdomen and lower back (see link in Resources).
The Correct Fit
Maternity belts are often not returnable, so it is important you choose the correct size when purchasing. In fact, a proper fit measurement should be based on the fullest portion of your tummy (see link in Resources). In some cases, manufacturers will also ask for the measurements of your hips and waist for a more perfect fit.
Before investing in any type of maternity belt, it is wise to speak to your obstetrician. Although maternity belts are intended to relieve pain and discomfort, it is advisable to make sure that your discomforts are just normal pregnancy woes.
Maternity belts can also serve as a helpful means of support for your abdomen even after your baby is born. A maternity belt can continue to lift your stomach muscles as they begin to revert back to normal (see link in Resources). In fact, performing abdominal exercises when your obstetrician gives the approval, and wearing a maternity belt in between, can help to flatten and tone up your tummy.
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