Pregnancy can be one of the most amazing periods in a woman's life. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most uncomfortable. There's morning sickness, swollen ankles, weight gain -- and that's just a sampling of the physical toll pregnancy can take on a woman's body. There is, however, a plethora of products and clothing designed to help ease the burden, too. One of these products is a belly band, and it might be one of the most versatile pieces of clothing a pregnant woman can own.
An easy way to describe a belly band is to call it a tube top that goes around your stomach. Essentially it's just a large band of elastic fabric. They've become quite popular in recent years, and as a result you can get them in almost every color and style imaginable. Some have Velcro fasteners that make them adjustable, and others come in sizes just like a t-shirt or a blouse. Whichever kind you get, they can actually do a lot more than just help you look fashionable when your stomach starts growing.
Belly bands have a variety of practical uses. They can extend the length of time you wear your pre-pregnancy clothing, which can save you money [source: O'Dell]. Belly bands can also help provide you with much-needed back support to help you sleep better at night, and they can help keep your midsection looking smooth.
To find out more about how and why you might want to use a belly band while you're pregnant, read on to the next page.
Belly Band Uses
A woman's body can change significantly during pregnancy, and that often means normal clothes won't fit anymore. No matter how hard you fight it, there will probably come a point in your pregnancy when you realize you can no longer button your favorite pair of jeans because of your expanding stomach. That's when a lot of women turn to belly bands. They can actually extend the length of time you wear your normal clothes by hiding the fact that you can't zip your fly. You simply slide the belly band up over your jeans until it covers the zipper and buttons along with your stomach. It should hold your pants in place, even though you can't fasten them [source: O'Dell].
Aside from helping you get more use out of your pre-pregnancy clothes, belly bands can also help give you added back support. As your baby grows, you'll be carrying more weight in your abdomen, and that will inevitably put more strain on your lower back. Some belly bands are designed specifically to give you extra support during your pregnancy.
Belly bands may make you more comfortable with your appearance as well. They can add a smoothing layer to your outfit that may help minimize your stomach's appearance.
Keep reading to find out how belly bands can help ease some of the pain and discomfort you may have while you're pregnant.
Can Belly Bands Help With Pain?
It's common for women to experience back pain during pregnancy. This can happen for a number of different reasons. During pregnancy, your body increases production of certain hormones that are meant to help prepare you for birth. Unfortunately, these hormones also relax certain muscles and ligaments that normally give you back support. To make matters worse, you'll be carrying extra weight as your pregnancy develops, and your center of gravity will change as your baby grows inside you. This will probably change your posture, and your body may be sore as it adjusts [source: American Pregnancy].
Belly bands may help you alleviate some of the discomfort associated with all these changes in your body. The key is finding a belly band that is specifically designed to give you the added back support you need. Some belly bands are solely meant to cover your bump and help keep your clothes on. A belly band designed with extra support, however, can help you maintain good posture and take some of the burden off of your back [sources: American Pregnancy, Weiss].
Just keep in mind that you shouldn't rely on a belly band alone for added support. It's still a good idea to do exercises to keep your muscles in shape [source: Weiss].
For lots more information on belly bands, pregnancy and related topics, check out the links on the next page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Pregnancy Association. "Back Pain." March 2007 (Accessed 01/12/10).http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/backpain.html
- Chaddha, Jaswant S. MD. "Pregnancy and Weight Gain." WebMD. August 01, 2007 (Accessed 01/12/10http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/healthy-weight-gain
- Coile, D. Caroline Ph.D. "The Yorkshire Terrier Handbook." Google Books. 2003 (Accessed 01/12/10).http://books.google.com/books?id=yA6D9zzhv4wC&pg=PA45&dq=belly+bands+for+dogs&ei=mdRMS_W9BpG8lAS095mbDQ&client=safari&cd=5#v=onepage&q=belly%20bands%20for%20dogs&f=false
- O'Dell, Nancy. Full of Life: Mom-to-Mom Tips I Wish Someone Had Told Me When I Was Pregnant." Google Books. 2009 (Accessed 01/12/10).http://books.google.com/books?id=CkcWbCPS6o4C&pg=PT53&dq=belly+bands+for+pregnancy&ei=MAVMS9nKMo2OkATEsZmgDQ&client=safari&cd=6#v=onepage&q=&f=false
- Ricci, Susan Scott & Terri Kyle. "Maternity and Pediatric Nursing." Google Books. 2008 (Accessed 01/12/10).http://books.google.com/books?id=gaYtFuND7VIC&dq=belly+bands+and+umbilical+hernia&source=gbs_navlinks_s
- TIME. "Medicine: Prodigious Pregnancy." March 05, 1945 (Accessed 01/12/10).http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,797153,00.html
- Weiss, Robin Elise. "The Everything Pregnancy Fitness Book." Google Books. 2004 (Accessed 01/12/10).http://books.google.com/books?id=moQFXbNQujYC&pg=PT134&dq=belly+bands+for+pregnancy&ei=MAVMS9nKMo2OkATEsZmgDQ&client=safari&cd=2#v=onepage&q=belly%20bands%20for%20pregnancy&f=false