As an athletic person, and now an athletic mom, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to stay active as long as I did during my pregnancy. I had few restrictions when it came to the end of my pregnancy, and moving was not one of them. My last trimester was pretty busy and included graduating from grad school, a wedding and honeymoon, moving across country, and living in a city without a car. Throughout this transition I had no choice but to keep moving, which I attribute my great pregnancy and birth to. One of the restrictions I did experience was the weight of my pregnant belly was getting to be a little much. I started to think that I might need a little more support for my growing bump and to help relieve my back as well.
Lucky for me, I had already been introduced to an elastic therapeutic athletic tape that helps support different structures. It has been widely used in professional sports for several common issues like shoulder and arm support, or leg and knee support. While it is most commonly used by athletes in various sports, this tape can also be used to help support the pregnant belly. And that is just what I did. My husband, Dr. Ryan Hamilton, helped tape my belly with this elastic therapeutic tape and I had great relief from the weight of my ever growing belly.
Now some of you might be wondering why I didn’t buy a pregnancy belt to help support my belly. So here are some reasons I did not opt for a pregnancy belt.
Pregnancy belts can be constricting. As the belts are worn low around the pelvis it can constrict those structures it wraps around, like the hips, sacrum, or pubic symphysis, leading to limited mobility, which is something we want to avoid.
Pregnancy belts are recommended to be worn 2-3 hours a day, leaving you with minimal time to get relief.
Wearing the belt can allow the muscles to become dependent on the belt and “turn off” or become less engaged. As the belt acts as a support for the pregnant belly it gives the muscles the opportunity to be used less, so they are less engaged, and have a harder time when the belt is removed to continue to support the pelvis, belly and low back.
Wearing a pregnancy belt can put more pressure on the uterus, surrounding organs, and nerves. This can lead to a condition called Meralgia paresthetica, which is when someone feels tingling, numbness, or burning in the upper thigh due to the compression of the nerve that supplies the sensation of the skin.
Now, here are some reason why I opted to use the athletic tape for extra support.
The tape is made to be worn all day and night for 3-5 days at a time. This gives you extra support for 24 hours a day for as long as the tape stays adhered. You can even shower with it on.
When wearing the tape, since it is placed on your pregnant belly, it is out of the way of joints or bones, which means it does not inhibit mobility or constrict movement. It also will not put extra strain or pressure on any organs or nerves because of where it is placed.
The tape allows for regular movement and moves with you. Because it was created for athletes to use during athletic events, it is made to be used while you continue your regular routine whether that is at work, exercising, or relaxing.
The tape acts as a support by gently lifting the pregnant belly to help give relief to the low back and pelvis. Adding that little extra lift can help bring posture back closer to normal and help with the center of gravity change.
The convenience of the tape allowed me to continue to be active, but also have the support I needed. In the review Effectiveness of maternity support belts in reducing low back pain during pregnancy: a review, they found that support belts may or may not help support the low back and they may even have adverse effects, such as increased pain, discomfort, and fetal heart rate changes. In a separate pilot study done by BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth they found that between a rigid pregnancy support belt and a flexible pregnancy support belt people preferred the flexible support belt and reported having less pain and discomfort. Taping is a flexible and easy way to get that support you may be looking for. While I attribute my smooth, non-complicated birth to being active and getting adjusted all the way up to birth, athletic taping was an added support to keep me active.
If you are looking for support belts for your pregnancy, consider using elastic athletic tape. We offer pregnancy support taping at Hamilton Chiropractic in Belmont, California and we would love to share more about it with you. Pregnancy belts can be expensive, but taping is minimal with much better results.
Effectiveness of maternity support belts in reducing low back pain during pregnancy: a review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19490291
Adherence, tolerance and effectiveness of two different pelvic support belts as a treatment for pregnancy-related symphyseal pain - a pilot randomized trial https://bmcpregnancychildbirth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12884-015-0468-5