Pregnancy is one of the most sensitive phases a woman can experience in her lifetime. If you’re reading this, chances are you already have a baby growing inside of you, or are at least planning to have one soon. When this beautiful, complex, yet nothing short of wonderful event takes place, a lot of changes will also happen to your body.
One such change includes the inevitable size increase of your abdomen, or as what most people call it, a baby bump. This transformation is one of many that is capable of incapacitating you to some degree, leading to some posture problems, or hip and back discomforts. To help with these, you can wear a prenatal support brace, which will be further discussed below.
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- 1 What is a prenatal support brace?
- 2 Types of Prenatal Support Brace
- 3 How safe are prenatal support braces?
- 4 Benefits of Wearing a Prenatal Support Brace
What is a prenatal support brace?
A prenatal support brace is, simply put, a wearable device that aims to alleviate pressure on a pregnant woman’s center of gravity, lower back, and lower abdomen. This can come in different forms. Some are a single strap, while others have extra fabrics or belts to offer more reinforcement.
Although a prenatal support brace is not a mandatory measure, the benefits it can provide are too good to pass upon or to at least not try out. At the start of your pregnancy, this device is not that impactful. Getting a prenatal support brace when you have a considerable baby tummy is most ideal, since you’ll have a better gauge on what product size will work best for you through the remaining months, and this will be the point at which you are starting to struggle with your weight.
Types of Prenatal Support Brace
As mentioned above, prenatal support can have different builds. Generally, there are three that you can currently choose from when it comes to this device. One of the options is the single strap, another is the extra support belt, and lastly, the full prenatal cradle.
Each variety has its own ideal use and indication, which can all factor in on which type is optimal for your pregnancy form. You have to remember, pregnant women and their babies develop differently, meaning the way your tummy will grow may not be the same as that of others. The best prenatal support brace for you isn’t necessarily a good one for someone else. To get a better perspective on all three types, here are some brief descriptions for each:
As its name suggests, this type of prenatal brace is made from one stretchable belt. It is the easiest to wear around your lower abdomen and back, and also cheaper than the other two. The quality will mostly depend on the fabric used. As for the securing mechanism, it can come with either an adjustable Velcro strap or eye hooks.
Because of its straightforward design, a single strap maternity brace doesn’t have the strongest of support, particularly for the back. If you’re in the early stage of pregnancy, or if your baby bump is not that heavy even if you’re already in your late 2nd trimester, this type might work. Otherwise, you might have to go for some added support, or else your back is going to suffer.
Extra Support Belt
Unlike the previous type, this one has the advantage of an added strap or belt. Although it is still worn across almost the same way as the single strap, this time it has another band to support your upper abdomen. Furthermore, the extra support belt also typically has a wider rear coverage, unlike the single strap that only has a limited hold of the lower back area.
The added strap that wraps across the top abdomen will give you that much-needed fortification to better hold your growing belly in place. As for the wider back wrap, it will help you maintain an optimal posture for longer periods. If you have an average to above average baby bump size, then this type will do wonders. Most units of this type can also be adjusted after being donned so that it can accommodate almost any pregnant body frame.
Full Prenatal Cradle
Out of all the three prenatal support types, this one yields the most buttressing. It is considered an ultra-supportive maternity brace, one that goes beyond holding just your lower abdomen and lower back. Aside from the same protection the two aforementioned types give, this one now extends similar support to your upper back and shoulders.
Through the use of the extra shoulder and upper back straps, your belly is guaranteed to stay in place and not weigh you down. It will also help you achieve better postures when doing daily activities. This type of prenatal support brace is usually recommended for pregnant women that have larger-than-average baby bellies, the likes that are usually seen in twin-carrying mothers.
Expectant mothers with underlying conditions such as hip separation or weakened pelvis can also greatly benefit from this type of maternity support brace. However, the OB-GYNE must be consulted first. In fact, you should always check in with your doctor whenever you plan on wearing a supportive device, regardless of what kind it is.
How safe are prenatal support braces?
These wearable gears are aimed for therapeutic and preventive use, so they are considered generally safe to wear. But, there are some important considerations that you should be mindful of before you start donning one. A fine example of such concerns is the duration of use.
Ideally, a brace for prenatal support should be worn for no more than 4 hours daily. The reason for this is to lessen the likelihood of muscle dependency, therefore allowing your body to adapt to any ongoing bodily changes naturally.
Another thing to consider is any underlying disorders. If you suffer from a condition that affects any area important in pregnancy, such as the pelvis, then consulting your OB-GYNE is advisable to come up with the best and safest approach. Last but not least, these devices will not harm your growing baby, so long as it is appropriately utilized.
Benefits of Wearing a Prenatal Support Brace
There are a lot of advantages you can get from wearing this supportive accessory. A lot of which has something to do with relieving pain, as well as correcting body mechanics. To gain a deeper insight as to what these benefits are, here’s a list of some of the most notable ones:
You probably feel pain on a monthly basis as a woman, markedly because you have your menstrual cycle to deal with. But, pregnancy poses a different level of pain, not just during, but even after giving birth.
The majority of pregnancy pains are brought by the increase of abdominal size. As your belly bump grows, so does the pressure inflicted on your lower back. But, with the use of a prenatal support brace, such burden is lightened while also offering an optimal lift to your large belly, thus resulting in better pain relief.
As your baby grows, your uterus expands to make room for your baby, which can result in abdominal discomforts. This device can help manage such distress by applying a gentle compression on your abdomen. However, do keep in mind that too much firmness might impede your circulation, which is not good for you nor your baby.
Promote proper posture
Because of the added weight at your front, there are only two apparent ways your back will go: either give in to the excess load and slouch or try to compensate by arching. Regardless, both positions can put immense strain on your back. But, with the use of this support brace, you’re less likely to slouch involuntarily, while also helping you keep a good bend posture.
Allows activities of daily living
The later you go into your pregnancy, the harder it will be to do your usual daily routine or chores. Moreover, exercise, which can yield a plethora of health benefits, will also be a difficulty when you’re pregnant. Thankfully, the pain relief and stability that a prenatal support brace can give are sufficient enough to help you comfortably continue these daily acts.
Promote good circulation
When properly fitted, this specific support brace can apply and retain therapeutic heat to your back and abdominal area. Such warmth will then stimulate your blood vessels to open up, thus increasing the transport of blood. This will deliver optimal oxygenation and supplementation not only to your weakened muscles for faster tissue repair but more importantly; it will keep your growing baby well-nourished.
Usable even after birth
Another perk of having this type of wearable support gear is the fact that you can still benefit from it even after you’ve delivered your baby. Naturally, after you give birth, your uterus will not immediately go back to its normal state. The same can also be said for your abdomen, especially if you delivered via cesarean section.
Depending on your physician, you’ll be ordered to wear prenatal support again either right after your procedure, or when you’re about to be discharged. Either way, the purpose remains more or less the same, which is to help your weakened core recuperate with the least discomfort.