A baby’s birth is a lot of hard work by your body. It can also leave you experience a lot of changes and physical complications. Among several complaints from pregnant women, back pain is quite common. Almost 50 percent of women experience pain at some point during their pregnancy. While posture plays a huge part in mitigating the pain, an abdominal belt – also known as a pregnancy belt – can be quite handy.
Most individuals have no idea what it is or how it might benefit them. So, we are here to explain how to use an abdominal belt and its advantages. Health Shots spoke to Dr Archana Dhawan Bajaj – Gynecologist, Obstetrician, and IVF Expert, Nurture Clinic, New Delhi, to take an expert’s advice on using an abdominal belt during pregnancy.
Dr Bajaj says, “Giving birth is physically challenging and takes a toll on the body. One of the most affected areas is the abdominal region, where the muscles stretch and weaken during pregnancy, making it difficult to return to pre-pregnancy shape. An abdominal belt is designed to help mothers-to-be back pain during pregnancy and so much more.”
What is an abdominal belt?
An abdominal belt, commonly referred to as a postpartum girdle, is a customised garment made to support the pelvic region and abdominal muscles during and even after pregnancy. It is made of stretchy and breathable materials like spandex or cotton that wrap around the waist and gently compress the abdomen.
Benefits of using an abdominal belt
Using an abdominal belt can have several benefits for new moms, including:
1. Supports abdominal muscles
The compression provided by an abdominal belt doesn’t put pressure on your belly; instead, it supports weakened abdominal muscles, reducing the risk of injury. Using it in your post-pregnancy phase can even help to speed up muscle recovery.
2. Reduces back pain
Many women experience back pain due to the strain placed on the back muscles during pregnancy and childbirth. Using an abdominal belt can help to redistribute the weight of the baby and provide support to the lower back, reducing pain and discomfort.
3. Reduces discomfort during exercise
It can also be helpful during any physical activity with a baby bump. It enables you to engage comfortably in everyday physical activities by supporting your abdomen. This can help in strengthening your abdominal muscles.
4. Improves posture
An abdominal belt provides torso and lower back support. As a result, it can promote good posture and prevent the lower back from overextension. In addition to wearing it while pregnant, wearing it after giving birth can help you restore the pre-pregnancy shape of the abdomen.
5. Cuts down risk of diastasis recti
Diastasis recti is a condition where the abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy, leaving a gap in the middle of the abdomen. Using an abdominal belt can help to bring the muscles back together, reducing the appearance of the gap and improving muscle strength.
How to use an abdominal belt?
Abdominal belts are specially designed for those pregnant women who are in the second and third trimesters. To use an abdominal belt properly, it is important to follow these guidelines:
Tip 1: Wait until your healthcare provider suggests you start using an abdominal belt. Post-pregnancy you can use it around six weeks after delivery, but it may vary depending on your situation.
Tip 2: Choose an abdominal belt that fits comfortably and securely. Make sure the belt is not too tight, as this can impede circulation and cause discomfort.
Tip 3: Adjust the belt as needed to ensure a proper fit. Some belts may have adjustable straps or closures that allow you to customize the fit.
Tip 4: Wear the abdominal belt for short periods at first, gradually increasing the amount of time you wear it each day. It’s important to listen to your body and not overdo it, especially in the early days after delivery. Discuss the timing with your doctor.
Tip 5: Remove the belt if you experience any discomfort or if it feels too tight. Remember that an abdominal belt should provide support, but not be so tight that it causes pain or discomfort.
Word of caution
Pay attention to all the instructions provided by your healthcare provider, including how often to wear the belt and when to stop wearing it. You must heed the counsel of your doctor because not enough study has been done to completely establish the advantages and disadvantages of abdominal belts.