As your belly grows during pregnancy, so does your discomfort.
It’s like you can feel every pull and twinge from the weight of your heavy belly, and it can be a struggle to get things done without a little extra support. This is where a belly band can come to your rescue and eases some of that burden.
During pregnancy your clothes no longer fit you either, but belly bands can help with that, too. The right band will give you support, coverage, and a slightly smoother shape for your clothing to fit that little bit better.
Pregnancy can be hard work at times. But by carefully choosing the right supportive bands and belts, you’ll find comfort in nearly every situation, and give your poor body a break from the load it’s carrying.
|1. AZMED Maternity Belt||Best for Back Pain|
|2. Gabrialla Breathable Belt||Best for Casual Wear|
|3. Cabea Support Belt||Best for Pelvic Pain|
|4. Ingrid & Isabel’s Bellaband||Best for Keeping Clothes Up|
|5. Bentibo Belly Band||Best for Exercise|
|6. Maternity FITsplint||Best for Running|
|7. Pretty See Belt||Best Cradle Belt|
|8. Belevation Belly Band||Best for Plus Size|
|9. Babo Care Belt||Best for Twins|
|10. Mamaway Nano Band||Best for Postpartum|
- Maternity Belts vs. Belly Bands
- Benefits of Maternity Belts and Belly Bands
- What Should I Look For?
- The Best Maternity Belts of 2018
- The Best Belly Bands of 2018
- How Many Will I Need?
- How Do You Use a Belly Band?
- How Do You Use a Maternity Belt?
- Why You Should Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
- Frequently Asked Questions
- The Bottom Line
Maternity Belts vs. Belly Bands
While initially you might think that maternity belts and belly bands are the same thing, they actually aren’t. It’s tricky since many companies use the terms interchangeably, and some products may be a hybrid of both. Here’s the difference.
A belly band is essentially a giant boob-tube or circle of stretchy fabric used to help you wear your normal pants without having to spend a fortune on special maternity clothes. They come in different sizes and colors, and some fasten with velcro while others are a continuous strip of material.
During the second and third trimester, swelling and fluid retention may make you feel like a rapidly expanding blimp. What you can do is let your pant buttons remain undone and simply cover the gap with the belly band, essentially using it as a fabric “bridge.” There are many layering options with belly bands and, used under other clothing, they can add extra warmth in winter.
A belly band is more about coverage than support, although it does offer a little (source).
Though they can look similar, maternity belts are a little more heavy duty and offer more support (source). These are less about coverage and making your old clothes work and more about given your bump structured support.
There are different styles, but many consist of a narrower belt that stretches only on some parts. Rather than going over the whole midsection, they often sit underneath your baby bump, almost like a sling. When I was pregnant, I though of mine as a “belly bra”!
These are overall thicker, more heavily designed and may be more adjustable to help with lower back pain.
Benefits of Maternity Belts and Belly Bands
Maternity belts can help in many different situations during pregnancy (source):
- If you’re on your feet a lot at work.
- If you’ve gained more weight than you were expecting to.
- If you’re expecting twins.
- If you’re having back pain.
- If you’re suffering from pelvic pain.
- If you have sciatica.
- If you have round ligament pain, which is common in pregnancy.
- If pregnancy has caused a hernia.
Here’s how belly bands and belts can help with these situations and more:
- Weight redistribution: You’ll feel more contained, balanced and supported.
- Gentle compression: Just like a sports bra helps during jogging, a belly band or belt helps during daily activities.
- Better posture: You’ll constantly be reminded to stand correctly and not in a “swayback” position.
- Pain reduction: Joint and pelvic pain can be relieved with the help of a supportive band.
- Comfort and confidence: Many women enjoy the pleasant feeling of snugness, plus a little extra coverage.
The right belt or band will let you get on with your life without pain or feeling like you need to sit down every five minutes. It can serve as a light reinforcement under clothing in the first trimester or almost like pregnancy armor to support your changing shape as you battle out the last trimester!
What Should I Look For?
Whether you’re looking for a maternity belt or belly band, there are a few factors to consider in your search.
- Comfort: Both belly bands and maternity belts have to feel comfortable. That’s the whole point of wearing them! Maternity belts should take the pressure off and keep your pain level manageable. Belly bands should keep your pants up and give you light support. Neither option should feel overly tight.
- Easy to clean: You’re going to spend hours a day wearing these garments, over the course of weeks, so you need to be able to clean them with as little fuss as possible. The best ones will be machine washable. The last thing you need when you’re pregnant and uncomfortable is a load of hand washing.
- Cost: Depending on your baby’s position and how much pain you’re in, you might want to fork over any amount of money just for a little relief. But keep an eye on the price. Pregnancy is already expensive enough so cutting costs where you can is your best bet.
When you’re looking at maternity belts, you’ll want to consider one additional factor: the closure. While most belly bands are one piece of stretchy material, maternity belts have a variety of ways they can be closed or adjusted.
Many women prefer Velcro because of how easy it is to use, but you might end up snagging your pants or shirts with it.
Other maternity belts come with hook-and-eye closures, which is no picnic to navigate when your fingers are so swollen they look like sausages. You’ll have to weigh your options to see which fastener you like.
The Best Maternity Belts of 2018
In life, the right undergarment can really make all the difference, and this is just as true when it comes to pregnancy. When you consider just how extreme a shape change your body is undergoing, it makes sense to give it all the structure and support it needs to look and feel good. Some mamas love to let it all hang out, but if you feel the need for a bit of sturdy reinforcement, a belt or band may be your new best friend.
Here are our top picks for 2018:
1. AZMED Breathable Abdominal Binder
AZMED’s belt is made of breathable fabric so you won’t feel hot and sticky under your band.
Staying as comfortable as possible while pregnant is a big deal, especially when you feel like you’re roasting half the time anyway because of maternity hormones.
With this belt, you’ll experience less pressure on your spine, which helps ease any potential back pain.
Your belly will be lifted a little, which means less discomfort for your back, but you’ll also get some reprieve from pelvic and hip pain.
This size can fit a belly up to 46 inches.
2. Gabrialla Breathable Maternity Belt
This maternity belt is almost invisible under your jeans, plus you can get it in three colors instead of just one. These belts are also made in the U.S. if you look to support your country’s economy.
When you wear this belt, you won’t have to limit your activities because it’s made for active moms-to-be. For added comfort, the Gabrialla belt has a back pocket that you can slip hot or cold packs into to help with any pain you might be feeling.
Despite the amount of firm compression this belt provides, it still feels comfortable.
3. CABEA Maternity Support Belt
This belt provides compression for your groin area, which may feel a little strange at first, but before long you’ll wonder how you managed without it. The compression helps pelvic floor pain, as well as back discomfort and hernias.
It offers firm support low down to help lift the abdomen off the pelvis. You should begin to feel relief immediately.
This belt is breathable, easy to figure out and simple to adjust. Plus, you can clean it in the washing machine with all your other clothes, which is always a time saver.
4. Maternity FITsplint
As the name indicates, this belt has a split right in the center. That gives it great versatility — you can wear it three different ways with the two-strap support it comes with.
You’ll be able to lift your belly up so your bladder won’t feel as much pressure, and you can go on a run without having to interrupt your workout every few minutes to find a bathroom.
Exercise is so important during pregnancy, and the back support this provides lets you continue working out safely.
This belt is also slim enough that it won’t look super bulky under your workout gear, fully adjustable, and made in the U.S.
5. PRETTY SEE Pregnancy Support Belt
Best Cradle Maternity Belt
This cradle belt is breathable and made of cotton and spandex, which means it’s lightweight too. You won’t feel like a heavy belt is adding to your load when you wear this.
The front part is narrower and made to sit right under your belly, and the back strap is wider to cover your low back.
You’ll get a heavy-duty belt although it won’t feel like it. It has an inner steel frame which will take the pressure off of you.
The velcro strap is quick and easy to adjust, plus you’ll have some wiggle room as your belly grows throughout pregnancy.
6. Flexguard Support 3XL Plus-Size Belt
You can get this maternity belt in sizes up to 3X, the largest size being capable of supporting a 54 to 62-inch belly.
It’s completely adjustable, so as you gain additional weight in late pregnancy your belt can keep expanding with you.
These belts are backed up with a lifetime warranty, which is nice for moms who are worried about spending their hard-earned money on products that don’t work.
This belt will help you correct any poor posture you might have that could be contributing to your pain.
7. Babo Care Maternity Belt
When you’re carrying twins, you’ll likely need some support for your abdominal area, back, hip and pelvic region.
This belt offers all of that. It has four support bars so it can do all the heavy lifting you need.
It uses an upper layer and under layer that’s made of breathable fabric. This belt gives you just enough stretch that you’ll be able to wear it while doing all of your daily activities. You won’t have to sit on the sidelines for anything.
Babo Care also gives you a 100 percent money-back guarantee for their belt so you won’t have to lose your money if you don’t like it.
8. Artempo Post-Pregnancy Belt
This belt will give you the support you need, but it will also help you look slimmer in the weeks after you’ve delivered your baby, which is something many moms will appreciate.
It’ll be a while before you can get your body back, but this belt will help you fake it in the meantime.
Your back and abdominal muscles will be sore weeks after delivery, but this belt can help you with support when you have to do light housework during that time.
It uses Velcro for a fastener, which makes it easy to adjust.
9. Vikes Maternity Support Belt
This thin belt won’t give you a serious case of muffin top when you’re wearing a dress. It provides mild compression — just enough to reduce your pains and strains, but not so much that people will wonder what you have going on in your midsection area.
It can fit up to size 20 in standard U.S. dress sizes, but can only be hand washed.
You may want to wear it over a camisole under your dress so that the Velcro straps won’t irritate your skin. But if the straps don’t bother you, the fabric on the belt itself is soft, so you’ll be comfortable when you wear it.
The Best Belly Bands of 2018
1. Ingrid & Isabel’s Bellaband
These bands have a stay-put silicone strip on them to help hold your unbuttoned pants in place. They come in several basic colors and they’ll hang low enough on your midsection that it will look like you’re wearing layers — just like a tank top under a shirt.
You can either wear the bands at their full length if you like the layered look, or you can fold them over underneath the hem of your shirt, which gives them extra hold.
You can put these bands in the washing machine so you can save time.
2. Bentibo 2-Pack Maternity Belly Band
These bands will offer some support while working out without feeling too confining. You don’t want your range of motion or flexibility to be too limited when you’re exercising, so this level of support should be just the amount you’re looking for.
They’re seamless and breathable, so you’ll stay cool even during hot workouts. They have a silicone rubber band on the bottom to help keep it in place, which is handy when you’re moving around a lot.
These have the right amount of compression to support your abdominal muscles, so whether you’re lightly exercising or really trying to break a sweat, your belly will be in good hands.
3. Belevation Belly Band
This belly band can fit up to size 18, so it’s a good option for bigger women who are looking for support but can’t fit into the standard-sized belly band.
It’s seamless so it’s super comfortable to wear. Made out of breathable mesh, you won’t feel too hot when you wear this, which is nice because most women are constantly warm during late pregnancy.
It’s made in the U.S. and so lightweight since it’s constructed from breathable nylon and spandex. You can clean it in your washing machine and it can even go in your dryer so you don’t have to wait for it to air dry.
This band won’t feel restrictive even though it gives you ample support.
4. Mamaway Nano Bamboo Postnatal Belly Band
You can use this belt as soon as delivery is over to assist your uterine and pelvic floor recovery. Plus, it will help you maintain better posture while you recover. This works for all moms: you can use it whether you’ve had a natural birth or a C-section.
The fastening system is easy to follow because it only has three steps involved, and the bamboo fibers will keep their shape even after prolonged use.
This band will also help give you better shape — it has two compression sub belts to help give you the illusion of a more defined waist line after childbirth.
5. Bao Bei Sport Maternity Band
This belly band is made of moisture-wicking fabric that will keep you cool as you power through your daily run. The material is super soft and holds up well in the wash without pilling or fading in color.
The cut is generous and fits up to U.S. dress size 8, and it holds its shape and support even after weeks of stretching it out.
This band is not only great for runners; it’s ideal for all active moms-to-be. Bring it to the gym or wear it while you do yoga or Pilates— it’s neutral enough to go with any outfit.
6. Picotee Postpartum Belly Wrap
This band from Picotee supports your front and back for a snug but gentle support as you recover. It has “segmental” support, i.e., you’re held by many separate bands that wrap round you.
These are thin and breathable and won’t make you feel itchy or smothered as you heal.
It’s stretchy where you need it to be, but firm and supportive in other places, making for a gentle, contoured fit. Soft, adjustable and low profile, you can get on with the business of healing but also get to know your baby without being distracted by your stitches.
How Many Will I Need?
When you’re heavily pregnant, there may be some days that are so painful and uncomfortable you want to tear someone’s head off or just start crying. The relief a belly band can bring will make more difference than you can imagine! You’ll probably want more than one during your pregnancy, so you always have one on hand to wear while washing the other.
You should be able to get by with two. That way you won’t have to grin and bear it while your baby does a tap dance on your bladder, but your belly band is in the washing machine. Some women invest in a few more if they have special outfit needs, or want to increase the support as their pregnancy progresses.
How Do You Use a Belly Band?
If you find yourself unable to zip up your pre-pregnancy pants once you hit the second or third trimester, turn to your belly band.
All you have to do is slide your belly band over the top of your pants and the opened zipper, button or snap. It’s easy to put on, gives you extra coverage and helps hold your pants in place even though you can no longer fasten them.
How Do You Use a Maternity Belt?
Unlike belly bands, maternity belts are sometimes worn on the outside of your clothes. But you can also wear them under your clothes, especially if you want it to pull double duty as a belly band.
You’ll either use hooks or Velcro to fasten it as tight as you need after you position the belt low on your belly.
Maternity belts also can help after you’ve had your child. They can give women who have had a Cesarean section the extra support they need while they’re healing.
Why You Should Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
There are endless ways out there to make pregnancy and motherhood more comfortable, but don’t forget about the best tool you have in your arsenal: your own body.
During pregnancy, your body works hard to cradle your growing baby and keep them snug and safe as they grow. A complex network of ligaments, muscles and tissue holds everything in place, but it’s hard work, and if you don’t have much strength in these areas, you’ll occasionally feel tired and sore.
A belly band or belt can alleviate this strain, but it doesn’t address the underlying weakness. It’s better instead to work on your internal support system — and your pelvic floor is a great place to start!
The pelvic floor is a shelf of interlocking muscles that support your bladder, bowel, and uterus (source). There are plenty of good reasons to tone it up. A strong pelvic floor:
- Increases sexual satisfaction.
- Assists in the birthing process.
- Decreases your chances of incontinence.
Best of all, a strong pelvic floor is a built in maternity belt that lightens the burden and reduces your chances of developing pain during the final pregnancy months. Here’s how to give your pelvic floor a workout:
I know you already know about Kegels, but they’re always worth mentioning again. Squeeze in a few throughout the day or take 5 minutes each morning to show these muscles some love, whether you’re trying to conceive, already pregnant or postpartum.
Pilates, Yoga and Other Exercise
Besides the noble Kegel, you can get a good pelvic floor workout with any exercise that strengthens your core and balance, such as yoga, Pilates or even ballet barre workouts.
Frequently Asked Questions
If they’re worn correctly, there’s very little chance of a belt or band harming your baby. But to be on the safe side, consider two things:
How tight you wear it: A too-tight belt can eventually change the shape of your womb and interfere with your baby’s development (source). If you’re feeling comfy and happy with it on, then baby is probably fine, too. Just make sure you’re getting the correct size.
Wear it as low down as possible so that you’re supporting, not constricting, your bump. Don’t wear anything that stops blood flow or feels painful or overly tight.
How long your wear it: Belly bands and belts should only be worn occasionally, or else you risk weakening your muscles and putting too much pressure on the baby. You won’t harm your baby if you only wear your belt a few hours a day, and don’t wear it unless you need to.
You might be wondering, how tight is too tight?
First, check the sizing charts and your size carefully — and keep checking! If you outgrow a band, you’ll need to get a new one. Some belts are sold according to your weight, some to dress sizes and others to the inches of your belly, so take the time to make sure you’re getting a good fit.
The correct fit will be firm and snug but not uncomfortable. It shouldn’t leave red welts on your skin, or leave you feeling numb or tingly, and it definitely shouldn’t hurt you. If it does, it’s too tight.
In an ideal world, pregnant women would just lie down whenever their backs or pelvic muscles were fatigued. But if you work or have to haul your bump around with you on daily activities, that may not be an option. A maternity belt is the next best solution.
However, belts are not meant to be worn continuously. Stretchy belly bands can be worn all day since they only offer light support and their main function is just to cover your belly. But maternity belts give a lot more support, which can actually make your pain worse if you start to rely on them because your muscles weaken.
Think of a maternity belt the same as you would pain medication: helpful when you’re struggling, but not something you’d take all the time! Up to around 3 hours a day is the maximum (source), but if you’re not in pain, skip the belt and give your ligaments and muscles a chance to strengthen on their own.
Typically, no. Unless you’ve cleared it with your doctor beforehand, a belt is unnecessary during sleep. If you’re uncomfortable at night, experiment with body pillows to support your bump, and save the belt for when you’re on your feet.
Yes. Again, let your own pain and discomfort level be your guide. If a belt is generally fine but feels awkward when you sit, then simply don’t sit in it. If you get relief on your SI joints when sitting and have no problem with your belt, continue to wear it while sitting.
The potential danger of maternity belts lies in the possibility of constricting your baby. When you sit, things shift around a little, which may or may not make the belt more constricting. Pay attention to how you feel, wear the belt only occasionally, and remove it immediately if something doesn’t feel right.
My favorite on this list is the Gabrialla Cotton Lined Pregnancy Belt .
I love that you can get it in three colors and that it tends to vanish under your clothes. I don’t need to look any lumpier when I’m expecting, after all.
The idea of supporting the U.S. economy also makes me happy and the belt is easy to clean, too.
I tend to take on far more projects and activities than I should when I’m pregnant so I love this belt because it’s designed for busy, active women. I don’t want to sit around knitting all day — I want to be out there getting some light exercise, setting up the nursery and all that good stuff. I need a belt that can keep up with me and this one does.
I like to be able to put my feet up and use hot or cold packs on my aching back, so it’s perfect that this belt has a pocket for that.
My back was always the worst part of my pregnancy pain. Which pain has been the toughest for you to deal with so far? How have you been dealing with it? Let us know in the comments below.