There are so many products to help women deal with the big and small changes and challenges of pregnancy.
For first-time parents, it can be a whole new world of new items with potentially confusing names.
Maternity belts and belly bands can look similar, and both are known by a variety of names, but they should be used and worn differently.
Here’s everything you need to know about maternity belts vs. belly bands.
What is a Maternity Belt?
A maternity belt may also be called a maternity support belt or a pregnancy support belt. It is a sturdy band that wraps around the body to support the weight of a pregnant stomach, taking pressure off the lower back and redistributing the weight to the hips.
They usually have a sturdy support pad beneath the stomach, and secure straps around the body, typically held in place with Velcro.
When to Wear a Maternity Belt
A maternity support belt should be worn for no more than 3 hours a day, to help relieve lower back pain and pressure during pregnancy.
They are ideal for moms who have to spend long periods on their feet, or who do lifting and carrying during pregnancy.
Every maternity belt is worn slightly differently, but it should fit comfortably, without pinching or binding. It should be worn below the stomach, to provide support, and not compress the stomach itself.
What is a Belly Band?
A belly band is a soft, stretchy band that provides extra coverage for a pregnant stomach. They are circular, like a tube top, and often made of soft, stretchy Lycra, nylon, or spandex.
A properly fitting belly band creates no pressure on the stomach and provides no support.
A belly band simply covers the lower stomach, giving pregnant women more coverage in that area.
When to Wear a Belly Band
A belly band that is soft and comfortable, without applying pressure or support, can be worn throughout pregnancy.
The soft, stretchy fabric is designed to grow with a pregnant belly, and they come in a wide range of colors and fabrics to match your clothing.
They are a fantastic option when maternity pants and shirts don’t fit correctly, or a woman is between sizes in clothing.
With a belly band, you can leave the top buttons of pants or skirts undone, or have a gap between tops and pants, and still be comfortable and have coverage.
Maternity Belt vs. Belly Band
A maternity support belt can be a great way to manage lower back pain and discomfort during pregnancy but may weaken your abdominal muscles and even create unwanted pressure on a developing baby; maternity belts should only be worn for 2-3 hours a day, to reduce the risks associated with these garments.
If you are experiencing pain and discomfort during pregnancy, it is always a good idea to discuss it with your obstetrician, and get the best advice for making your pregnancy more comfortable.
A belly band is a great way to give your pregnant stomach extra coverage when clothing doesn’t fit well, or you are between sizes.
These garments are comfortable and versatile and make it easier to wear your favorite clothes during different stages of your pregnancy.
Look for belly bands that fit comfortably without squeezing, and avoid those that claim to provide support or provide body shaping.
What Other Kinds of Pregnancy Belts and Bands are There?
There is a confusing category of clothing called “maternity shapewear,” and many items called belly belts or belly bands fall into this category.
They are marketed as maternity versions of “regular” shapewear, including lifting leggings, compressing tops, and waist trainers.
Because there are so many of these kinds of garments, and they are called by many different names, it is best to talk with your physician about what kind of shaping garments you want to wear.
Tight, compressing garments may make the shape of the body smoother, and provide extra support, but they can also reduce circulation, and negatively affect the strength of your abdominal and pelvic muscles.
Like supportive maternity belts, these garments should only be worn for short periods, and it’s always a good idea to seek medical advice.
Post-Partum Belts and Tummy Wraps
These kinds of garments are designed to be worn after pregnancy, to provide additional control in the midsection and help abdominal muscles to recover.
As with other kinds of belly bands, exercise is the most effective way to ease and speed post-partum recovery, and having strong core muscles during pregnancy eases both labor and recovery.
However, post-partum shapewear can help a woman feel more comfortable and supported after giving birth.
While these maternity garments do different things, they are often called the same name, so talk with your doctor and shop carefully for the maternity belt or belly band you need.