Pregnancy Support Belts and Post-Pregnancy Compression Garments…Are They Worth It?

We spend a lot of time here at Bend + Mend looking after lower backs and pelvis’s, and training mums-to-be and new mums to use their pelvic floor muscles. But is there anything else you can do to help support your back and pelvis, or to reduce pain and make you feel better, before and/or after having a baby?

During your pregnancy you may experience pubic symphysis pain or sacroiliac joint (SIJ) pain (see this article from our blog) Both of these issues are related to the changes your body goes through during pregnancy, with the altered muscular pull on your pelvis creating a torsion or strain on the very strong stabilising ligaments of the pelvis.  Both conditions can be extremely painful and both require an assessment by your Physiotherapist to correctly diagnose the cause of the dysfunction.  We have great success in reducing pain with joint mobilisation, soft tissue therapy, as well as exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor and gluteal muscles. But sometimes your body needs more support than your muscles can provide, and this is where SIJ support belts have been shown to help.  The SIJ belts provide passive compression across the pelvis to help stabilise the joints and take the pressure off the over-activating muscles.  As this helps to reduce pain you can then work to activate the appropriate muscle groups like the pelvic floor an core muscles.

What about after your baby arrives? A question that often gets asked in our Physio clinic is: Do compression belts/pelvic girdles help post-partum?  There are a lot of different types of stomach supports, belts, girdles and shorts out there who claim to be the magic cure for new mums. The main idea with most support wear is to provide compression across the abdomen, making you feel more stable and secure.  This compression may also help with tissue healing especially with C-section scarring, and there is the possibility that it could help with rectus diastasis or abdominal separation.

Although there is not great clinical research into the effectiveness of post-partum shorts and support wear, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence and discussion on websites such as BubHub to support their use, especially for women having gone through pregnancy who might just want to do a little to feel like they are getting their body back.

At the end of the day nothing replaces the support and stability of your pelvic floor and transverse abdominus (core) muscles, but everybody needs a little help sometimes! If you have any questions regarding SIJ belts and support wear please ask one of our Physios or book into our Sydney CBD Physio & Pilates clinic.

Kirsty Wall

About Kirsty Wall

Kirsty graduated from the University of Otago in 2004, and has worked in private practice in New Zealand and England, before moving to Sydney. She has spent the last three years becoming a certified Pilates instructor alongside her physiotherapy work, and recently became a Master instructor on all apparatus. Kirsty really enjoys bringing Pilates and Physiotherapy together, as she feels they have a symbiotic relationship, guiding patients back to their pre-injury activities as well as preventing re-occurrence. As Kirsty is new to Sydney, she is spending her spare time get to know the city, going on big walks and generally just enjoying the sunshine.

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