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Ah pregnancy, I remember those days well.
The mix of awe and wonder at the life growing inside me combined with the occasional frustration of not recognizing my reflection in the mirror or all the aches and pains.
As a mom of four, I can appreciate and respect the challenges that come with how quickly and uncontrollably our bodies change during pregnancy.
And the desire to improve the appearance of our changing body, while also seeking comfort in the midst of all these changes, is completely natural.
But are these compression garments safe? And what might be the best option for you and your pregnancy?
So, whether you are looking for extra physical support or just wanting to feel more confident rocking your baby bump, this post explores the safety of maternity shapers, some possible risks associated with wearing them, and the best options available.
Disclosure: Although I am a certified prenatal/postnatal exercise specialist and personal trainer, I am not YOUR trainer. The content on this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute of the information and advice you receive from a healthcare professional. This website does not replace the medical advice you receive from your provider.
What is Maternity Shapewear?
As your body changes, you may be feeling a little less comfortable in your clothes, both physically and emotionally.
Maternity shapewear is a type of undergarment designed to smooth out your figure during pregnancy or help provide extra support as your body changes.
It is made from stretchy, breathable materials and is designed to accommodate your growing belly and changing body.
Unlike regular shapewear, which can be tight and constricting, maternity shapewear is a soft fabric designed to be comfortable and supportive.
Some maternity shapewear also includes features like adjustable straps, breathable fabrics, and moisture-wicking properties for extra comfort.
While these garments can be tempting if you’re looking for a little extra support and confidence in your growing body, it’s very important to consider the safety aspects before incorporating them into your pregnancy wardrobe.
The Safety Of Maternity Shapewear
Before choosing maternity garments, it is important to understand the potential risks and benefits before deciding whether it is a good idea for you.
Always discuss any concerns you have with your healthcare provider to rule out if you may have a medical reason to avoid shapewear during pregnancy.
Benefits of Maternity Shapewear
Despite these potential risks, there are also some benefits to wearing maternity shapewear during pregnancy.
Choosing the Right Maternity Shapewear
From belly belts to tummy sleeves to thigh pettipants, there are a variety of maternity shapewear styles available,
Medium control shapewear can provide a little extra assistance without feeling too restrictive, while postpartum shapewear may offer a more comfortable fit.
Normal Spanx may also be an option, as long as they don’t constrict at the tummy.
So how do you pick the best options for you and your body?
Ultimately, the right amount of compression in the right places will depend on your body and your preferences.
Keep in mind that maternity shapewear is designed to be comfortable and supportive not restrictive and uncomfortable to wear.
Types of Maternity Shapewear and Supportive Bands
There are several types of maternity shapewear available, including:
Top Rated Maternity Shapewear
Maternity Mid Thigh Sculpting Bodysuit
Full body shapewear with non compressive core to allow for babies growth. It is designed with an open gusset for stress free bathroom breaks.
Bump Maternity Support Bodysuit
The breathable material is designed for back support and accommodates your favorite bras. It provides vertical support and has a gusset opening.
Seamless Maternity Shapewear and bump support
Made with 90% Nylon + 10% Spandex which gives it moderate compression and perfect for all stages of pregnancy.
Motherhood Maternity Shaping Panty
This panty shaper is designed to smooth hips, thighs, bottom, and belly for a smoother look while supporting your bump
Thighs Disguise Maternity Support Shorts
This breathable fabric helps to lift your pregnant belly and smooth your tummy, thighs and bottom. The stretchy belly helps accommodate your growing bump.
Can Maternity Support Bands Help Prevent Diastasis Recti
Diastasis Recti is a condition in which the abdominal muscle separate (such as during pregnancy) and are unable to close on their own, leaving a gap between the rectus abdomen’s muscles and down the midline of the abdominal wall.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to prevent this natural and necessary part of pregnancy. These muscles must stretch in order to make extra room for your growing baby.
Wearing a maternity support band can help to provide more support to the core and abdominal wall and possible reduce the degree of separation.
However, it cannot prevent Diastsis Recti completely.
Starting a core and pelvic stabilization program early in pregnancy is the most effective way to minimize your risk of developing diastasis recti.
Is Regular Shapewear Safe During Pregnancy?
This really depends on you and your body.
Some moms might be able to get away with regular shapewear or their pre-pregnancy underwear throughout most of their pregnancy while others may need more gentle support from shapewear designed for pregnancy.
Regular shapewear tends to be made with much higher compression fabrics.
This high compression shapewear can put too much pressure on your abdominal muscles, internal organs and baby bump.
Not only will this be very uncomfortable but it can even harmful because it can restrict blood circulation, potentially leading to blood clots. (source)
Are Waist Trainers Safe During Pregnancy?
Waist trainers or abdominal binders are definitely a no-go during pregnancy.
These garments are designed with one thing in mind-syncing the waist.
This is the last thing you want when your body is going through significant change.
Not only does your body need room to grow and change, anything that squeezes your midsection can cause a whole host of problems including (but not limited to):
- Compression of internal organs
- Possible restriction of blood flow and circulation, affecting oxygen and nutrient supply to the placenta.
- Excess pressure downward onto the pelvic floor leading to incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse or pelvic pain.
Let’s not forget about embracing the joy of being pregnant!
It’s about celebrating your body’s natural changes and enjoying this incredible journey. Instead of trying to squeeze into a waist trainer, opt for maternity shapewear that provides gentle support, enhances your comfort, and boosts your confidence while allowing your body to do its thing.
When to Wear Maternity Shapewear
Maternity shapewear can be worn for anything such as special occasions like weddings, parties, photo shoots or just long days on your feet.
It can also be worn during the earlier months of your pregnancy when you may not be showing yet but still want to smooth out any bumps or lumps.
However, it’s important to listen to your body and not wear shapewear for extended periods of time.
If you experience any discomfort or pain, remove the shapewear immediately.
Final Thoughts on Maternity Shapewear
Maternity shapewear seems to be a controversial topic and not everyone agrees on its benefits or risks.
Kim Kardashian and other celebrities have been known to wear shapewear and share their experiences on social media, but it’s important to set realistic expectations and prioritize your physical health and your growing baby.
There are a number of reasons why you might want to wear maternity shapewear, just be sure to choose shapewear that is safe and provides the support you need and avoid wearing it for a long time.
It can be a good choice for pregnant women who want additional support. However, it is important to be aware of the risks.
You may even find that regular underwear or a pair of pants with light compression is enough to provide the extra support you need!
Brooke is a certified Prenatal and Postnatal Exercise Specialist with a Bachelors of Science degree in Kinesiology-Exercise Science. She is also a mom of 3 girls with more than 15 years of experience in health and fitness. Brooke’s goal at Struggles of a Fit Mom is to help motivate, educate and inspire other busy mamas who struggle with finding time, energy and motivation to take care of themselves in the chaos of motherhood.