Pregnancy and postpartum recovery can be very hard on the body. From pain and discomfort to swelling, weight gain, shifting organs and loose ligaments, our bodies go through a lot to accommodate our growing little one inside the womb. But no matter where you are in your motherhood journey, compression can likely help!
What Are Compression Garments?
Maternity & postpartum compression garments provide gentle support and relief for new and expectant mamas. Made of soft, breathable fabric, medical-grade compression garments are meant to provide strength where it’s needed most: areas like the lower back and core that are weakened during pregnancy, or feet and ankles that are swollen and retaining fluid.
Types of Compression Garments
Maternity Lumbar Support (Belly Band)
A maternity support garment (commonly referred to as a maternity lumbar support, maternity support band, belly band, pregnancy belt, maternity belt, or support belt) is typically worn from around three months of pregnancy until birth to alleviate common pregnancy pain & discomfort.
The extra weight of your growing belly is supported by your abdomen, back, hips, and pelvis. Over time it’s common to develop lower back pain. In fact, 45% of women experience low back pain during pregnancy. As your hips loosen and your pelvis expands, more pressure is placed on your pelvic ligaments and joints which may cause sacroiliac (SI) joint pain or round ligament pain.
Although maternity support garments can’t completely take away all pregnancy-related discomfort, studies have consistently shown that women move better, feel better, and fall down less often when using a belly band of some kind.
Benefits of Maternity Support Garments:
- Relieves pressure that causes pregnancy-related pain, sciatica, and discomfort
- Corrects posture by preventing the lower back from becoming extended as core muscles take on the extra weight of the baby
- Improves overall balance, stability, function, and quality of life while pregnant
- Makes daily activities & prenatal exercises easier by giving the spine and muscles extra support
Maternity lumbar support garments can be worn as much or as little as you feel is helpful. It may be most beneficial to prioritize using your support garment during activities, such as walking, exercising, household chores, and other activities that involve full-body movement.
As for the fit of the band, you’ll want it to feel as though it is providing gentle compression around the pelvic bones and lower back, with a light lift sensation applied to the lower belly for support. No more and no less! Though you may feel immediate relief, you may find that using your garment consistently for 2-3 weeks further improves the benefit of reducing your low back and pelvic pain.
Compression socks (also known as compression socks, compression or support stockings) are made of soft elastic materials that gently squeeze your leg, ankles, and feet to help with blood vessels function, reduction of swelling, and relief of aches, cramps, and pains.
As your baby grows, they place more and more pressure on the veins and lymphatic vessels in your pelvis and lower body. Combined with hormonal changes and increased blood volume, this can cause a backup of fluid in the legs and pelvis, as the fluid has a harder time traveling back up against gravity. You might notice swelling in your lower extremities, varicose veins in your legs, or swelling and pressure in your pelvis. While severe swelling can be a sign of something serious, mild to moderate swelling during pregnancy is extremely common and can usually be managed by a combination of lifestyle strategies (like moderate exercise and water consumption) and support in the form of compression socks.
By providing support and pressure to your veins, compression socks promote blood flow and improve circulation, which can minimize the risk of blood clots, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and other circulatory issues.
Benefits of Compression Socks:
- Provides gradient compression and comfort during pregnancy & postpartum
- Prevents swelling and discomfort in the legs, ankles, and feet
- Reduces the risk for varicose veins, blood clots, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Supports the cardiovascular system by promoting healthy blood circulation
Compression socks can be worn during the first three to nine months of pregnancy and into postpartum if swelling (edema) continues. For best results, compression stockings should be put on first thing in the morning and worn throughout the day, especially if you’re going to be on your feet a lot. They do not need to be worn at night when you’re sleeping, as your body has an easier time with blood circulation when you’re lying down and they can actually become too tight if you’re not moving for long periods of time.
The fit of compression socks should be snug but still comfortable. Ideally will have gradual compression, with most of the pressure being applied around the ankles and gradually decreasing up the leg. But don’t be worried if they feel tight, they are designed that way. However, if your socks are pinching you at the knee or leaving deep indentations, you may want to try another size or style. A poor fit can actually make the swelling even worse!
Postpartum Compression Garments
Medical-grade postpartum compression garments (or postpartum recovery/support garments) are made to provide extra support and tighten the areas most affected by pregnancy, and are worn between one week and four months postpartum.
After giving birth, most new mothers will experience soreness, abdominal pain, swelling, and loss of bladder control. Slowly your body will start to regulate and recover but it takes time and proper care. By providing stabilization and gentle compression with a postpartum recovery garment, your glutes, pelvis, hips, stomach, and back (as well as many major tissues and organs) will be able to move into place more quickly. Light compression can have a huge impact on overall wellbeing and recovery by alleviating pain, reducing swelling and postpartum bleeding, plus more. With proper use, you’ll be able to recover more quickly and soon be able to get back to a more normal routine.
There are different types of postpartum compression garments, but no matter the specific one, their overall purpose is to provide the correct support for faster healing. These garments can easily and discreetly be worn under clothing, and are made with breathable fabric for ultimate comfort.
Postpartum compression garments are specifically designed by medical professionals. Although they may look similar to shapewear, they are not the same nor are they intended to help mothers “bounce back” after giving birth.
Benefits of Postpartum Compression Garments:
- Assists with and speeds up postpartum recovery time
- Provides gentle compression & support to reduce swelling, soreness, and pain
- Stabilizes the abdomen, lower back, and hips for improved posture
- Increases overall mobility
- Tightens and tones belly, hips, waist, pelvis, and lower back
- Aids in c-section wound healing and scar pain
Maternity & Postpartum Compression Through Insurance
Maternity and postpartum compression garments are available through Aeroflow Breastpumps. All garments have been designed by medical experts to provide real health benefits. These medical-grade devices most often require a prescription from your doctor to obtain through insurance. If maternity or postpartum compression could help you throughout your motherhood journey, be sure to fill out our quick and easy Qualify Through Insurance Form.
Information in blogs should not be used as a substitute for medical care or consultation.