Though expecting a baby certainly has its joys and excitement, if you are currently pregnant or if you've ever been pregnant, then you know exactly the kinds of discomfort that carrying a baby in your womb can entail. Some of these include having to experience weight gain, backaches and hip aches (especially during the third trimester of pregnancy), swelling and varicose veins and the discomfort of carrying a heavy load in the front area of the body.
To help ease some of these discomforts, many soon-to-be moms purchase abdominal support belts, also called maternity belts or pregnancy belts. These belts are specially designed to allow air around stomach to circulate, and there are many varieties of types: Some belts are thin and are worn under the protruding belly; some are especially wide at the back to provide more back support; others are made of soft, stretchy spandex material that are designed to cover the entire stomach (these are called support bands). These belts are usually closed using Velcro, for ease and practicality.
Apart from the much-needed support that maternity belts offer, they are also designed to reduce the pressure pregnancy exerts on the bladder (thus reducing the mom's need to constantly urinate), to improve circulation around the pelvic area of the body, to prevent premature contractions and to allow the expectant mom to have better posture. Maternity belts should be machine washable and comfortable against the skin.
Similar to these maternity belts are hernia belts, which reduce the pain that people suffering from abdominal or inguinal hernia experience, and also add some protection to the patient by reducing risks of possible medical complications. It must be added, however, that hernia belts are not used to treat the actual condition. They are simply tools to alleviate some symptoms.
Another similar product is the postpartum belt. After pregnancy, moms carry around residual weight, which could still cause some back and stomach pains. Postpartum support belt works to support the muscles around this area, thereby alleviating the pain. They also work to flatten a new mom's stomach, giving her more confidence and even allowing her to fit in her old pre-pregnancy clothes. It this isn't possible, though, post-partum belts could also hold up the waistlines of the clothes she wore during her pregnancy.
To choose a maternity belt, it is very important that it isn't too tight (which may cause some harm to the baby and which would be uncomfortable besides) or too loose (which would just be useless). To buy a maternity belt, first measure around the stomach using a tape measure. This will give you an idea which size ranges to choose from. There are lots of maternity belts in the maternity sections of department stores; it's recommended that you go there personally so you can try out the sizes within your measured stomach circumference. Once you've determined which size fits you best, you are then able to shop for additional belts online at such Web sites as serola.net and tummywear.org.