Welcome to Element’s December Blog – breaking down Pelvic Girdle Supports for Pregnancy. A side note, when I wrote this blog I was 36 weeks pregnant, my baby arrived a mere 3 days later, just shy of 36.5 weeks. This was supposed to be November’s blog. Fast forward – If there is ANYTHING I have learned about parenting in the last 5 weeks it is that you can have the greatest plan, even a second and third backup plan, and that baby/child will continually challenge and change your plans.
As we know, pregnancy is different for each and every women. We (as therapists) always stress the importance of NOT comparing your self/pregnancy to one another. That theme occurs clinically for us, as each individual client requires a different course of treatment to provide pain relief or symptom management. Often we educate our clients through pictures, demonstrating their exercises and stretches or simply putting our selves in “their” position of pain or relief. We work with our hands and bodies all day and sometimes we need to “do” in order to understand what our clients experience.
Like pregnancy. As I head(ed) into the home stretch at 36 weeks, I now understood what clients described during their pregnancy to me. Some comments I could have truly related too…
- Bending…just leave whatever you’ve dropped. The dog, cat, child, partner etc. will get it.
- It feels like my baby is going to fall out of my pelvis. Yes it does, but it won’t (I hope not?!?!).
- I just want to walk around holding my crotch (pubic bone).
- It feels like my pelvis is not attached to my body.
- I can’t lay flat
- Stairs…need I say more.
- I can’t stand on one leg to get my pants on or I have to lay down to put my pants on. Simple solution: stay home often, omit pants.
- Peeing. Every. Hour.
During pregnancy, especially into the third trimester the body tends to “loosen” up to do hormonal influence, to make room for that baby. If you were a “mobile” or flexible person prior to pregnancy or are carrying multiples this may affect you sooner. Often, there is emphasis on stretching/loosening during pregnancy and strengthening is often forgotten or left out of the picture all together. Often, it becomes a balancing act of both mobility (stretching) and strengthening exercises. Pelvic girdle and lumbar (low back supports) can often compliment physiotherapy or provide constant support when the goal is “managing symptoms”.
I rounded up our top pregnancy supports to trial myself, along with client feedback. Here’s the lowdown!
1. Baby Belly Band – $$ By far our best seller and most affordable.
Use: SI Joint (lower pelvic girdle pain); groin/pubic symphysis (bone) pain, pelvic floor pressure and vulvar varicose vein pain with use of groin straps (picture on far right).
Pros: Affordable very light weight, user friendly, can be used postpartum
Cons: Doesn’t provided adequate lumbar (low back support). I carried low and it felt like it just added pressure to my lower pelvis/pelvic floor
2. Sacro-iliac (SI) LOC Brace – $$
Use: Posterior pelvic girdle and SIJ pain
Pros: Affordable, minimal support, gentle pressure where white square padding is, not constricting and allows for easy movement.
Cons: Offers no real pelvic girdle or lumbar (low back) support.
3. Mother to Be Sacro-iliac Joint Brace – $
Use: Lumbar (low back) and posterior pelvic girdle pain
Pros: Very supportive, I liked how high the lumbar support went up AND the combination of the lateral pelvic girdle straps.
Cons: Hot, a bit cumbersome/heavy and would have to wear over your clothing in most cases OR wear loose fitting clothing.
4. Diane Lee Baby Belly Support – $$$
Use: Any and all pelvic girdle, low back or pubic bone pain.
Pros: Very supportive, offering lumbar and SI Joint support, can wear postpartum for abdominal separation as well. The Pelvic girdle straps can be reversed to tighten from back to front OR front to back. This was my favourite feature and the only support that could offer support either direction. This ability to tighten the straps from from FRONT TO BACK (picture on the far right) greatly reduced the pressure on my abdomen and pelvic floor.
Cons: Pricey, cumbersome/heavy, worn over clothing or under very loose fitting clothing.
The Podium Finishers
Client Favourite: Baby Belly Band with groin straps. Very affordable, lightweight, easy to use both prenatal/postpartum
Tryna’s Favourite: Diane Lee Baby Belly Belt. Pricey, but love both the pelvic and lumbar support from the higher back of the brace offers. Useful for prenatal/postpartum and with Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation). The selling point for me was that the straps can be alternated from back to front and front to back (which NONE of the braces offer, and was the most effective for me).
1st Place: Baby Belly Band
2nd Place: Diane Lee Baby Belly Belt
3rd Place: “K” Tape
Although we can sell our braces “off the shelf”, we recommend an individual physiotherapy assessment for each client. That way the appropriate brace can be loaned out and trailed BEFORE purchasing AND appropriate exercise/stretching can be provided. I also found that “K (keniso) Tape” can be very effective in some cases, especially when bracing is not found effective. Our therapists are both currently taking new clients and are happy to help determine the right support and course of treatment throughout your pregnancy.