Taping Techniques to Alleviate Pregnancy Pain

Uncategorized May 14, 2021

Alternatives to Belly Bands to Help Soothe Pain and Heal Diastasis Recti 

I get a lot of questions from pregnant women about whether they should wear belly bands.

Like anything, sometimes, and in moderation it’s OK. But, this depends on a few things:

1. Your anatomy

Are you hypermobile? This means you naturally have more joint laxity/flexibility in your body. If so, your body can benefit from additional external support)

2. The size of your baby

If it’s a larger baby (> 8 lbs) then yes, wearing it can be helpful. Especially if you're carrying twins.

3. Where you are in your pregnancy

If possible, it’s preferable to wait until the 3rd trimester to wear a belly band. Like any brace, wearing one too much or too soon can cause an inhibiting/”turning off” effect. Here, it happens in your core muscles. You need your core to support you while pregnant.

4. Your daily activities

If you are loading yourself often belly bands can be protective for your deep core. This means participating doing things like:

  • Picking up other kids
  • Walking dogs
  • Weight lifting
  • Moving inventory
  • Sitting stationary for long amounts of time.

5. Your symptoms

If your medical history includes:

6. If you’re still nursing

Your body chemistry while nursing does contribute to some joint laxity. Because of this, it might benefit from additional external support.

A Pelvic Health Physical Therapist’s Pro Tip:

This may seem counterintuitive. But if you're thinking a belly band may help you... wear it at night rather than during the day.  Our bodies are relaxed at night. So, if your body is telling you it needs more stability/support, offering it that when it’s in its most lax time can have a big carry-over. You'll feel the impact throughout the next morning and day.

Alternatives to the belly band include:

1. Training your deep core to be your own, natural belly band. This is what Train4Birth is all about! This course and coaching program helps teach you how to activate your muscles properly. You'll safely keep your deep core muscles engaged while pregnant.

2.  Dynamic Tape. I like taping because

  • You can vary how much support it gives
  • It supports, rather than inhibits muscles
  • It moves with you rather than restraining you

Here is an image of how to tape for supporting round ligament pain:

You can also watch this video. 

Here are some general guidelines for taping

  • Refrain from keeping it on longer than 72 hours
  • Refrain from applying lotion before applying
  • Make sure the taped skin is clean and dry
  • You can get it wet. Even shower with it on, once it’s applied
  • Leave about 2 inches at the endpoints that are not “on stretch”. This will keep you from pulling up or tearing the skin
  • You’ll stretch the tape anywhere from 25-75% of its resting length for the additional support
  • If it’s itchy or uncomfortable-remove it. This may not be the intervention for you and that’s OK! (It is considered hypoallergenic tape, but everyone in a while it’ll irritate someone’s skin).
  • Round the corners so they don’t dig into your skin
  • It can be uncomfortable to remove. Taking it off while in the shower creates the least sensation.

There are taping techniques for:

The tape acts like an external ligament. This is nice during pregnancy, which is so often equated with ligamentous laxity.

Just like I don’t recommend wearing a belly band all the time, I also don’t recommend prolonged taping. Its best use is for when you know you’re going to have a high-load day. Or a busy few days.

The main drawback is you can’t really tape your abdomen well yourself (you can other body parts, though!). So, if this is something you are considering,I recommend you purchase a roll of Dynamic tape.  Have it on hand. Then I’m happy to hop onto a Facetime or Zoom call. I can help you and your person come up with a good taping plan/technique for you and your body. Just email me at [email protected].


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