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What is a Maternity Belt?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Carrying a baby inside a body can be tough work, and any woman who has experienced pregnancy can attest to this fact. As the baby’s weight grows, it can cause more pressure on the bladder, create varicose veins, and result in chronic low back pain. For these reasons, some women turn to support garments or devices that can create some extra support of the belly. One of these is the maternity belt.

The simplest maternity belt type is made of elastic material and usually can adjust to fit different size bellies, although some may need to be purchased in average dress sizes or weight/height sizes. Basic belts are worn around the back and underneath the stomach. The compression can help reduce lower bank pain, and it may increase blood flow to the pelvis. The extra support can also make it easier on the bladder and relieve pressure on it.

Other types of maternity belts may provide more support and cover more of the lower back. Some feature a strap that goes under the belly and one that fits above it. There are additional types of support garments that fit like camisoles over the whole body, and some belts have straps that go over the shoulders for greater support. These can slightly redistribute the way the body is carrying the extra weight of a growing baby.

When discomfort from pregnancy is great, it’s recommended that people speak to their obstetricians before buying a maternity belt. Pre-term contractions, for instance, may be felt in the back, and women should definitely make sure to determine cause of discomfort before trying to resolve it. Another reason to speak to the obstetrician about a maternity belt is because some insurance plans will cover the cost of one or other support garments. These are usually called durable medical equipment and health insurance may pay for all or part of them.

Even if this not the case and insurance doesn’t cover the cost, simple maternity belts aren’t greatly expensive. Many are less than $100 US Dollars (USD), and the very basic ones may be about a quarter of that price. Prices can vary depending upon individual sellers and manufacturers.

Some women will wear the maternity belt during the daytime hours, and others only use one on days when they must be standing or walking a lot. Exercise can sometimes feel more supported if a belt is worn, and may be the only time a woman feels she needs one. Women carrying multiple babies often get recommendations to purchase a maternity belt because of the added stress on the body from carrying more than one child. Others progress through a pregnancy without ever requiring a belt or feeling uncomfortable enough to need one.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon125963 — On Nov 11, 2010

I was given a maternity belt as a mother to be and it was the best present. I thought it strange when she gave me it but since I've bought other people them and they really have gone down well.

By anon117495 — On Oct 10, 2010

Just to clarify, a Belly Belt is not a maternity support belt. A Belly Belt is a kit that adapts regular clothes into maternity clothes. A maternity support belt is a product that actually provides support for the tummy and back. Actually, the best support product I've used is the Bellybra, which does everything a support belt does and more comfortably.

By anon112319 — On Sep 19, 2010

I totally agree that a maternity belt is the best way to relieve the low back and pelvic pain during pregnancy. There are a ton of different types of belts. The best one I've found, actually it was recommended by a friend, is the Symphysis Belt. You can only buy it online and it's not all that expensive.

By googlefanz — On Aug 20, 2010

Can anybody tell me if it's appropriate to get a mother to be a maternity belt?

I've been invited to a baby shower next week, and while I'm friends with the mom-to-be, we're not super close.

I don't want to fall into that trap of buying one that's too big, and then she feels bad, or too small, then she has to return it.

Besides, is that even an appropriate gift? Or is a maternity belt something like underwear, that you don't really buy for other people.

Does anybody know?

By FirstViolin — On Aug 20, 2010

There are also maternity belts for women after they have the baby.

Postpartum maternity belts work kind of like tummy support panels, they help keep that mommy belly in check.

This can be a lifesaver for women who need a little extra time to tone their bellies after a pregnancy, but still want to wear their pre-pregnancy clothes as soon as possible.

By pleats — On Aug 20, 2010

My sister recently had a baby (a little girl!) and she said she couldn't have gotten through those last three months without her maternity belly belt.

Having a baby just puts so much pressure on the mother's body, especially on the back, and those belts can really make a difference -- especially those maternity back support belts.

I know that when I have my babies, the first thing I'll be looking for at the baby shower is a maternity belt!

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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