Pregnancy Support Bands For The Runner Mom-to-be
Pregnancy causes immediate changes in your body. Fluctuating hormones cause laxity in your ligaments so your body can get ready for birth. This means less stability throughout your skeletal system, including your pelvis. At the same time your belly is growing which increases your body weight and alters your center of gravity. All these changes are a lot for your body to adapt to over a short period of time, and sometimes a little external support goes a long way in terms of increasing your tolerance to exercise.
Anyone who loves to run doesn't want to stop just because they're pregnant! Running can also help with nausea from morning sickness, manage emotions from hormones, and keep you healthy during pregnancy. When I became pregnant for the first time with my daughter Stella, I was in the thick of training for the 2017 Boston Marathon. I actually did a 15mile run the morning I found out I was pregnant! I pretty quickly realized my body was changing and had increased need to pee, my pace slowed down, and I would get weird aches and pains through my pelvis and back. I ran the marathon ~4.5 months pregnant and used a pelvis stability belt for comfort and support intermittently throughout training.
I've worked with a lot of pregnant women who want to keep running throughout their pregnancy. I've selected a few pregnancy support belts and belly bands that I think are the best options for ladies who want to keep running while pregnant! I'm not endorsed by or partnered with any of these brands, they are all ones I've found and tried on my own.
Retails for $44.95
This is usually the belt I recommend to my patients. It gets great reviews for running and can be worn a couple different ways. I like that it provides compression to your pelvis to help with stability, but can also be worn with a strap higher on your belly depending on what feels the best.
It doesn't provide as much compression to your pelvis as the Serola Belt (below), so people with SIJ dysfunction might not get as much relief. However, it does have a nice supportive fabric that is comfortable for bump support, especially with running!
SpeedBump Active Pregnancy Belly Band
Retails for $59 (currently sold out)
This band was created by a physical therapist and is made in the USA! It has "compression yoga fabric" in the front with a compression panel in the back. It is made of VX Perfotek Nylon and Spandex. I've seen a lot of ladies run in these, but also wear it throughout the day for support later on in pregnancy.
It gives nice overall compression to your pregnant belly without a lot of specific pressure in one area (like below your bump...on your bladder!). The downside is that you don't get pelvis compression, but you don't necessarily need it if all you want is belly support.
ProBump Pregnancy Belly Support Band
Retails for $64
Bao Bei Maternity also makes the ProBump Belly Band, which is similar to the SpeedBump but designed for more day-to-day wear. It's made of Nylon and Lycra (vs Spandex). I'm not sure how it compares to the SpeedBump in terms of compression, but I'm guessing it is a little less. However, I haven't tried this one but wanted to include it as a similar option since the SpeedBump has been sold out for a while. The website boasts using it for exercise, so I think it could be a great alternative option for running!
Serola Sacroiliac Belt
Retails for $44
This belt can be really helpful if you want more support through your pelvis. It doesn't directly support your belly, but it provides compression to your actual pelvis which helps you stabilize your baby bump. This is a good option if you get back or hip pain, pubic symphasis pain, or any sort of pelvic girdle dysfunction. Issues with all of these certainly come and go throughout pregnancy, and this band is great because it's adjustable.
The Serola SI Belt is popular among physical therapists and not designed specifically for pregnant women. There are also a lot of knock-off versions (on Amazon) that might work fine for running too!
All of these options can be handy postpartum too! As your body recovers, you might find belly compression and pelvis support feel really good in the days after childbirth. I don't recommend wearing a brace or belly band all the time ever, because your body can start to rely on external support rather than internal muscle strength and coordination. It's best to use support during physical activity if it helps with comfort, or during daily tasks that cause fatigue or discomfort (walking the dog, standing at work, cooking in the kitchen, gardening, chasing after your other children, etc).
Belly bands and support belts are a great way to make pregnancy more comfortable, and may even help prolong your running days until the little one arrives! As always, talk to your obgyn about your exercise routine for pregnancy, and most importantly - listen to your body!