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According to Shape.com, the world’s No1. fitness publication, shapewear is the biggest hoax in fashion history. Celebrities and everyday women love the results and swear by their secret slimming undergarment, but many others raise the potential health implications whilst also putting the marketing of these garments under the microscope; are we being misled by "toned" bodies that are really squeezed into figure-flattering undergarments?
All this is much more complicated when you are pregnant, and the health of your unborn child becomes a consideration, so we’ve decided to put the maternity shapewear category under the microscope, starting with the term itself - “maternity shapewear”. It’s 2 words that should not be seen together, being fused, whether by attention seeking marketers, by Instagramming celebrities looking for brevity or simply the result of the public reacting to the confusion caused by the actions of the market influencers.
Maternity shapewear is becoming a “maternity fashion de rigueur”. According to Refinery29.com, maternity shapewear is designed to "shape" your body”. Who doesn’t like the sound of a perkier behind and smoother curves whilst getting support for the lower back and tummy and leaving room for the baby? They tell us it’s more comfortable than trying to wear "regular shapewear" when you're pregnant, but should you be wearing either is the real question? Just because a second solution is better than the first, it doesn’t mean that the first was ever a good solution, to begin with. Should comfort and health not be the primary focus. Are we really expected to squeeze ourselves into maternity shapewear for the sake of fashion and approval of strangers?
So now we have “regular shapewear” and “maternity shapewear”? No wonder there’s confusion.
According to Sherry A. Ross, MD, author of “she-ology, The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period”, the benefits and risks for pregnant women depend on the maternity shapewear product, and how much you wear it. She goes on to say:
Maternity Support Belts – According to Dr Christopher Smith, obstetrician and gynaecologist, they offer additional comfort during daily activities, they reduce soreness associated with abdominal wall expansion in the late trimesters. He does point out that there is some concern that wearing a pregnancy support belt during pregnancy may impair blood circulation, and negatively impact pelvic floor and bowel function. He recommends women wear belly bands for short periods at a time to prevent dependency and encourages them to use maternity support belts in conjunction with core muscle strengthening programs.
When it comes to weight loss, Dr Smith points out that there is no current medical evidence to support claims that belly bands promote weight loss following pregnancy, and their use should not replace the role of healthy lifestyle modifications including a balanced diet and exercise regime.
There is a range of valid reasons as long as you also understand the reasons not to wear pregnancy belts:
Check out what Anna Scammell has to say on the subject.
2. Maternity Support Underwear
As far as we can tell its underwear that makes allowances for your bump but doesn’t do much else especially in terms of support. Here’s a good article reviewing all the latest options available to you https://momlovesbest.com/pregnancy/clothes/maternity-underwear
If you are after shapewear to minimize the appearance of love handles there are some excellent choices here https://thebetterfit.com/best-shapewear-for-love-handles/ and if you wear your shapewear for a short time of a few hours then there’s certainly no danger of muscle deactivation.
3. Maternity Leggings
This term highlights the inadequacy of the word Maternity when applied to many product categories. For example. Take a multifunctional garment like SRC compression, Pregnancy and Recovery, Shorts and Leggings. Approved by the APA and originally designed in consultation with an obstetrician, each Pregnancy and Recovery garment address a different “maternity stage”;
Both types of maternity leggings can be worn under regular clothing, the leg panels are deliberately logo free on the visible sections to make them the perfect choice for both work, gym, or a Sunday morning brunch. The gentle medical grade compression range of 4mmHg – 15mmHg does not de-activate the muscles and makes it safe and comfortable to wear all day and sleep with them at night. 24 Hour wearability ensures comfort and relief. Find out more at srchealth.com
Embrace yourself, regardless of your shape, there’s the only one you, you are unique. Look after yourself and don’t forget to enjoy this special time in your life.