The third trimester of pregnancy is often the most
. Physical changes in the mother’s body as well as the growth of the fetus increases discomfort in the pelvis and low back. Up to 50% of pregnant women will have low back pain during this time. Specially designed back support products for pregnant women are available but have produced mixed results.
The Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Melbourne reviewed the benefits of a specific product called the BellyBra. The study, published in
BJOG (An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology)
, demonstrated that the BellyBra was more effective in relieving low back discomfort compared to a common tubigrip option.
About the Study
randomized controlled study
followed 115 women between 20 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. All of the women had reported low back or rear pelvis pain. The women were randomly given either the BellyBra or the tubigrip to wear. The BellyBra is similar to a one-piece swimsuit. Tubigrip is cotton-covered elastic that is wrapped around the pelvis and lower abdominal area. Pain levels during different activities as well as the use of medication were reported by the women throughout the trial.
At the end of the trial both groups reported the same decrease in overall pain severity. However, compared to the tubigrip, the women that used the BellyBra reported significant reduction in:
- Back pain on sleeping
- Pain getting up from a sitting position
- Pain during walking
- Use of analgesic (pain) medication
How Does This Affect You?
Late pregnancy can put a lot of strain on the back. The study suggests that the BellyBra decreases some of the common discomforts, but both support garments provided the same pain relief. Strengthening and stretching
as well as staying physically active through the pregnancy can also help decrease the strain. Ask your doctor about exercise options and restrictions.
Talk to your doctor about pain you experience. Your doctor can recommend treatments that may provide some relief.
Last reviewed October 2008 by Larissa J. Lucas, MD
All EBSCO Publishing proprietary, consumer health and medical information found on this site is accredited by URAC. URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation Program requires compliance with 53 rigorous standards of quality and accountability, verified by independent audits. To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © 2008 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.