Can You Wear a Waist Trainer During Pregnancy?

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By Dr. Lisa Smiley | Updated on Dec 10, 2023
Image for article Can You Wear a Waist Trainer During Pregnancy?

Waist trainers are worn to slim the waist and shrink the belly, and they should be avoided during pregnancy. Instead, look for soft, gentle compression garments to wear. Something like a belly band, biker shorts, or maternity-specific shapewear can be helpful in supporting your body and reducing discomfort from low back, pelvic girdle, or round ligament pain, improving balance and increasing mobility 1 . It should be flexible and not restrict your breathing or movement, as rigid support can contribute to increased intra-abdominal pressure 2 , which is a risk factor for pelvic organ prolapse 3 and stress urinary incontinence 4 .

Limited research shows maternity support garments may help to manage diastasis recti in pregnancy 5 , but appropriate abdominal exercise has been shown to be more beneficial. Discuss with your healthcare provider about which form of support is best for you.

Pregnant woman holding her stomach on a bed with a plant in the background

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  1. Carolina Quintero Rodriguez, Olga Troynikovcorresponding "The Effect of Maternity Support Garments on Alleviation of Pains and Discomforts during Pregnancy: A Systematic Review"Journal of Pregnancy, vol. 2019Aug 1, 2019https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6699320/.

  2. Hua-Yu Zhang, BA, MSc, Dong Liu, MSc, MD, Hao Tang, BA, MSc, Shi-Jin Sun, MSc, MD, Shan-Mu Ai, BA, MSc, Wen-Qun Yang, BA, MSc, Dong-Po Jiang, MSc, MD, and Lian-Yang Zhang, MD, PhD"The effect of different types of abdominal binders on intra-abdominal pressure", vol. 37, no. 1Jan 1, 2016, pp. 66–72https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4724682/.

  3. Indumathi Kuncharapu, Barbara A Majeroni, Dallas W Johnson"Pelvic organ prolapse", vol. 81, no. 9May 18, 2010https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20433127/.

  4. Kanli Jiang, Joseph M Novi, Suzanne Darnell, Lily A Arya"Exercise and urinary incontinence in women"Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey, vol. 59, no. 10Oct 1, 2004, pp. 717-721https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15385857/.

  5. Pavelas Zachovajevas, Brigita Zachovajevienė,Jūratė Banionytė, Arvydas Siaurodinas"Physical Theraphy and Maternity Support Garment"Lithuanian Sports University E-JournalsSep 7, 2012, pp.  99–106https://journals.lsu.lt/baltic-journal-of-sport-health/article/view/274/270.


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Updated on Dec 10, 2023

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Can You Wear a Waist Trainer During Pregnancy?

 Lisa Smiley Profile Photo
By Dr. Lisa Smiley | Updated on Dec 10, 2023
Image for article Can You Wear a Waist Trainer During Pregnancy?

Waist trainers are worn to slim the waist and shrink the belly, and they should be avoided during pregnancy. Instead, look for soft, gentle compression garments to wear. Something like a belly band, biker shorts, or maternity-specific shapewear can be helpful in supporting your body and reducing discomfort from low back, pelvic girdle, or round ligament pain, improving balance and increasing mobility 1 . It should be flexible and not restrict your breathing or movement, as rigid support can contribute to increased intra-abdominal pressure 2 , which is a risk factor for pelvic organ prolapse 3 and stress urinary incontinence 4 .

Limited research shows maternity support garments may help to manage diastasis recti in pregnancy 5 , but appropriate abdominal exercise has been shown to be more beneficial. Discuss with your healthcare provider about which form of support is best for you.

Pregnant woman holding her stomach on a bed with a plant in the background

Want evidence-based health & wellness advice for fertility, pregnancy, and postpartum delivered to your inbox?

Your privacy is important to us. By subscribing you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.

Expectful uses only high-quality sources, including academic research institutions, medical associations, and subject matter experts.

  1. Carolina Quintero Rodriguez, Olga Troynikovcorresponding "The Effect of Maternity Support Garments on Alleviation of Pains and Discomforts during Pregnancy: A Systematic Review"Journal of Pregnancy, vol. 2019Aug 1, 2019https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6699320/.

  2. Hua-Yu Zhang, BA, MSc, Dong Liu, MSc, MD, Hao Tang, BA, MSc, Shi-Jin Sun, MSc, MD, Shan-Mu Ai, BA, MSc, Wen-Qun Yang, BA, MSc, Dong-Po Jiang, MSc, MD, and Lian-Yang Zhang, MD, PhD"The effect of different types of abdominal binders on intra-abdominal pressure", vol. 37, no. 1Jan 1, 2016, pp. 66–72https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4724682/.

  3. Indumathi Kuncharapu, Barbara A Majeroni, Dallas W Johnson"Pelvic organ prolapse", vol. 81, no. 9May 18, 2010https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20433127/.

  4. Kanli Jiang, Joseph M Novi, Suzanne Darnell, Lily A Arya"Exercise and urinary incontinence in women"Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey, vol. 59, no. 10Oct 1, 2004, pp. 717-721https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15385857/.

  5. Pavelas Zachovajevas, Brigita Zachovajevienė,Jūratė Banionytė, Arvydas Siaurodinas"Physical Theraphy and Maternity Support Garment"Lithuanian Sports University E-JournalsSep 7, 2012, pp.  99–106https://journals.lsu.lt/baltic-journal-of-sport-health/article/view/274/270.


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