First Impression (Monday 14th August):
I am now officially seven months pregnant and I have decided that I will test my maternity support belt today, at the start of my 7th month.
There’s a lot of maternity support belts out there, but I was on a search for one that would be particularly good for runners. The one that I decided to get in the end was the Gabrialla G MS-96i Maternity Support Belt. It is being advertised as the best one for pregnant runners, so even though it’s pricey I have decided to buy it. It’s got a lot of good reviews as well, which also helped me with deciding.
I got it almost a month ago, but I was putting off using it for running for as long as I could, dreading this moment. I knew it wouldn’t be the same with the belt on, and I was trying my best to do without it until now. But because my round ligament pain can get quite bad during some runs now, I was hoping that the belt would help with reducing it a great deal, if not stopping it completely.
I have not changed my pace, nor the duration of my run this morning for the purpose of this test. I worn the belt on top of my top, instead of directly on my skin, although this particular model is breathable, and as per description and reviews it’s not supposed to cause chaffing. I didn’t want to risk it though, so decided to wear it on my top, not underneath it.
Firstly, my round ligament pain appeared at the same time it normally does, and lasted for as long as it normally does. So the belt didn’t really help with that, and that was the biggest disappointment as this was the main reason I wanted to get one in the first place. Secondly, I’ve noticed that due to the position of the belt on my body the pressure on the bladder increased rather than decreased, which wasn’t a very pleasant experience.
For the first 10 minutes of my run I was surprised how OK I felt with having the belt on while running. The thing I was scared of the most was that the belt will be very uncomfortable to wear and I’d constantly feel it while running, which would make the whole experience terrible. It wasn’t the case. The belt didn’t even get in a way of my running, except for the pressure on the bladder. I’ve noticed that it helped me keep my posture more straight. But on the other hand, and without any good reason, I was running a bit stiffer than usual. I was contracting my leg muscles more and so running stiffer, but not because the belt was in a way of anything, it was more because of the expectation in my head that it would be. If that makes sense 😉
The good thing about it was also the fact that I felt less pressure on my cervix. Last week there was this uncomfortable pressure that I felt during and after my runs, but with the belt on today I didn’t feel it.
But that’s as good as it got for me…
Once I took the belt off I also felt a back ache instantly and I think this is because, with increasing weight of my bump, my posture is probably not as good as it should be now. And since the belt forced me to keep a proper posture for 30 minutes of my run, once I took it off, my back started aching. It wasn’t for very long, but still noticeable enough to mention it.
Another thing that I’ve noticed was that the baby didn’t move for longer than usual after my run, and I cannot be sure if this had anything to do with the belt, or not. But I kept thinking that with the belt on, she might have had less space and probably didn’t like it that much either.
- increased pressure on my bladder
- no reduction in the round ligament pain
- back ache after I took the belt off
- reduced baby movement for a longer period than usual after running (again, I’m not 100% sure if this was because of the belt or not)
- reduced pressure on the cervix
- keeping the proper posture throughout
- not as uncomfortable to wear while running as I thought it would be
I will be running tomorrow without the belt again and include my feedback on an update below…
Next day update (Tuesday 15th August):
I started my run as normal this morning, without the belt on, but unfortunately I had to stop after only 10 minutes. The round ligament pain was so bad, that I couldn’t continue. I don’t know if wearing the belt yesterday made it worse, but it has never been as bad as this morning. I tried to continue with the belt on, but it wouldn’t help. I will try once again tomorrow with the belt on, but if the pain is as bad as it was this morning, I won’t be able to run anymore, which makes me extremely upset. I’ve never had to stop before and I’ve ran through pain on many occasions, being it a very bad side stitch before I became pregnant, or round ligament pain in the second trimester of my pregnancy. But a pain like the one that I’ve experienced this morning makes it impossible to continue.
I can only hope now that tomorrow will be better… 😦
Another update (Wednesday 16th August):
Another run this morning with the belt on from the start, after the disastrous one yesterday, and the round ligament pain was tolerable today, same as it was previously. The pain started about 8 minutes into my running and was mild to light throughout. Only about 2-3 final minutes were more painful, but overall it was the same as during my runs last week, so I will definitely continue with the belt on everyday from now on. I don’t know if the belt made it worse for me and I cannot run without it anymore, once I started wearing it, or if it’s just because my bump is continuously getting bigger now and heavier and that’s what’s making the pain worse, but for as long as I can still run, I don’t care anymore if I have to do it with the belt on. I almost cried from happiness this morning, knowing that I managed to run my normal 30 minutes and it’s still not over for me 🙂 Good runs, or rather runs with a tolerable amount of pain, are even more precious now than before. And I am so grateful for my every run! While I can still do it…
- reduced round ligament pain comparing to the one from the previous day, when it made me stop (but no reduction comparing to the last week)
- no back ache anymore after taking the belt off after the run
- no stiffness anymore, as I’m getting used to the belt now and run more freely, same as previously
- maintained proper, straighter posture throughout
- no cervix pressure as during my runs last week without the belt
- still increased pressure on the bladder, but I think I can get used to this in time
Overall the belt has passed the test for me, because it made me last my usual 30 minutes today again. Also, the baby’s movements are as normal today, so the first day might have just been a one off and possibly had little to do with the belt itself.
If in time my round ligament pain gets any worse, as I’m further along in my pregnancy, I will test other ways of easing off the round ligament pain, for example I might try to reduce the speed once again at some point, or decrease the number of my running days. I am also thinking about running streaks towards the end, so instead of my usual 30 minutes of 4.8-4.9km for 4 days per week, I might start running daily but reduce the time of my runs and base them on mileage instead, so a minimum of 1.5-2 miles in month 8, or 1-1.5 mile in month 9 per day. But for now, I will try to maintain my normal routine, with more or less pain, depending on a day…