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Carrying and birthing a baby puts enormous strain on a woman’s body, and points to its incredible resilience. The hips, lower back and pelvis will bear the brunt of pregnancy-related discomfort as your body accommodates the growth and weight of your baby. Combined with increased blood volume which impacts circulation, mobility is also made all the more challenging for new and expectant mothers.
Thankfully, maternity compression garments can remedy many of the issues women face during pregnancy and also support the healing process post-delivery. The team at Solidea have been catering to the needs of pregnant and postpartum women across the world since 1976, and aim to provide the best range of medical-grade, maternity compression garments available in Australia.
Australian distributor Sarah Cleaver is a physiotherapist with 10+ years’ experience treating pregnant and postnatal women. In this article, she shares how maternity compression can help new and expectant mums manage discomfort and stay active during pregnancy, plus assist in healing and recovery after the delivery.
The difference between ordinary shapewear and maternity compression
Before we explore the benefits of compression during the pregnancy and recovery periods, it’s important to make the distinction between medical-grade, maternity compression garments and the regular ‘shapewear’ you may already have in your closet. If you think shapewear can be used as a substitute for offering maternity support, then think again! Frequently made with less breathable fabrics and materials of limited stretch, shapewear garments are simply not designed to provide support for the areas of the body that new and expectant mums need most.
When purchasing maternity compression garments, remember that not all are created equal. You’ll want to invest in premium quality products to yield the maximum benefits during your journey to motherhood. Here are some key characteristics to look for:
- Endorsement by obstetricians and physiotherapists - these recommendations can help you distinguish between products on the market and what’s worked for other mothers, to find the best solution for you.
Not sure where to start your search? Solidea’s range, which is made in Italy and tested in Germany, is recommended by obstetricians and physiotherapists. It features only the softest waist bands and a patented ‘wave knit’ fabric, which is shown to promote venous and lymphatic circulation, making you feel and look great. Check out their product testimonials from medical professionals here.
Supports a woman’s changing body during pregnancy
You might be asking: ‘why is compression such a big deal?’. A woman’s body will adjust in amazing ways to nurture their baby during pregnancy, often resulting in discomfort. In fact, the incidence of pregnancy-related back and pelvic joint pain amongst women is estimated to be around 50%, but it doesn’t need to define your pregnancy experience. These symptoms and others, can be minimised with medical-grade, maternity compression garments. Their high waist will help lift the weight of your growing baby, better supporting the back and pelvic joints and abdominal muscles.
The expansion of the uterus as the baby grows (from the size of a peach to the size of a watermelon), puts pressure on the large veins of the pelvis and lower limbs, slowing blood circulation. Furthermore, pregnancy-related hormones cause the walls of veins to relax, increasing the risk of swelling and varicosities. In fact, up to 80% of women will experience some swelling, for which compression stockings offer a proven remedy, improving circulation. They are helpful in a variety of situations, such as extended periods sitting or during long stretches of time on your feet, and are crucial in managing varicose veins.
An important thing to note is that the use of compression garments is not limited to those already experiencing pain or discomfort, and can provide benefit for almost all pregnant women. Aside from being a preventative measure for pain and strain, compression garments can also assist in supporting the uterus during any physical activity or exercise, promoting postural awareness and core muscle activation. Solidea distributor Sarah Cleaver shares her own experience in using the brand’s popular pregnancy shorts to mitigate such pregnancy symptoms: “Fortunately, I was pain-free throughout most of my pregnancy. I wore the Pregnancy shorts every day, even during summer. They helped to lift the extra weight and they made me feel much more comfortable particularly towards the end of the day.”
Key benefits of Solidea pregnancy shorts:
- Have a high waist that lifts the weight of the baby up, to minimise back and pelvic joint pain.
- Are tested and provide proven 12mmHg compression
- Provide better support for pubic symphysis pain (PSD) and vulval varicosities
- Are made from a breathable, lightweight material
Wondering when the best time to start wearing pregnancy shorts is? Sarah suggests that the start of the second trimester once you’re ‘showing’ is advised, but if you would like to begin wearing your Solidea shorts before the end of your first trimester, she recommends that you speak to your healthcare provider first.
Helps new mums in their post-birth recovery
It’s natural for women to want to ‘bounce back’ as quickly as possible following childbirth. The use of maternity compression garments can speed up the healing process and offer protection and relief as you return to daily activities, in the weeks and months following delivery. Women who deliver via C-section need extra support around the incision site, whilst women who deliver vaginally need extra support under their pelvic floor. Suitable following vaginal and C-section deliveries, Solidea’s recovery shorts offer the relief and support you need, as explained by Sarah Cleaver:
“I work in a maternity hospital, and when I fit Recovery shorts to my patients after birth they always say how much better they feel with the extra support. It is recommended that Recovery shorts are worn every day for at least the first 6 weeks after delivery.”
Irrespective of your delivery method, compression garments will get you mobile more quickly, and reduce the strain on your body. In the early postnatal period, all women benefit from support and lift under their pelvic floor, as well as to their abdominal wall (DRAM) and lower back. Keep in mind that one in three Australian women experience urinary incontinence after birth. Therefore, compression garments that help support the pelvic floor muscles are a wise investment for new mums.
One aspect of getting ‘back to normal’ is the return to regular exercise, which may be daunting for some mothers. Once you get the all-clear from your doctor or obstetrician (usually at your 6 week check up), fitness will help strengthen and tone your muscles and promote mental wellbeing. Maternity compression garments are an excellent way to ease new mums back into physical activity safely, by giving greater control and reassurance in your movements.
Did you know that pregnancy-related hormones continue to affect the joints and ligaments after birth, particularly in breast feeding mums, putting you at greater risk of injury? Wearing compression garments such as the Solidea Recovery Shorts may reduce the risk of injury while you navigate through this period. The use of Recovery supports does not mean your muscles will ‘switch off’, rather they facilitate core muscle activation through improved postural awareness and help to mitigate the effects of muscle fatigue. This self-care is vitally important, and will ultimately allow you to better respond to the physical challenges of caring for your growing baby.
Solidea is a trusted name in medical-grade, maternity compression garments to support your changing body during the entire pregnancy journey. Visit the Solidea website to learn more and discover the extensive product range, which includes their popular, post-birth recovery shorts.