Running while pregnant is possible! And many pregnant runners do it with a secret weapon—a belly band for runners.
A belly band (also called a maternity belt or pregnancy support belt) helps support your pregnant tummy and relieve pressure as you run. It also helps support your low back which often hurts pregnant women because of the added strain from the growing tummy.
But not all maternity bands are created equal. Some simply don’t work. Some are uncomfortable and dig into your skin. Some feel cumbersome, adding weight instead of relieving it.
Don’t worry. I got you. In this article, I’m going to suggest and review the best belly band for runners. I curated this list based on my own experience, talking with other mother runners, and conducting research online.
In this article, I will cover:
- Why you should wear a belly band running
- How belly bands work
- When you should wear a belly band for running
- And review the Recore FITSplint maternity belt, Baobei Body maternity support, Belly Bandit Upsie belly band, and the Gabrialla maternity support belt.
So, let’s get going!
Should I run with a belly band?
If you are running while pregnant, I highly recommend you run with a belly band. A maternity support belt acts as a sports bra in that it supports your belly while offering comfort.
Maternity belts can also reduce the risk of lower back pain, SI joint dysfunction, diastasis recti, pelvic floor dysfunction, symphysis pubis dysfunction, and round ligament pain while running.
How do you support your stomach when running?
The best way to support your pregnant tummy when running is to wear a maternity support belt that fits snug over and under your pregnant belly.
You may also tape your belly much like you would use kinesiology tape for an injury. Tummytape makes it easy to apply, coming in a pre-cut package. Just take off the backing and apply under and upon the clean skin of your stomach.
I personally have not used KT tape, rock tape, or Tummytape for my pregnant belly but do know a handful of mamas who have with great success. They say it’s comfortable and effective.
You can buy single-use packages for a mere $7 if you want to try them!
When should you start wearing a belly band?
It really depends on the pregnancy for when you should start wearing a belly band. On average, pregnant women start wearing maternity support around 20 weeks.
However, I recommend using them whenever you feel discomfort around your pregnant belly while running including in your hips, pelvis and lower back.
How do you wear a belly band for running?
Most maternity belts fit under your tummy to offer support. You typically put them on by placing the middle of the belt to your low back and wrapping the ends under your belly so they fasten on each side of your torso. Make the fit snug but not too tight.
Most maternity bands are adjustable to grow with your growing tummy. Many women will wear them after having a baby as well in the fourth trimester to offer extra support as their bodies recover from pregnancy and delivery.
Maternity bands aren’t just worn while running. Many women wear them around the house or at work, especially if they are on their feet a lot.
Related: Running with Back Pain: Do or Don’t?
4 Reasons Why You Need a Pregnancy Support Band
Belly bands decrease discomfort and pain.
This point is the most important and most obvious. Wearing a belly band relieves the discomfort of your heavy pregnant tummy which can strain your pelvis and your lower back. (More than 70 percent of pregnant women struggle with low back pain.)
A maternity support band essentially feels like someone is wrapping their arms around your tummy and lifting it up to ease the weight.
Belly bands can prevent future issues.
Because these support garments decrease the strain put on your pelvic area and back, they can prevent or decrease the risks of future issues such as:
- lower back pain,
- SI joint dysfunction,
- diastasis recti,
- pelvic floor dysfunction,
- symphysis pubis dysfunction,
- round ligament pain, and
- stretch marks.
Belly bands improve posture.
Because belly bands offer compression around your tummy and lower back, it helps you sit and stand up straighter, studies show.
Many pregnant women let their larger tummies pull their hips forward, accentuating the arc in their lower back. This anterior tilt can lead to running injuries such as hamstring strains.
Belly bands help you run longer.
Many women, myself included, have been able to run longer throughout their pregnancies thanks to the help of belly bands. Belly bands make running pregnant more comfortable and thus you’re able to go for a longer distance on your runs, further into your pregnancies.
Related: Free Postpartum Training Plan
This is not a given, of course. For example, I did have pretty severe low back pain during my second pregnancy that made running not fun. However, it is common for many women to feel better running while wearing a pregnancy support band.
Convinced yet? Well, now I want to help you find the right belly band for you. Below are my top four belly bands for runners.
ReCORE Maternity FITSplint
The ReCORE Maternity FITSplint is the worn
best belly band for runners. It was designed by Celeste Goodson, a mother runner herself, and founder of ReCORE which offers pelvic floor training. ReCORE is commonly used by elite runners during pregnancy and postpartum stages.
I recommend my pregnant and postpartum athletes do ReCORE’s online PreCORE and ReCORE pelvic floor programs.
Maternity FITsplit Overview:
The FITsplint is totally adjustable with two straps that can be worn three ways for motion control during running and to support your hip and pelvis. It is made of flexible, slim, breathable material.
The FITsplint comes in three sizes. It’s a popular choice among physical therapists and athletes around the world.
Purchase of the maternity band comes with 5 pelvic floor exercises.
Maternity FITsplint Review:
Wearers of the FITsplint say it completely eliminated the bouncing of their bigger bellies and allowed them to run for longer without worrying about having to pee. It easily hides under a shirt, doesn’t need constant adjustment, and supported both the lower back and belly.
Related: Best Nursing Sports Bras for Runners
FITsplint fans don’t just wear the belly band while running. They also wear it around the house while cleaning or doing chores.
The only complaint is that it does get hot.
- Comes in 3 sizes
- Supports the back, belly, bladder, hips, and pelvis
- Allows you to run longer
- Comes with a sample of PreCORE exercises
- Gets hot
Related: How to Start Running Postpartum
Baobei Body Speed Bump Belly Band
The Baobei Body Speedy Bump belly band comes in a close second to the ReCORE Maternity FITsplint. In fact, it is recommended by my co-coach Laura Norris who wore it during her pregnancy. Wearers say the Speed Bump belly band is akin to a sports bra for your belly.
Baobei Body belly band overview:
This pregnancy belly band features Baobei’s “CORE SUPPORT technology” which makes it like a sports bra for your belly. Baobei says this maternity support band is the only one on the market that offers 360 degrees of complete ore coverage.
It also has a breathable fabric that takes the pressure off the low back and eases common discomforts and back pain of pregnancy.
Baobei Body Belly Band Review:
Wearers of the Baobei body belly band love how supportive yet breathable it feels. It wraps around your full core, offering complete support and stretches with your growing tummy.
While supportive, the soft fabric does not chafe or get too hot. However, some reviewers have said some seams came unstitched after washing it and rolls with movement. Baobei says they have resolved those issues with their sewers. Indeed, the customer service is very responsive! (It is a company made up of work-from-home moms!).
Related: How to Stop Leaking While Running
Baobei Body Belly Band PROs:
- Helps alleviateDiastasis recti (splitting of the abdominals), Round Ligament Pain, Hernia, Low back pain, SPD, Pelvic Pressure
- Speed Bump PROs
- Comes in 5 colors
- Breathable fabric
- Maximum support for all three trimesters
Baobei Body Belly Band CONs:
- Fabric rolls with movement such as bending and twisting
Belly Bandit Upsie Belly Band
The Belly Bandit Belly Band is quickly becoming one of the most popular belly bands for runners due to its full belly support and breathability. It does come in at a higher price point and some mother runners say it’s not very durable.
Belly Bandit Upsie Belly Band Overview:
Let’s start with the fact that this belly band is registered as a medical device and is eligible for insurance reimbursement. It hides easily under your clothes as it wraps under your belly and molds to your skin without digging into it. It is adjustable up to a foot.
Unlike the other bands in this review, it does not fit over your complete torso which has the pro that it doesn’t get as hot.
Belly Bandit Upsie Belly Band Review:
Reviewers loved how soft this support belt is. They claimed it did a great job of relieving lower back pain and bladder discomfort. In fact, there were several wearers who suffered from low back pain during pregnancy and SI joint dysfunction that had relief wearing this belly band.
Some Belly Bandit reviewers disliked the Velcro saying that it was uncomfortable and lost its stickiness after a couple of washes.
Belly Bandit PROs:
- Ultra-soft viscose from bamboo fabric
- SecureStretch™molds to your body
- Relieves low back pain and bladder discomfort
- 12 inches of adjustability with an anti-dig closure
- Comes with a hot and cold therapy gel pack that fits neatly into the back pocket
- Eligible for insurance reimbursement
Belly Bandit CONs:
- Velcro becomes less sticky with washing
- More expensive than most belly bands
Gabrialla MS-96 Pregnancy Support Band
The Gabrialla MS-96 Maternity Support Belt has been one of the most popular belly bands for running for years. So much, in fact, it is award-winning and covered by FDA and Medicare-approved.
Gabrialla MS-96 Pregnancy Support Band Overview:
The Gabrialla maternity band cradles your tummy, easing pressure off your pelvis and back. It also has compression which eases stress on the lower back.
Related: Should I See a Pelvic Floor PT?
Gabrialla MS-96 Pregnancy Support Band Review:
The Gabrialla pregnancy support band was the one I wore running through my pregnancies. It cradles the underside of your belly and offloads the weight while supporting your lower back.
I will say that it helped take the pressure off my pelvis and lower back but I still had to tinkle a lot while running. It also sometimes dug into my skin around the edges of the wrap.
Gabrialla Belly Band PROs:
- FDA and Medicare-approved and doctor-recommended
- Comes in 3 colors
- 5 sizes
- Has a back pocket for a hot or cold pack
- Flexible material with compression
- Claims to help reduce stretch marks
- Least expensive
Gabrialla Belly Band CONs:
- Velcro can dig into your skin
- Doesn’t completely offload pressure
- Can get hot and sweaty
If you want guidance with your training while running pregnant or postpartum, check out my run coaching services. Also, be sure to check out my free training plans:
- Postpartum Training Plan
- After a Break Training Plan
- 5k Training Plans
- 10k Training Plans
- Half Marathon Training Plans
- Marathon Training Plans
- Strength Training Plan