By now, most women know that their insurance will likely cover one breast pump at no cost per pregnancy. They’re an essential tool for breastfeeding moms and are listed as a “preventative benefit” under the Affordable Care Act. But you may not know that your insurance will cover other medical devices too – like maternity compression garments. They are lifesavers throughout your pregnancy and beyond!
Third and fourth trimesters both come with unique challenges. Two of the most common symptoms that moms have when they are pregnant are back pain and swelling. Maternity compression garments, like belly bands and compression socks, give moms relief using targeted support. In the weeks after you have a baby, you’ll have soreness, bleeding, swelling and less core stability. Postpartum recovery garments use gentle compression to relieve these symptoms. They make it easier for moms to move around and make them more comfortable.
Most Tricare policyholders qualify to get all three of these items through insurance.
Three Types of Maternity Compression & How They Work
Maternity Support Band
As your bump grows, your baby’s weight is supported by your back, abs, hips, and pelvis. This often causes back pain. Maternity support bands, also known as belly bands, spread your baby’s weight across your abdomen and back to take the pressure off your core.
As your body changes to make room your growing baby, your abdomen pulls forward. This puts pressure on the curve of your spine, adding to back pain and making it harder to move around. Support bands help ease back pain, make you more stable, fix posture and even reduce sciatica.
Postpartum Recovery Garment
As soon as you have your baby, your body begins the recovery process – but it has a lot of healing to do and could use some support! Postpartum recovery garments are not the same as shapewear. Unlike Spanx, they are made to support and align your torso until your body can do its normal job again. You can wear these comfortable yet stable garments between one week and up to four months after you have a baby.
While pregnant, your abdominal muscles will stretch apart or become weakened (known as diastasis recti). This happens to make extra room for your baby. These muscles may struggle to move back into place after you give birth. The pelvic floor also weakens as your ligaments take on some of the extra weight of the baby. This also happens during labor when there is more pressure put on those same muscles. The pelvic floor holds the vagina, uterus, bladder, and bowel. Once weakened, it can make it harder to control the bladder.
By applying gentle compression to your glutes, pelvis, stomach, and back, these garments ease pain and reduce swelling. This also reduces post-pregnancy bleeding, pain, and soreness. By supporting and stabilizing you, they make it easier to move and get around.
Postpartum Maternity Compression Options
There are two styles of these garments. Each one is made for moms’ specific needs based on her birth experience. After a C-section, lifting the baby, coughing or sneezing can put pressure on the incision site. This causes pain and can make it take longer to heal. A built-in zipper makes it safe and easy to wear without irritating the C-section wounds.
The compression aids blood-flow to the torso and helps with the healing process. If you have a vaginal birth, you may have perineal tears or an episiotomy. (The perineum is the soft tissue between the vagina and anus.) By bringing your muscles back together, these garments can help you recover from diastasis recti and support your pelvic floor. These improvements make moms more comfortable, and they are able to get back on their feet sooner to take care of their newborns.
If you have swelling in your feet and ankles, compression socks are a game-changer. They gently squeeze your legs to promote blood flow and improve circulation. This prevents swelling, which can be uncomfortable, and relieves aches and pains. They can also help to avoid or minimize varicose veins.
Your feet and ankles are the least swollen when you first wake up, so you should put the socks on before you get out of bed. Wearing compression starting in the morning helps keep swelling down the rest of the day. While they should be tight, they are also made to expand with you. Compression socks are really useful for people who are on their feet for long periods of time.
Each maternity compression garment is an FDA-listed medical device made to help moms who are having specific pregnancy or postpartum related symptoms. If you are a new or expectant mother, you can use insurance benefits on items that provide much-needed relief and allow you to keep your active lifestyle.
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