What Happens if I'm Pregnant & Wear a Tight Belt?

There's no need to start wearing baggy and unflattering clothes just because your belly expands during pregnancy. Clingy clothing can flatter your best features while accenting your new baby bump. However, keep in mind that certain areas of your ever-changing body will need some extra space to breathe. Wearing a tight belt won't necessarily harm your baby, but it can make your pregnancy needlessly uncomfortable.

A pregnant woman is wearing a belt. (Image: McIninch/iStock/Getty Images)

Nerve Compression

Your constantly growing belly during pregnancy adds pressure to your groin. This added pressure can pinch your lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, which normally gives sensations to your outer thighs, according to MayoClinic.com. This condition, called meralgia paresthetica, can cause numbness, tingling and burning sensations in the outer portion of an affected thigh. Wearing tight-fitting clothing, such as a tight and low-fitting belt, may further increase your risk of meralgia paresthetica when you're pregnant. Switching to looser clothing may help the problem.

Swelling and Varicose Veins

Pregnancy causes your body to retain more water and increases your body's blood volume by about 40 percent, according to the California Pacific Medical Center website. This can increase your risk of swelling in areas such as your hands, feet and legs, particularly in later pregnancy and in hot weather. You may reduce blood circulation in your lower extremities – and increase your risk of swelling in your lower body – if you wear a tight belt or clothing such as leotards and tight jeans. This extra swelling in your legs also may be associated with weak, twisted, swollen and sometimes tender blood vessels known as varicose veins.

Heartburn and Indigestion

You are more susceptible to heartburn caused by acid reflux during pregnancy because hormones in your body relax your digestive muscles, allowing acids from your stomach to creep back up into your esophagus, according to the March of Dimes. You're also more likely to develop indigestion, or upset stomach, with heartburn and pregnancy. Fortunately, you can lower your risk of having these digestive troubles if you reduce unnecessary pressure on your abdomen and stomach. For example, sit upright after eating, loosen your belt and wear other loose-fitting attire.

Tips

There are ways to avoid being uncomfortable while taking steps to look slim and trim during pregnancy. For example, wearing dark colors such as navy blue and black tend to give you a trimmer appearance than do lighter colors, according to pregnancy health website "What to Expect." Wearing a single shade or vertical lines also can give you a longer, leaner appearance, whereas wearing different colors on top and bottom or wearing horizontal lines creates a sense of width. And although you should avoid wearing anything too tight in your growing bust and stomach areas, clothing that fits your shoulders neatly gives you a slimmer look than does clothing with shoulders that hang down.

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