Assistive Devices and Pregnancy

Pregnancy is often an exciting time in someone’s life, it can also be uncomfortable and frustrating. As the body adapts and changes throughout pregnancy, factors such as centre of gravity changes, increased blood volume and hormones can cause many different ailments. Below are some assistive devices that can help during a pregnancy.

Maternity Belts

As pregnancy progresses, the centre of gravity shifts forward. This may lead to an anterior pelvic tilt and/or increased extension through the lumbar spine. At the same time, the abdominal muscles are in a stretched position, decreasing their ability to adequately stabilize the core. Discomfort is often experienced through the lumbar spine, pelvis and hips. In addition to core stability exercises, maternity belts can be useful to help stabilize the abdomen, low back, pelvis and hips by providing support to the growing belly and applying compression through the lumbar spine and SI joint.

Compression Socks

During pregnancy, the body produces approximately 50% more body fluid. This extra fluid can lead to swelling in the legs. Compression socks help blood vessels work more efficiently and improve circulation. During pregnancy they can be helpful to decrease swelling, alleviate achy legs and decrease the risk of blood pooling and blood clots.

Wrist Brace/Night Splint

While pregnant, the body releases hormones, such as relaxin, to help prepare for childbirth. This hormone increases laxity in the joints of the body. Carpal tunnel syndrome and De Quervain tenosynovitis are common ailments experienced during pregnancy. Most often pregnancy-induced CTS resolve during the postpartum period. Numbness and pain in the hands may be experienced, especially if the wrist and thumb are in a flexed position while sleeping. Wrist braces and/or night splints help keep the wrist and/or thumb in a neutral position during sleep. This alleviates pressure on the median and decreases tension through the extensor of the thumb.


Hormonal changes that lead to laxity in the joints of the body often affect the foot. Coupled with the rapid increase in weight-gain, the hormonal changes may lead to changes in foot posture, shape and may increase strain of the soft tissue structures in the feet. Orthotics may be used to support the feet during pregnancy if pain is experienced. It is also noted that orthotics used prior to pregnancy should be re-evaluated post-partum to check for changes in the feet.