Can I Use Maternity Tape While Pregnant?

Pregnant person with therapeutic tape on belly

Tutye/ Getty Images

Key Takeaways

  • Maternity tape is a kinesiology adhesive fabric applied to pregnant bellies in order to alleviate pelvic and round ligament pain.
  • Many pregnant people prefer using maternity tape over other interventions to relieve pain, like belly belts or stockings, because it's lighter.
  • The benefits of maternity tape have not been studied much, but experts say the risk to pregnant people and babies is relatively low.

If you’ve been following pregnancy posts on social media lately, you’ve probably come across a new trend of pregnant bellies plastered with colorful tape. This tape is less about decoration and more about pain relief for expecting parents. Brands like SpiderTech and Tummy Tape are creating a one-piece, adhesive fabric that can be applied on pregnant bellies. Pregnant people say this type of maternity tape helps them reduce pressure created from the extra weight.

As a former professional hockey player, Alexis Miller frequently used kinesiology tape for her sport-related injuries. Once she became pregnant, the 28-year-old North Carolina mom of two had back pain and severe hip pain because she carried low. She was hoping maternity tape would help hold her belly up.

"It was wonderful," Miller says of the tape. "It truly felt like there were hands underneath my belly holding it up and it just provided enough relief to get through the last weeks. I used it right up until I went into labor at 40 [weeks] + 1 [day], and found the biggest difference when I would get out for walks at the end of pregnancy. I will definitely use it again in my next pregnancy, and likely earlier now that I am familiar with it."

Kate Hurst, a 30-year-old nurse from Toronto, also used maternity tape during her pregnancy for her pubis symphysis disorder and severe pelvic pain. Hurst says the tape made her belly feel lighter and her doctors supported her with her decision to use it.

"I was seeing a pelvic physiotherapist at the time, and she was aware I was using the tape," Hurst says. "I did advise my doctor I was using it at a later point. My physio[therapist] was supportive of me trying the tape as an option instead of a support belt."

So with its rise in popularity and plenty of fans, we set out to see what all the hype around maternity tape is about.

What Is Maternity Tape?

Maternity tape is a type of kinesiology supportive adhesive. Kinesiology tape is typically used to help support muscles and joints, and alleviate pain in athletes. It can also be applied to a pregnant belly, usually in the third trimester, in order to lift it and alleviate pressure.

Two of the more popular tape brands are SpiderTech and Tummy Tape. Both have similar designs and are getting a lot of attention online. The precut fabric has a long strip that is applied to the bottom of the belly. It then has four, finger-like vertical strips attached. These go up over the belly.

Alan Lindemann, MD

The whole idea is to support the bottom part of the uterus and prevent it from moving around during walking.

— Alan Lindemann, MD

“The whole idea is to support the bottom part of the uterus and prevent it from moving around during walking,” Alan Lindemann, MD, OB/GYN says. “There's a lot of women who have pain when they walk when they're pregnant. And this tape is supposed to help that.”

Dr. Lindemann explained when a person is not pregnant, the round ligaments that support the uterus are only about the size of a piece of spaghetti. When pregnancy occurs, those ligaments stretch. The increase in size can cause pain. Maternity tape is one solution some pregnant people are turning to for relief.

Is it Safe to Use Maternity Tape During Pregnancy?

According to Dr. Lindemann, maternity tape is generally safe to use and doesn’t present an inherent risk to the parent or baby. He points out that while the product hasn’t been studied all that much, the real question is not whether it can cause harm, but rather if there are actual benefits to using the tape. 

“There's one study from 2017 with 46 patients, but it doesn't say whether there was a control group. In those 46 patients, they do have many who said they did gain relief,” Lindemann explained. “And the relief is really from what they call the pelvic girdle, which is the pelvis and all of the bones and the connective tissue in it. Also, they say that it decreases the risk of round ligament pain.”

Andrea Chisholm, MD, OB/GYN at Cody Regional Health also does not see any risk to pregnant people using maternity tape, aside from a possible adverse skin reaction. “Kinesiology tape is a very low-risk intervention,” Dr. Chisholm says. “The most significant risk would be a local skin reaction caused by an adhesive sensitivity.”

Benefits of Maternity Tape During Pregnancy

When round ligament and pelvic pain are relieved for pregnant people, their mobility is improved. Many videos of people on social media using the tape are seen exercising and moving around. In fact, SpiderTech, and other maternity tape brands also make kinesiology tape for athletes, too. 

Andrea Chisholm, MD

Kinesiology tape is a very low risk intervention.

— Andrea Chisholm, MD

Solutions for round ligament pain and other pregnancy-related aches have been around for decades in the form of supportive stockings to pregnancy belts. Many people swear by maternity tape because it’s the same concept but without the bulk of other options. 

Safety Precautions of Using Maternity Tape While Pregnant

Maternity tape is relatively harmless, Dr. Lindemann explained, for both the parent and baby. He did point out one concern he has about the adhesive nature of the product. “If you stretch that tape too much, it will cause blisters on the skin,” says Dr. Lindemann. “So you do have to be very careful how you put it on.”

Dr. Chisholm agreed, saying the skin is the most at risk when it comes to using the maternity tape.  “Obviously proper application is key for achieving therapeutic benefit. There is really no clinical situation in pregnancy in which 'k-tape' would be contraindicated unless you had a known sensitivity or allergy to tape adhesive.”

Alan Lindemann, MD

If you stretch that tape too much, it will cause blisters on the skin. You do have to be very careful how you put it on.

— Alan Lindemann, MD

Dr. Lindemann added it’s hard to know for sure if there are any other risks with maternity tape as it hasn’t been studied enough to know. Dr. Lindemann says the biggest concern is actually whether it does the job it says it does. 

“It's not a risk of danger with [maternity tape],” Lindemann sats. “It's more of is it efficacious? Does it do what it says it's going to do? And we haven't heard yet, there hasn't been a definitive study.”

What This Means For You

If you're currently pregnant, you may be feeling some discomfort from your growing belly. You may be seeing social media posts about the use of maternity tape. Some specific brands are gaining a major following online. Maternity tape helps lift pregnant bellies, making expecting parents more comfortable. If you have any questions about whether maternity tape is a good solution for you, contact your healthcare provider.

3 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. van de Pol G, de Leeuw JRJ, van Brummen HJ, Bruinse HW, Heintz APM, van der Vaart CH. The Pregnancy Mobility Index: a mobility scale during and after pregnancy. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2006;85(7):786-791.

  3. Quintero Rodriguez C, Troynikov O. The effect of maternity support garments on alleviation of pains and discomforts during pregnancy: a systematic review. J Pregnancy. 2019;2019:2163790.

By Emily Nadal
Emily Nadal is a freelance writer specializing in pregnancy and maternal health. She holds a master's degree in health and science journalism from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. She also has experience working in television news at local stations in New York City.