Chrissy Teigen Loves Wearing Pregnancy Shapewear — But Is It Really a Good Idea?
Kim Kardashian's SKIMS shapewear brand recently announced its upcoming "Maternity Solutionwear" collection, which has incited a lot of backlash on social media. Critics, including body-positive activist Jameela Jamil, roasted the brand for implying that pregnant women should feel the need to make their bodies look smaller. But social media queen (and pregnant mom herself) Chrissy Teigen came to their defense.
In a series of videos posted on her Instagram Stories on Sunday, Teigen voiced her opinion and shared why she's personally a big fan of pregnancy shapewear in general. The expecting mom filmed herself speaking into her bathroom mirror while wearing a full set of pregnancy shapewear, complete with a bra and mid-thigh leggings that went over her belly. (Related: Science Says Having a Baby Tanks Your Self-Esteem for 3 Whole Years)
"Basically, the reason I love pregnancy shapewear is because it stops all the folds of my vagina and stomach from eating any other type of underwear," she says in the first video.
"When you're pregnant and you're sitting down a lot, or on bed rest like me, you tend to just sit there, and if you're wearing regular, basic-ass underwear, all it does is roll inside of folds I didn't even know I had," she explained. "It rolls up in there and it doesn't even look like I have underwear on." (Related: The Science of Shapewear)
Teigen continued by noting that her choice to wear shapewear during pregnancy has nothing to do with the way she looks, but rather the way it makes her feel. "I don't think I have some magic waistline now," she said. "I'm not doing it to get a waistline. I merely want to wear underwear that's pretty, that I feel good in, that's soft, that's comfortable, that stretches nicely over my belly, [and] that my p***y doesn't eat." (Related: The Most Comfortable Underwear for Women)
The idea of pregnancy shapewear isn't to body-shame pregnant women, Teigen added. It's to make them feel supported. "Obviously, the message is that pregnant women shouldn't have to feel like they have to make themselves smaller," she said. "They should feel beautiful and yes, absolutely, I one thousand percent agree with that. But what you're forgetting is that none of us think that this is making us smaller. Nobody thinks that. Just trust me when I say that." (Related: We Need to Change the Way We Think About Weight Gain During Pregnancy)
Teigen ended her mini-rant by reiterating that, for her, wearing pregnancy shapewear is all about comfort and that she isn't ashamed of it whatsoever. "We do it so we feel high and tight and honestly it feels easier to get up, it feels easier to move around when you're not flopping all over the place," she shared. "For the most part, it's just the most comfortable thing to wear."
Shortly after Teigen shared her opinion with her (casual) 31 million followers, Kardashian took to Twitter to offer the inspiration behind creating the SKIMS Maternity Solutionwear collection: "Skims maternity line is not to slim but to support."
The mom of four explained that the part of the leggings (Buy It, $68, skims.com) that goes over the belly is "sheer" and made of material that's much thinner compared to the rest of the garment, she wrote on Twitter. "It provides support to help with the uncomfortable weight being carried in your stomach which affects your lower back."
Most mamas would agree that having this kind of support during pregnancy — especially in later trimesters — would be nothing short of amazing. But is it actually a good idea to squeeze into such tight garments while pregnant?
"I have not seen any studies particularly addressing that pregnancy shapewear is unsafe," says Christine Greves, M.D., a board-certified ob-gyn at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies in Orlando, Florida. "That said, I also haven't seen any evidence that says it gives the support needed for long-lasting relief."
Dr. Greves notes that it's common for women to complain about lower back pain toward the end of their pregnancy; however, doctors are more likely to recommend a maternity belt (Buy It, $40, target.com) — an adjustable thick strap of fabric designed to be worn just under your bump to help support your belly — versus shapewear. "I tend to stick with what's tried and true and what's been proven before recommending something we don't have data on," she says. "And right now, we don't have science and research-backed data on pregnancy shapewear."
If you are struggling with back pain, Dr. Greves suggests trying some approved stretches that can help release some tension and correct posture. That said, it's always best to check with your ob-gyn to establish exactly why you're having back pain to find a solution that works best for you. (Related: The Best Pregnancy Workout for Women with Lower Back Pain)
Comfort aside, Dr. Greves notes that wearing shapewear during pregnancy could increase the odds of contracting certain infections. On top of potentially being sweaty and hot in the second and third trimester, pregnant women have an elevated level of glucose in their bodies. That can make them more prone to yeast infections, she explains.
"Tight-fitting undergarments, like shapewear, especially those that are not made of cotton, often hug the body quite a bit," she says. "This might not give your private parts enough room to breathe. That, combined with the elevated glucose, could further up your chances of getting yeast infections." (Related: The Step-By-Step Guide to Curing a Vaginal Yeast Infection)
Even though wearing what makes you feel comfortable during pregnancy is super important, says Dr. Greves, it's probably best to try other ob-gyn-approved methods to ease your discomfort during pregnancy — just to play it safe. "It's great that Chrissy is trying to bring to the forefront that women may feel the need to have extra support; however, I would save the Spanx and similar materials for after having your baby unless research proves otherwise," she says.