KT Tape for Pregnancy: A Partner in Prenatal Care
KT tape, also called kinesiology tape, has become a popular way for expecting mothers to find relief from common pregnancy pains. The elastic therapeutic tape can provide support and stability during pregnancy’s many bodily changes. Read on to learn about the origins of KT tape for pregnancy, how it works, its benefits during pregnancy, proper taping techniques, safety considerations, frequently asked questions, and how KT tape for pregnancy can make carrying a baby more comfortable.
KT tape was invented in the 1970s in Japan as a sports performance and injury taping technique. The stretchy, lightweight tape lifts the skin microscopically to improve blood flow and reduce pain signals. During pregnancy, KT tape can be used to provide extra abdominal support, stabilize strained joints like the SI, pubic bone and hips, reduce swelling, and ease back, rib, and neck discomforts. While not a fix for underlying issues, it brings symptom relief and greater function when correctly applied. KT tape for pregnancy should be used minimally and carefully during pregnancy. Understanding proper taping direction, tension, and precautions allows pregnant women to incorporate KT tape as part of their pain management regimen.
A Brief History of KT Tape
KT tape was developed in the 1970s by Dr. Kenzo Kase, a Japanese chiropractor. He pioneered a specialized elastic therapeutic tape designed to lift the skin, unlike traditional rigid sports taping methods. The tape’s patented wave-like grain and lightweight fabric allows it to expand and flex with the body’s natural movement. He founded the Kinesio brand and taping courses teaching proper application techniques for various injuries and performance needs.
Use spread across Asia and Europe through the 80s-90s, popular with chiropractors, physical therapists and athletes. The 2003 Olympics introduced KT tape to the US after Kerri Walsh wore it for her shoulder injury. It gained widespread popularity over the next decade as a drug-free pain and swelling reliever. It is now commonly used by pregnant women seeking natural relief.
How KT Tape for Pregnancy May Help
KT tape for pregnancy can provide multiple benefits such as:
- Lifts skin away from pain receptors to alter pain signals
- Provides external joint support and stability
- Helps reduce swelling/inflammation from fluid shifts
- Offers gentle compression for rib/back discomfort
- Helps stabilize weakened pelvic areas and relax tight muscles
- May improve circulation and lymph drainage
- Offers sensory feedback for posture and movement
- Is flexible and breathable allowing for full range of motion
- Non-medicated pain relief alternative
Proper KT Taping for Pregnancy Techniques
To gain benefits, proper taping direction and technique is critical:
- Clean skin of lotions/oils so tape adheres
- Trim tape to appropriate length for the area taping
- Apply tape stretched to 30-40% of its full length for proper recoil
- Round tape edges to avoid peeling and irritation
- For support, apply tape from origin of muscle up toward insertion
- For pain relief, apply in descending direction over the problem area
- Apply light pressure smoothing tape down without stretching skin
- Tape areas moving from most stable anchor points outward
Recommended KT Taping Applications During Pregnancy
Common KT taping uses during pregnancy include:
- Lower back – Tape horizontally across lumbosacral region for support and pain relief
- Abdomen – Tape vertically or in lattice pattern over belly for uplift support
- Rib cage – Tape along underside of breasts and over ribs to reduce pain from expansion
- SI/Hips – Tape alignment over hips and sacrum to stabilize
- Pubic symphysis – Tape vertically over pubic bone to reduce separation pain
- Under belly – Tape between pubis and ribs to support growing uterus
- Neck/upper back – Tape over trapezius, shoulders and neck for postural support
- Legs – Tape over quads, IT band, calves to aid swelling and varicose veins
KT Taping Precautions During Pregnancy
To use KT tape safely:
- Test small strip first and watch for allergic reaction before extensive taping
- Avoid overly tight tension to prevent skin irritation and circulation restriction
- Stop if tape causes numbness, tingling or worsened pain
- Place minimal tension over abdomen and chest areas
- Remove gently and do not re-tape the same area frequently
- Watch for redness and immediately remove tape if concerns arise
- Keep areas taped clean and air them out frequently
- Consult doctor before using tape if you have skin disorders, diabetes or blood clots
Frequently Asked Questions:
Here are some common questions about using KT tape for pregnancy:
How long can I keep KT tape on during pregnancy? Aim to remove within 3-5 days max. Replace sooner if peeling, irritation or discomfort occurs.
Can I apply KT tape myself or do I need a professional? Self-taping is fine but consider seeing a prenatal chiropractor or physical therapist to learn proper technique.
Will KT tape prevent stretch marks? No studies confirm it prevents stretch marks but taping abdomen may help skin elasticity. Do not pull overly tight.
Can I use KT tape in water? Yes, waterproof KT tape can stay on even when bathing or swimming. It may need to be replaced aftergetting wet.
Does health insurance cover KT tape costs? Sometimes, if taped by a chiropractor or physical therapist. Check your coverage for durables medical equipment.
KT tape offers a flexible, drug-free way for pregnant women to gain extra support and pain relief during pregnancy’s many changes and strains. While not a cure-all, with proper taping technique, it can bring stability and comfort to common aches and pains. KT tape for pregnancy enables continuing activity during pregnancy and can make carrying baby’s added weight a little easier. By being an informed user, pregnant women can safely incorporate KT tape into their self-care routine for a more comfortable pregnancy journey.