Pregnant women often wonder if tight pants can be a problem for their unborn little one. They assume it could get a bit cramped in there, a bit "pinchy" and perhaps be concerned about other potential issues that might endanger the pregnancy.
The good news is that skinny jeans, leggings and even spandex or high-waisted shaping tights won't present a risk to your unborn baby. However, they could be causing a whole host of problems for momma!
It's not just those who are already expecting, that should be wary of the consequences of adamantly compressing themselves into restricted fabrics, if you're keen to have a baby and are reading up on all the tips for trying to conceive, then you may already know that it's best if both you and your man sport looser clothing to enable free blood flow to all the integral body parts.
While it might be tempting to ambitiously squeeze into those hip-huggers, and parade your prenatal posterior with pride, there's a bunch of health-related reasons why it's just not a good idea.
Don't get us wrong, when it comes to showing off your increasingly fuller-figure, boosting your self-esteem and maintaining that glamourous trendy look you're accustomed to portraying, we're 100% behind you. You go, girl!
But this isn't about looks, it's about infections, disease, comfort and not being able to poo. Here are 15 reasons why you should ditch those leather strides and opt for comfy cotton instead.
15 Restricted Blood Flow
Blood finding its way freely around your body is quite simply essential for optimal health. It needs to be able to flow with ease to every part of your body. Although it's highly unlikely that your trousers will be so stupendously tight that you cut off circulation altogether, even that extra squeeze can put pressure on your forcibly-narrowed arteries.
Reduced blood flow over an extended period of time can ultimately lead to muscle degeneration and nerve damage, neither of which sound like much fun.
Okay, so you probably don't wear your tight pants for days on end, but even over a very short period of time (hours), this small reduction in blood flow can make you feel tired, fatigued and all-around lackluster, as if you need to feel any of those things on top of the usual pregnancy exhaustion.
14 (Even More) Back Pain
As if pregnant women didn't already have enough back pain to worry about! Well, it might be more than just your growing belly and posture that's to blame. A recent study by the British Chiropractic Association found a strong link between various clothing items and common ailments, particularly for women. By restricting free movement in the hips and knees, every-day clothing (if too-tight) can impact how a person holds themselves upright, and ultimately reduces support. The BCA found "skinny jeans" to be the number-one fashion item causing back pain, and stated that only 28% of people were aware that their wardrobe choices were having an impact on their physical health.
The BCA recommends looser-fitting pants and changing it up so that you're not repeatedly putting the same stressors on your body.
13 Constipation... "Keep Pushing, Keep Pushing"
Reading this on the loo? Don't worry - you're not alone. 61% of Americans admit to using their phone while sitting on the toilet. Although such multi-tasking is admirable, we're pretty sure you'd rather be somewhere more comfortable. A key to avoiding constipation is to ditch the tight pants. Here's why - American surgeon and talk-show host, Dr. Oz, says tight jeans can significantly hinder your digestion. Narrowing your innards in this way makes it considerably more difficult for food to travel through the intestines over the course of the day. This can lead to abdominal cramps and restricted bowel movements.
Danone recommends, first and foremost, that you make sure you're wearing the right size pants. Jeans that prevent you from being able to bend are not the right size. Having lived in denial of my own clothing size for many years, I understand that it's not always easy to opt for a larger pair, though.
12 Adds To Bloating
You know that uncomfortable gassy feeling like you've been inflated with a bicycle pump and there's nowhere for the air to escape - You feel heavy, you waddle, and you just can't get comfy. No, I'm not talking about pregnancy, but bloating!
Bloating is a common complaint, with more than 70% of people claiming they struggle with it regularly. Yet, despite its abundance, less than a third of sufferers try to find the cause, and/or doing anything about it.
Symptoms of distention are frequently caused by constricting clothes choices. Attempting to smooth out bulges with control pants, or stuffing all your lumpy bits into a pair of drainpipes, squashes your abdomen, thus making it infinitely more tricky for air to pass along as it normally would. The result; trapped wind. "A pleasant experience we'd all like more often", said no one ever.
11 They Just Don't Let You Breathe
Being able to breathe is pretty important. From compressing undergarments to shiny Spanx, forcing large parts of your body into unforgiving material can make you breathless and even cause hyperventilation.
Tummy-taming control pants can prevent your diaphragm from descending fully, leading to difficulties inhaling, which in turn could trigger a panic attack. If that wasn't scary enough, when you cough or sneeze while wearing tight pants, all the pressure is forced downwards - making embarrassing leakages all the more probable.
In 2012, Academy-award winning actress Octavia Spencer, famously revealed that she had to make a quick exit from post-ceremony celebrations owed to her restricting shapewear "Pinching her in places she didn't know existed." We're not surprised she was being pinched - she admitted to wearing three pairs!
Last year, Octavia rebelled against stereotypical norms and chose to wear a tux instead of a dress to the Golden Globes, so she could feel "freer."
10 Vertigo And Dizziness, Anyone?
Pregnant women are already more prone to dizziness and fainting, so need to do all they can to avoid worsening symptoms. Feeling dizzy can make morning sickness significantly more unbearable, and taking a tumble as your balance is thrown off could be dangerous for you and your unborn little one. If you're a new momma, the last thing you want is repetitive bouts of vertigo presenting a risk to both you and your baby as the room spins and your vision is compromised.
Restricted blood flow is directly linked to light-headedness. And snug-fitting clothing is a common culprit. When pregnant, you want to try and make yourself as constantly comfortable as possible, so don't be afraid to sport your baggy pants or a light floaty dress instead of flesh-pinching fabrics. Trust us, you'll still look radiant!
9 Increased Prominence Of Varicose Veins
When vascular surgeon Dr. Bekeny spoke to the Cleveland Clinic in 2015, he said that neither crossing your legs or wearing tight pants would cause varicose veins... However, both of these things can and do exacerbate the appearance of any spider or varicose veins you might have already.
As pregnancy can also increase the prominence of perhaps previously subtle or unnoticeable varicose veins, combining this with wearing your smallest clothes is a recipe for disaster. Although external pressures are not able to directly manipulate purple, bulging veins or make them grow or multiply, over time these pressures can weaken the vein wall, which makes it easier for the veins to become visible externally.
So, wearing girdles, belts or pantyhose might make you feel good in the moment, but the increased pressure over time can deform and swell veins. Other factors that heighten the likelihood of prominent varicose veins are standing for long periods of time, obesity or trauma to your legs.
8 Makes Cellulite Worse
Trying to hide your wobbly bits can actually just create more wobbly bits. Wearing tight clothes can leave indentations and marks on your skin which in turn can convert to cellulite. Cellulite is stubborn and hard to lose, so the best thing you can do is to try your best to avoid getting it in the first place.
While cellulite is normal and extremely common, many women feel self-conscious when donning a bikini because of it (we really don't think you should, by the way. You look just fabulous! Show off that new two-piece and enjoy the sunshine!).
Although there are an increasing number of intriguing cellulite remedies circulating on the web that I'm sure we'd all enjoy giving a try (like eating raw foods, exercising more, massage the dimples daily, lathering yourself in retinal cream or pay a small fortune and get it all lasered), wouldn't it be a heck of a lot easier if you just stopped wearing tight pants?
7 Fungi Flourishes
It can all get a bit manky down there - being warmer, sweatier and having all your bits pushed closer together creates the ideal environment for bacteria to flourish. This can put you at increased risk of contracting urinary tract infections as well as developing a number of fungal unpleasantries that could require a course of antibiotics.
If you suspect you have an issue in that region, it's important to talk to your OBGYN about it right away. If it does need treatment, it'll heal faster if it's not left to fester. Sensitivities vary from woman to woman, but tight pants that rub up against your vulva could easily cause redness, itching, and irritation.
Although your skinny jeans alone are unlikely to cause bacteria to breed or an overgrowth of yeast, they could be playing their part in a larger equation. Lack of breathability, and suffocating your private parts will trap moisture, restrict airflow and make it all rather hot and sticky in your nether parts. Ideal conditions for fungus to flourish.
6 Tight Jeans = Chafing & Pimples
Pimples, wrinkles, dryness and even ingrown hairs, artificially holding your stomach in with denim is severely detrimental to the health of your skin.
For causes of spots on your inner thighs, tight pants are right up there along with shaving, bikini waxing, sweating, STD's, and pregnancy hormones. Chafing is caused by friction between the upper thighs and can make your legs look a dark color, display a scary rash, or form red and white dots around your groin area.
Wearing synthetic materials such as nylon leggings or polyester underwear can exacerbate ingrown hairs. Some people are more prone to ingrown hairs than others. Although they are not a serious problem or anything you need to go running to the emergency room for, ingrown hairs can be extremely painful.
As with any surprising and unsightly skin condition, you should always be sure to get it checked out by your doctor.
5 Turns You Into A Sweaty Betty
You don't have to be in a tropical place to get sweaty. When you wear restrictive clothing, moisture gets trapped, heat is retained and inevitably you excrete more from your sweat glands.
Some people like to wear tight leggings when exercising, believing that excessive sweating will aid them in their quest to shed pounds. While that can be true, sweating in your tight clothes can lead to a whole bunch of nasty issues, including ringworm. Before you start to fear that wriggly creatures could be living in your legs, ringworm actually has nothing to do with worms and is a fungal infection caused by excessive sweating. It can be scary and often presents in the groin and has to be treated with an anti-fungal cream.
Perhaps ironically, sweating in your leggings often can lead to itchy dryness of skin which could evolve into dermatitis. The moral of the story? Keep it cool. Let the air in.
4 You Might Look Good, But Yikes! You Stink!
Well, it kind of makes sense at this point... If your tight pants are making you sweat, pee yourself and grow a variety of vaginal fungi, then it'd be worth betting that you whiff a bit, too.
No one wants you wafting your Spanx-induced aroma around. You'll need to wash several times per day to combat the potentially foul stench that could be oozing through your restricting trousers. If you insist on wearing your fave hip-huggers, just make sure you wash them often to ensure any lingering bacteria is killed off in the washing machine.
But if your relentless stinkiness is getting you down, don't assume you have a major health issue creating the odor - most likely it's just your stretchy yoga pants. Polyester, which is often used to make such pants, is not absorbent and sweat lingers on the surface. Alternatively, cotton will suck up your secretions and hold on tight to them for you, masking the smell from outsiders a bit more until you get the next load of washing on.
3 Heartburn & Belching
Acid reflux, indigestion and suddenly developing an impressive ability to belch the alphabet are all unattractive side effects of the skinny-jean trend.
Increased pressure on your lower stomach forces acid up into the gullet which causes heartburn. If this is a regular occurrence for you, over an extended period of time, this could contribute towards serious internal turmoil - including inflammation, ulcers and in rare and more extreme cases, oesophageal cancer.
Pregnant women are already at increased risk of suffering from acid reflux and gas, so it's best to do all you can to avoid making these unladylike incidents more frequent. These side effects of "tight pants syndrome" are most common in women who continue to wear pants that are three inches smaller than their waist. So embrace your growing belly and put on some cotton pajamas. Who cares what they think at the office?
2 Increased Risk Of Contracting Meralgia Paresthetica
Meralgia Paresthetica is a medical condition which causes tingling, numbness and burning in your thigh, most usually just on one side of your body.
Although local trauma, diabetes, and obesity are all risk factors for developing Meralgia Paresthetica, the most common trigger is exceptionally tight pants. It occurs because the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve becomes trapped, reducing sensation in that part of your leg. This can be quite terrifying if you have no idea what's causing it, as you can feel completely numb.
This neurological condition, also known as Bernhardt-Roth syndrome, can also lead to ongoing back pain. If hubby likes to see you in those tight pants, just make sure he's available to massage you 24-7!
1 They're Just Uncomfortable
No matter how ravishingly eye-catching and impressive you might appear in your tightest of tight pants (or tight skirt for that matter) the fact is that this style comes at a price - not least of all, your comfort.
It's hard to pretend you feel confident, to pull off your best dance moves or perform an impromptu lunge when your suffocating inside your own outfit. Even when you just want to sit and relax - vein-squeezing, nerve-compressing, skin-chafing, sweaty, smelly, fungal infected pants are not doing you any favors.
Acid reflux, bloating, dizziness, constipation, heartburn, belching, cellulite, varicose veins and back pain -- Are they really worth it?
And all this before you've even thought about filling yourself up with some yummy food while eating for two! Come on girl, you know it makes sense... Just whip off those trousers and breathe!
Sources: blog.danone.ca/live-better/jeans-and-digestion/, everydayhealth.com, health.com, dailymail.co.uk, dailymirror.co.uk, steptohealth.com, globalcalgary.ca, healthtap.com, mayoclinic.com, cbsnews.com, skincareguide.com, WebMD.com, health.clevelandclinic.org, realself.com, losecellulitenow.com, self.com, cycleharmony.com, healthrave.org, huffingtonpost.ca, Readers Digest