Effectiveness, Feasibility, and Acceptability of Dynamic Elastomeric Fabric Orthoses (DEFO) for Managing Pain, Functional Capacity, and Quality of Life during Prenatal and Postnatal Care: A Systematic Review

Jaclyn M Szkwara, Nikki Milne, Wayne Hing, Rodney Pope

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Conservative interventions for addressing prenatal and postnatal ailments have been described in the research literature. Research results indicated that maternity support belts assist with reducing pain and other symptoms in these phases; however, compliance in wearing maternity support belts is poor. To combat poor compliance, commercial manufacturers designed dynamic elastomeric fabric orthoses (DEFO)/compression garments that target prenatal and postnatal ailments. This systematic review aimed to identify, critically appraise, and synthesize key findings on the effectiveness, the feasibility, and the acceptability of using DEFO to manage ailments during pre-natal and postnatal phases of care. Electronic databases were systematically searched to identify relevant studies, resulting in 17 studies that met the eligibility criteria. There were variations in DEFO descriptors, including hosiery, support belts, abdominal binders and more, making it difficult to compare findings from the research articles regarding value of DEFO during prenatal and/or postnatal phases. A meta-synthesis of empirical research findings suggests wearing DEFOs during pregnancy has a significant desirable effect for managing pain and improving functional capacity. Further research is required to investigate the use of DEFOs for managing pain in the postnatal period and improving quality life during prenatal and postnatal care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 06 Jul 2019


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