This study aims to evaluate the wear comfort of eight commercially available maternity support garments. The thermophysiological, sensory/tactile and movement comfort were assessed in a wear trial using a 19-item questionnaire. Fourteen pregnant Chinese women aged 32.3 ± 4.2 years were recruited from a local obstetric clinic. The results show that the tested garments generally provided greater sensory comfort than thermophysiological comfort. The thermophysiological comfort was mainly influenced by the fibre contents and breathability. Significant linear relationships were found between material appearance and hand feel (r = 0.86, p < 0.001), and between non-itchiness and no red mark (r = 0.78, p < 0.001). Movement comfort was influenced by the garment type and style features. Overall, the soft, good-fit, cotton/elastane maternity brief was perceived as the best product. The findings of comfort needs in pregnant women and the effects of various garment attributes would be helpful for the development of maternity support garment design criteria that are required to satisfy critical ergonomic needs. Low back pain during pregnancy is a common and significant health problem. A maternity support garment is regarded as a convenient and safe device to stabilise the lumbar spine so as to relieve pain. However, patient compliance is likely to be affected by discomfort and inconvenience. The results of this study provide guidance for the optimal design of maternity support clothing. Copyright © 2008 Taylor & Francis.
CitationHo, S. S., Yu, W., Lao, T. T., Chow, D. H. K., Chung, J. W., & Li, Y. (2008). Comfort evaluation of maternity support garments in a wear trial. Ergonomics, 51(9), 1376-1393. doi: 10.1080/00140130802116489