Childbirth is one of the miracles of life – but pregnancy does bring along some bodily changes that may be considered unwanted.
One of the main concerns mothers have during pregnancy is how much their bellies grow. While they understand that a large tummy comes with pregnancy, they still wish they can fit into their old jeans. The classic move would be to simply suck in their stomach. However, can they suck in their stomach? Or more importantly, is it safe?
For the most part, sucking in your stomach when pregnant is perfectly safe as the pressure caused is not enough to affect the baby protected by the womb. As long as it is not done for prolonged periods of time or when lying down, sucking in the stomach when pregnant is safe to do.
This article will detail the several factors pregnant mothers need to consider before they can suck in their stomachs.
The Baby Bump Starts to Show Beyond Week 12
Even though pregnancy and giving birth are life-changing moments, most women would typically discover that they are pregnant between Weeks four to seven. Upon learning about their pregnancies, most women would be too overwhelmed to think about their growing bellies. However, soon enough, some might start wondering when they will have to look for maternity clothes.
If a woman discovers her pregnancy early, they can actually prepare for quite some time. While it may be different from one woman to the next, pregnancies typically begin to show between Weeks 12-16. If they are concerned about having a big belly, they can actually use this time to prepare.
For example, they can use this time to prepare a wardrobe that can effectively hide the baby bump. Women can use maxi dresses and empire waist dresses that can help shape the body in a flattering manner even when pregnant.
Sit-Ups Can Help Post-Pregnancy
Another thing pregnant women can do to help them with their belly is to do sit-ups. While there is a misconception that exercise would be too much of a physical strain on a pregnant woman, exercise is actually recommended.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that pregnant women should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week. Best spread throughout the week, physical activity is recommended for overall health.
Sit-ups are great for training the core. Since the exercise specifically targets that area of the body, some might be hesitant to do sit-ups during pregnancy. As a rule of thumb, exercise is safe to perform up to Week 16. It is also highly recommended to confirm with your doctor whether you are capable of doing exercises during your pregnancy or not.
It must be understood that sit-ups will not be able to help hide the baby bump. However, the strengthening of the core will be helpful when giving birth. It will also help the woman’s body bounce back after the pregnancy.
It is Safe to Suck in Your Stomach When Pregnant
Going back to the original question, pregnant women can most definitely suck in their stomachs. Sucking in their stomach can help them get into certain clothes and make them feel good about themselves. Understandably, women are concerned if whether sucking in their stomachs is safe for the baby or not.
For the most part, sucking in your stomach when pregnant is perfectly safe. While you might be concerned that you are putting pressure on the baby, you must understand that the baby is found within the muscular walls of the uterus – it will take more than just sucking in your stomach to put enough detrimental pressure on the baby.
When you suck in your stomach, you use your abdominal muscles to pull in the belly, effectively moving the intestines, the stomach, and other internal organs around. Fortunately, all this will still not be able to affect the developing baby inside the womb. However, it should also be recommended that you don’t suck in your stomach for prolonged periods of time.
Understandably, you will need to stop if ever you feel any discomfort while sucking in your stomach. You will have to learn to listen to your body to find out what feels right and what feels wrong.
You can even exercise the movement of sucking in your stomach. Since it is safe, you can do this anytime. All you need to do is take a deep breath, suck your stomach in, and slowly release the breath and the stomach simultaneously. The repetition of this exercise might make it easier for you to suck in your stomach.
Don’t Suck in Your Stomach When Lying Down
While sucking in your stomach may not necessarily have any safety issues for the baby, it is highly advised to avoid sucking in your stomach while lying down. The act of sucking in your stomach is not the problem here – it’s gravity. The combination of sucking in your stomach and gravity might pose problems for your blood flow.
Specifically, an important vein can be found in the abdomen – the inferior vena cava. This major vein collects deoxygenated blood from the lower half of the body and brings it all back to the heart to be pumped through the lungs and become oxygenated once more.
The problem with sucking in your stomach and lying down at the same time is that you might be putting too much pressure on this vein. Of course, this refers to lying down on your back. This means that sucking in your stomach while lying on your belly should be fine as well. To reiterate, it is imperative that you listen to what your body feels.
When discussing sucking in the stomach during pregnancy, it is difficult to avoid the topic of diastasis recti. Diastasis recti is the condition where the rectus abdominis muscles (the muscle considered as the six-pack) separate in the middle. Diastasis recti is commonly identified by a visible bulge in the middle of the abdomen. The condition is often compared to a zipper that has burst at its seams in the middle.
Many people are concerned that sucking in your stomach when pregnant can lead to diastasis recti. This correlation is probably from the fact that pregnancy is a common cause of diastasis recti. The probability of developing diastasis recti can even increase due to having multiple pregnancies.
Other risk factors that can cause diastasis recti include bodybuilding, weightlifting, and laborers. The common denominator of all these risk factors is a high strain on the abdominal muscles.
Although pregnancy does increase the likelihood of diastasis recti, there are no studies stating that sucking in the stomach when pregnant can further increase it. As long as the sucking of the stomach is not done for prolonged periods of time, it should be safe to do.
While diastasis recti does not necessarily affect the development of the baby, it can have troubling consequences down the line. The most common issue caused by diastasis recti is fetal misalignment. The fetus inside the womb is positioned very specifically. Lacking support from the mother’s core, the baby can be misaligned, an issue that can potentially affect labor.