It’s no doubt that everything changes when you’re pregnant – your body, appetite, and even some behaviours.
While you encounter these changes it’s natural to get asking like a zillion questions about what you can do, and what you can’t do during this precious time. One question I often get asked is: Can you suck in your stomach when pregnant?
While it can seem a little odd, you’re definitely not alone if you’ve tried to do this naturally without even thinking. After all, we want to look our best in photos and mirror reflections, don’t you?
But pregnancy is a special time and it’s really important to take care of yourself and your little one. So today we’re diving into this matter. Is it really safe to hold in your baby bump during pregnancy, what does experts say about this?
Can you squeeze your tummy when pregnant?
Most of the time, you can suck in your stomach while pregnant, especially during the early phase. Your baby is well protected inside your body by the womb, amniotic fluid and the several layers of tissue.
Usually, the pressure you create by holding in your tummy isn’t enough to hurt your baby. However, you don’t need to do it for a long time or while lying down.
When you lie down and pull in your tummy, you’re going to put pressure on your blood vessels, thus making it hard for blood and oxygen to reach your baby.
In as much as it’s safe, make sure you always put your comfort first. If it’s hurting, just stop right away. And if you encountered persisting pain after doing it, reach out to your doctor immediately.
What happens when you suck in your stomach when pregnant ?
When you suck in your stomach, you’re using muscles to pull your belly in. This doesn’t usually hurt your baby just as discussed but it might lead to some problems like:
Our bodies work better when our stomachs are relaxed. You may not breathe as deeply as you should when you hold in your tummy, leading to shortness of breadth, and at the extreme, respiratory complications.
Don’t strain that much, allow your body take in good breaths.
Since sucking in your stomach could affect your breathing, you might end up feeling more tired. When you’re already dealing with pregnancy-related exhaustion, it’s a good idea to avoid making it worse.
Pressure against organs
You’re only going to exert pressure on your insides by practicing this. Your organs, including your lungs, ribs and even digestive system can feel squished.
This added pressure will make you uncomfortable and could potentially cause other issues.
You’re likely to experience back pains when you suck in your stomach while pregnant. This is as a result of the bad posture and extra stress on your muscles.
Even though you can manage backaches, it’s always recommended to minimize them and their causes during pregnancy.
Extra stress on your body
Pregnancy already puts a lot of stress on your muscles. If you suck in your stomach, you add more pressure to an already burdened system. You should prevent this while taking care of your body during this precious time.
Muscular imbalance and poor posture:
Trying to hold your stomach in might throw off your natural balance. You could end up straining certain muscles and hurting your posture. The healthier choice is to stand tall and let your body change naturally.
Diastasis Recti happens when your abdominal muscles separate during pregnancy. Sucking in your stomach might make this situation worse, especially in multiple pregnancies. Keeping things natural is the best way to go.
Alternatives to sucking in stomach while pregnant
While it’s not usually recommended for pregnant women to continuously suck in their stomach, there are healthy alternatives they can do. Here’re safer ways to engage your tummy muscles during pregnancy.
1. Performing deep breathing exercises
Instead of sucking in air, try deep breathing. Deep breathing helps your tummy muscles to strengthen and supplies sufficient oxygen to you and the baby.
Here’s how you do it:
- Sit in a chair comfortably or stand where you’re comfortable.
- Slowly breathe in through your nose. Allow you stomach fill up with air like a balloon
- Slowly breath out now through your mouth, and pull your belly in towards your back.
2. Tilting your pelvis
If you’re looking to strengthen your stomach muscles and pelvic floor, then you can try this.
Here’s how to do this:
- Stand with your back against a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Your knees should be kept slightly bent.
- Push your lower back against the wall
- Hold for a few seconds and relax.
3. Taking Nice Walks
Did you know that going for walks helps to tighten your belly muscles? It also helps with circulation (which means the blood flows better in your body) and makes you feel more balanced.
4. Doing prenatal yoga
This exercise do not only strengthen your tummy muscles, it also relieves stress and keeps you flexible. Make sure to find a prenatal yoga class with a qualified trainer and always listen to your body.
5. Standing and Sitting Up Straight
Good posture—standing and sitting up straight—makes your back feel better and helps to make your belly muscles strong, too
Does your baby hurt when you press in your stomach?
Just as explained on sucking in your tummy, a cushion called amniotic fluid inside the amniotic sac protects your baby. And so when you gently press on your stomach, your baby is usually not hurt.
However, it is important not to apply too much pressure or force, as that could cause discomfort and might harm the baby.
Mild stomach pain that feels like a stitch or mild period pain during pregnancy is normal due to your womb expanding, the growing bump, and hormonal changes.
But if you experience severe pain or other concerning symptoms, it is recommended to discuss with your doctor as soon as possible.
How should you touch your stomach when pregnant?
When you touch your stomach during pregnancy, it’s always best to use gentle pressure. Here are the tips on how to do this the right way when pregnant:
- Use a soft touch: Place your hand lightly on your belly, and avoid pressing down hard.
- Rub gently: You can rub your stomach in slow, circular motions to help you feel more connected with your baby. Just remember to keep it gentle!
- Listen to your body: If you feel some discomforts or pain when you touch your tummy, stop and reach out to your doctor immediately.
Is it safe to wear tight clothing when pregnant?
Wearing tight clothes can also be a form of presses on your pregnant belly, which is not best to do. Though tight clothes are unlikely to stunt your baby’s growth directly, they could impact your blood flow.
You see, during pregnancy the amount of blood in your body increases a lot. This extra blood nourishes you and the baby and supports its growth.
Tight-fitting clothes, particularly around your waist, might be uncomfortable and can sometimes cause pain. This often happens when the tight clothes dig into your waist or hips, especially when sitting down.
Even more, wearing such clothes around your waist can cause heartburn, a common discomfort during pregnancy. Heartburn happens due to a slow digestion process, which in pregnancy is usually caused by increased levels of the progesterone hormone.
So, to stay comfy and help avoid these problems, it’s better to choose clothes that are breathable, stretchy, soft, and loose fitting during pregnancy. Always prioritize your comfort, particularly as your pregnancy progresses.
How should you care for your abdominal area during pregnancy?
In pregnancy, caring for your abdominal area is very important. It won’t only make you comfortable, but will also help your baby’s health. Here are some tips:
- Wear comfortable clothes: Your clothes should always be soft, stretchy and loose to minimize pressure on your abdomen.
- Keep your skin moisturized: While you bump grows, your skin stretches. That is why you should use an excellent moisturizer or oils to help soothe your skin.
- Practice proper postures: Be wary on how you pose sometimes. Make sure your postures are always right to get rid of strain on your lower back and abdomen. Always stand straight and sit with support for your back.
- Pillow support: Anytime you sleep, don’t forget to support your belly with pillows. Either pregnancy pillows or regular ones are great. When you do this, you prevent any discomfort while ensuring a goodnight sleep.
- Genuine exercises: Perform gentle exercises like water exercises or prenatal yoga to strengthen your muscles. These exercises also support your growing belly.
- Avoid heavy lifting: Always ask for help if something seems too heavy. Lifting heavy objects can strain your muscles and harm your little one. Be cautious.
- Stay hydrated: It’s good to drink enough water as water helps to improve skin’s elasticity and alleviate discomfort.
Always listen to your body. Anytime you feel uncomfortable or pains, don’t push yourself. Make your OB/GYN your best friend and ask him or her any question or concern you have.
Engaging in moderate exercises should not increase risk for miscarriage in normal pregnancies. Normally you should be able to swim, walk or even perform yoga exercises with no risk at all. But high-impact exercises or sports that have high risk of falling or abdominal injuries like skiing and horseback riding can have potential risks.
Yes, certain postures such as lying flat on your back, especially later in pregnancy, sitting for very long periods, and some wrong sleeping postures can cause discomforts and harm your baby.
Yes, there are several benefits of diaphragmatic breathing during pregnancy. They include increased oxygen flow, help in labor induction, improves digestion, boosts immunity as well as promoting postpartum healing
Even though you can safely suck in your stomach when pregnant, it is generally not recommended. Trying to hold in your growing belly regularly can cause discomfort, and may interfere with your baby’s growth and your own well being.
Instead, practice safe exercises such as deep breathing, prenatal yoga, walks or pelvis tilts. If you are also looking to hide your pregnancy and body image body with stomach sucking, then here’s a word for you:
“Always prioritize your comfort and listen to your body’s needs. In fact you should embrace your changing body and rather focus on wearing comfortable loose-fitting clothing that’ll ensure a happier and healthier pregnancy journey.”
Remember, feeling beautiful has nothing to do with what you look like, therefore, you should love your body because you only have You!