Pregnancy can be a very exciting and stressful stage at the same time in a woman’s life. While there are several pregnancy tricks and tips that have been followed and practiced for centuries, information on pregnancy continues to change and improve through the years.
One of the common questions among expectant moms is – can you suck in your stomach while pregnant?
There are times, specifically when the tummy is bigger than expected or during the earlier months of pregnancy when soon-to-be moms face this dilemma.
This can be quite distressing particularly when trying to fit into your favorite old clothes. While it is inevitable that you will have to buy some new pregnancy outfits, there are some clothing pieces that you cannot simply let go of.
When this happens, would it be safe to suck in your tummy?
Can You Suck in Your Tummy During Pregnancy?
The short answer is yes, you can suck in your stomach during pregnancy. While sucking in your tummy won’t harm your baby, however, you probably shouldn’t try to do it. The uterus’s muscles are tough enough to endure the pressure and these will not contract easily except if you pull them in using a lot of pressure.
Although you have the freedom to suck in your stomach, it is not really recommended to do it for a long time since it will end up overextending the core muscles of your abdomen which can soon lead to complications.
When the abdomen muscles continue pulling, these may separate down the center with one portion on top of the belly button with the other half left below. It is almost similar to a zipper that opens down the center to divide the garment into two separate pieces. This separation is known as Diastasis Recti.
While tucking in your tummy while pregnant doesn’t harm your baby inside your womb, this should only be done for a short time since as early as the 8th week of pregnancy, the baby and the uterus will both start to grow bigger. Your stomach will also harden this time which can make it more difficult for you to suck in.
Why You Shouldn’t Suck in Your Stomach During Pregnancy
As stated earlier, it is not really recommended to suck or tuck in your stomach while you are pregnant. Doing this for extended periods may result in some unwanted complications.
These complications occur because every time you suck in your stomach, you are also overextending your abdomen’s core muscles.
When you are pregnant, the size of your stomach grows bigger by nature to have room for the baby. The natural extension of your tummy stretches your abdominal muscles.
It means that when you tuck in your tummy, you will end up putting more pressure on these muscles that can stretch them much faster. When these muscles continue pulling, this will result in the separation called diastasis recti.
Why Diastasis Recti is Bad While Pregnant
Diastasis recti can weaken the core muscles and connective tissues. The baby will no longer have adequate support if these connective tissues become weaker.
Without the necessary support, the baby will end up dropping in the wrong direction that is misaligned to the cervix. This condition will complicate both your labor and delivery. On top of that, it may even affect your pregnancies in the future.
This means that you should avoid pushing in your stomach while pregnant because of the risk that it will affect the fetal alignment and cause labor complications.
Pelvic floor pain is the other side effect when you overwork your core every time you suck in your stomach while pregnant.
Pelvic floor pain is the condition of stiff pelvic joints or uneven movement in any of the pelvic floor muscles.
Although it isn’t considered harmful for the baby, this can be extremely painful. This pain is sometimes more than enough to make it impossible for you to sit, stand, or walk.
Sucking in your stomach during pregnancy will also put some pressure on the transversus abdominis, one of the core muscles. Transversus abdominis is actually the deepest of all the core muscles that offer support for your entire body.
If you pull your stomach in, you will hold the transversus abdominis in just one position. Since it cannot expand or extract, it doesn’t have much interaction with the other muscles. This can make you suffer from back pain and disrupt the birth process.
Is Belly Pumping Bad While Pregnant?
Even if belly pumping seems like it might be harmful to your baby, it is very safe as long as you do it with the right technique.
Pregnant women who perform belly pumping don’t necessarily suck in their baby or stomach. Instead, they are synchronizing their core muscle movements and breathing to help lift through their pelvic floor and diaphragm.
During belly pumping, a woman uses her muscles to hug the baby. When shown footage of women who use this exercise, gynecologists are at a consensus that belly pumping shouldn’t pose any harm for most pregnant women. The secret here is to ensure that the exercise is done correctly.
Reasons to Use Stomach Muscles During Pregnancy
Exercise is probably your least priority when you are pregnant. In general, however, it is still recommended to get regular exercise during pregnancy.
One of the reasons to focus on carefully exercising your abdominal muscles and stomach while pregnant is to prevent diastasis recti.
Exercise also helps enhance your pregnancy experience. This can help improve your sleep, reduce backaches, get the correct weight gain, and boost your levels of energy.
Finally, similar to how it is easier to run a marathon when you are training for one, you can also make your labor easier if you practice your muscles. In fact, even moderate forms of exercise while pregnant are associated with shorter labor.
While you can suck in your stomach while pregnant, this is not recommended to be done for a long time because of the complications that may arise.