Pregnancy can be a confusing and challenging time for many women. One of the questions that frequently comes up for those expecting is whether it’s safe or healthy to engage in the common habit of sucking in your stomach.
While it may seem natural, some potential risks are associated with this practice that expectant moms should be aware of.
Can You Suck in Your Stomach When Pregnant?
When pregnant, it’s okay to suck your stomach in for brief amounts of time and when you’re standing up. But it’s important to note that the pressure won’t sufficiently affect your baby, as they are cocooned in the womb. So as long as you don’t do this for extended durations or while reclined, sucking in your tummy is harmless.
How the Abdominal Muscles Change During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a remarkable experience for all women that involves various changes to the body. One of those alterations is caused by an increase in the hormone Relaxin, which softens the pelvic ligaments allowing them to expand and become more supple.
This in turn leads to the rectus abdominis muscle found in the midsection becoming separated at its midline, also known as diastasis recti which occurs in 2/3 of expecting mothers. It should be noted that this is a typical, natural part of carrying a child.
During gestation, abdominal muscles are subject to an increased level of stress due to the expansion of the uterus in order to support the growing fetus. This can lead to back pain, a misalignment of posture and poor muscular form.
To maintain abdominal strength and health, it is essential to practice routine exercise and focus on strengthening the transverse abdominis—a deep abdominal muscle that aids in holding up the spine and back. This objective can be achieved through exercises such as pelvic tilts, cat-cow stretches and planks.
Possible Risks of Sucking in Your Stomach While Pregnant
During pregnancy, it is a natural inclination to desire to mask or reduce the presence of an increasingly prominent abdomen. Yet, it is pivotal to comprehend that repeatedly pulling in your stomach while expecting can cause unfavorable effects on both you and the infant.
Most prominently, incarcerating your stomach can put an unwarranted strain on your belly and back muscles. The gestation period already causes heightened stress on those muscles as the uterus enlarges to make room for your growing baby.
Reinforcing this pressure can give rise to lumbar pain, incorrect posture, and muscular disparities. This may be hazardous for the developing fetus and can lead to weariness for the mother.
Moreover, apprehending your stomach can impede the diaphragm,
the muscle responsible for respiration. This can render it more difficult for you to breathe and can likewise impede blood supply to the uterus. This can result in decreased oxygen for the baby,
making it more complex for the baby to expand and mature correctly.
Exercises to Strengthen the Core Muscles During Pregnancy
Exercising during pregnancy is advisable for both the mother and her unborn child. Strengthening the core muscles is particularly beneficial, as the body experiences various changes. A great way to help tone the transverse abdominis,
which supports the back and spine, is the pelvic tilt movement. To do this exercise, stand with feet hip-width apart while tilting the pelvis forward and backward while pressing the lower back onto a wall.
The cat-cow pose is another excellent core toning activity that stretches and strengthens muscles of the abdomen and back simultaneously. Begin by assuming a hands and knees position,
arching your back when inhaling and curving your spine while exhaling.
Planks are an ideal exercise to engage the muscles in both legs and core. This can be modified by resting on elbows or doing the plank against a wall.
It is important to keep in mind one’s limits,
monitoring any discomfort or pain, and adjust their workout accordingly. It would be wise to seek advice from a doctor or certified fitness professional for personalized guidance in order to ensure a safe exercise routine.
When to see a Healthcare Professional for Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy
Abdominal pain can be caused by various factors,
and it is not usually a source of concern. Nonetheless, it is essential to recognize when abdominal pain may suggest that one should seek medical care.
If you are afflicted with sudden and intense abdominal pain, urgent medical consideration is recommended. This type of suffering can connote a significant health issue, such as appendicitis, a ruptured ovarian cyst, or even a heart attack. Therefore,
for safety reasons, it is better to consult a healthcare specialist if experiencing extreme abdominal distress.
It is also wise to seek professional guidance if the agony is concurrent with other indications such as nausea, vomiting, fever, or difficulty urinating or defecating. Furthermore, continual pain which does not subside,
or is accompanied by incongruities in one’s bowel movements, like constipation or diarrhea, should not go unaddressed and necessitate assessment by an expert.
In cases where pregnant women experience abdominal pain as well,
it is also important to visit a healthcare provider due to the fact that it could point towards issues regarding the pregnancy, including ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.