Pregnancy is a beautiful journey that brings a lot of joy and anticipation, along with a myriad of physical changes that can be challenging for many people to navigate.
These days with everyone sharing their pregnancy journeys on social media, the idea of a "belly-only pregnancy" has gained a lot of traction and attention. It seems to be something that a lot of people strive for, and in fact, if you search on Pinterest for “belly-only pregnancy” you’ll see a bunch of clickbait for exercises, meal plans, and programs that promise this outcome.
This is problematic for a lot of reasons, so in this blog post, we will delve into the concept of a "belly-only pregnancy," and explore whether or not this is something you can achieve through exercise and nutrition.
If we are meeting for the first time - Hi! Welcome to Vibrant Mama Wellness! My name is Megan, and I am a pre and postnatal personal trainer. I am certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, with a specialization in pre+postnatal fitness through Pronatal fitness. I am a mom to a toddler, and pregnant with my second baby!
(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or condition. This blog post is based on my own research and experience - please consult a medical professional before starting or making any changes to your exercise program).
So what exactly is a “belly-only pregnancy?”
A "belly-only pregnancy" refers to the notion that some people only experience noticeable weight gain and growth in their abdominal area, while the rest of their body appears unchanged. This concept has been romanticized and idealized, leading many to believe that this is the "ideal" or "perfect" way to carry a pregnancy.
It's important to clarify that a "belly-only pregnancy" is not a medically recognized term or condition. The human body is complex and pregnancy affects it in various ways.
There are many factors that can influence how someone carries a pregnancy such as:
Muscle tone and mass
Height and bone structure
Overall body composition
Strength of the abdominal wall
Presence of excess amniotic fluid
Because of these factors, it is inaccurate to suggest that someone can exclusively gain weight in the abdominal area during pregnancy. Pregnancy is a highly individualized experience, and everyone’s body responds uniquely. One person can even have different experiences for each pregnancy, and carry differently each time!
It’s no surprise that the pressure to achieve a "belly-only pregnancy" can place unnecessary stress and anxiety on people that are pregnant. But it’s important to remember that no single body type or way of carrying a pregnancy is superior to another. Rather than fixating on how a pregnant body looks, it’s more important to focus on the overall health and well-being of both the mother and the baby.
So the next time you see someone promoting products or programs that promote a “belly-only pregnancy,” keep in mind that it is a myth that perpetuates unrealistic expectations and ultimately isn’t something that anyone has control over. Every pregnancy is unique and beautiful, and honestly, it’s time for this term to be retired.
When thinking about a fitness routine and your nutrition during pregnancy, the focus should be on how to nourish your body and baby, as well as how to manage common aches and pains, and prepare for childbirth and postpartum recovery!
If you’re looking for a program that encompasses all of this (and does not focus on the appearance of your pregnant body), check out my Vibrantly You™ Pregnancy Program. With over 30 full-length follow-along workouts and 30+ mouthwatering recipes, this is a great way to support your body and focus on how you FEEL overall during this transformative period of your life! Check it out here.
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Disclaimer: This blog does not serve as medical advice. Please consult your medical provider before starting a new fitness routine. This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition.