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What is the #pregnantbellychallenge and is it safe?

If you're on Instagram and/or Tiktok, you know what I'm talking about...

The balloon-deflating audio and someone who is pregnant sucking in their stomach, which makes everyone *gasp* in the comments and ask "WHERE DID THE BABY GO?! THIS CAN'T BE SAFE!" 😱

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).

I know this looks alarming. And I'm going to be honest with you - depending on how the person is breathing while doing this does impact whether or not it is safe.

But let's get this out of the way first - baby is safe. They're surrounded by amniotic fluid and protected, and it's not their safety I'm worried about.

When I see the pregnant belly challenge trend I'm more concerned about the pregnant person's pelvic floor and core.

Here's why 👇

Your core is a pressure system. The diaphragm, deep core muscles (transverse abdominis) and pelvic floor muscles work together to manage the pressure in your core, and how you BREATHE directly impacts this.

So let's say someone is doing this trend and is taking a big INHALE breath and truly SUCKING in their stomach. This is what is happening to the core: the lungs are filling with air which means the diaphragm is lowering, and there is an INCREASE in pressure in the core. But if the abdominal muscles are also contracting, it is pushing the pressure DOWN - i.e. towards the pelvic floor.

The pelvic floor is already under a tremendous amount of stress from holding up the internal organs and a growing (and heavy) uterus (hi baby! 👋)

So this is going to weaken the pelvic floor muscles and increase the risk for pelvic floor dysfunction. Think: involuntarily leaking urine or feces, pelvic organ prolapse, etc.

Here's how to do the pregnant belly challenge trend correctly:

Take an inhale breath and relax your abs and pelvic floor. Then on the exhale breath, imagine blowing out birthday candles as you lift your pelvic floor and contract the abdominals inward and upward.

This allows the diaphragm and pelvic floor to lift in tandem, and the abs contracting inward controls the abdominal pressure which means no damage to the pelvic floor 🙌 It also strengthens your core in the process which helps with low back pain, pelvic pain, and so much more! ​(I teach you exactly how to do this in my Vibrantly You™ Pregnancy Program 😘)​

Having good deep core and pelvic floor coordination and strength is key during pregnancy and postpartum. And it can take a lot of practice and proper cues to learn how to do it correctly which is why I'm a strong advocate of ​following a credible pre/postnatal program ​and not just following videos you find on social media!

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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.

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