I may be of unpopular opinion here, but I despise TikTok. I really do. I see it as a breeding ground for stupidity and trouble. A case in point is how authors are being exploited on Amazon through a loophole that makes them owe money when people buy books and return them to get out of paying. The tie-in to TikTok is that it was some hack someone shared.
Relevant to today’s topic, something else has me agitated over TikTok again. It has to do with Tammy Hembrow, an Australian fitness influencer who posted a clip in February of 2022. Then 6 months pregnant, she encouraged others to suck in their bellies while pregnant.
The article I linked is from The Insider, and the experts there say that sucking in your belly for a short period is harmless, but there are a few other things to know about it that could cause you harm.
I fear these things because so many people just look at this quick little video and don’t think about anything else. Please, mamas, double-check stuff like this for pregnancy and anything else you come across. There is so much misinformation out there that I could spend the rest of my life talking nonstop and never shut up until I’m the ripe old age of 1,082.
Holding your stomach in while pregnant for a brief moment isn’t what I’m angry about. It’s that these TikTok folks don’t tell you the whole story, so you tuck in your stomach while pregnant. Sucking in while pregnant can cause some problems, so I’ll get to that in just a moment.
I also want to quickly say, what in the world…you’re pregnant! You’ll have a bump there; its size will depend on how far along you are, your height, and your weight, among other things.
Is it bad if you suck in your stomach while you’re pregnant?
Yes and no.
See, your belly is going to grow while you’re pregnant. And if you suck it in on occasion, like for a photo or something, that’s fine. But if you do it ALL the time, that’s harmful.
Hembrow neglects to tell you in her TikTok video that you can actually weaken your core muscles by sucking in while pregnant. You need those muscles when you give birth, so you want them to be strong and ready for action.
Ditto for those pelvic floor muscles. All this can cause you a ton of back pain. Is it worth it to try to look slim when you are pregnant? Honey, live it up and enjoy it!
The one time you should never suck in your pregnant belly
Sucking in while pregnant while lying down is dangerous for you and your baby. NEVER do this, no matter how early or far along you are. You can become dizzy since it will cause your uterus to press on that major blood vessel, the vena cava, and it will restrict blood flow to the baby and your own brain.
If you’re so concerned about your belly while pregnant, you can still do sit-ups early in your pregnancy. So if you are before 16 weeks, go for it. Confirm with your doctor first, though, as every pregnancy is different.
After 16 weeks, no more sit-ups. You can make the abdominal wall separate, and then if you think your stomach sticks out now, just wait!
But hey, that’s not to say you can’t do other exercises (see this chart here), as long as your doctor is behind you. Strengthening your core is a great idea to help you through your labor and delivery. It’s also good for bouncing back after having the baby.
Standing pelvic tilts can help and are super simple. Stand against a wall and spread your feet pelvis-length apart. Then breathe in deeply and as you do, tilt your pelvis away from the wall while exhaling. Inhale again and move back to the starting position.
If you want to look slimmer while pregnant, talk to your doctor. Don’t follow TikTok trends, memes, or misleading Instagram posts. Your and your baby’s health is far more important, and falling for things that aren’t properly documented can put you both in danger.
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.