Belly pumping: the new pregnancy exercise craze – but is it safe?

This eye-catching deep breathing technique is making waves on Instagram...

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We’ve been seeing lots of stories and videos about this new pregnancy exercise: belly pumping.

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Also known as ‘diaphragmatic breathing with deep core engagement’, this exercise is designed to keep pregnant women’s ‘deep core’ muscles (like the pelvic floor and abdominal muscles) active while they’re expecting.

It looks a lot like a deep breathing technique, which pulls your baby bump in (and in some cases, it seems to disappear).

Case in point: vids on Instagram showing belly pumping in motion. The kind you need to see to believe ?

Incredible, right? ?

The technique was created by qualified pregnancy exercise expert Brooke Cates, who runs The Bloom Method in Colorado, in the US.

“The Belly Pump follows your breath with an inhale as the belly expands,” she explained on Instagram. “Exhale as you activate your pelvic floor and TA (your Transverse Abdominis muscle) together.

“Keep the breath slow and controlled throughout the exercise.”

Well, we have to confess, one of our first thoughts upon discovering this was: is the belly pumping method of exercise safe?

And the short answer appears to be: yes, it is.

Generally speaking, we know that staying active in pregnancy is totally safe if you’ve been active before, and that it’s definitely not a good idea to begin an exercise regime for the first time after falling pregnant.

Sarah Fox, Professional Policy Advisor for the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), reminds expectant women not to try any new exercises – and stick to the ones they’ve been doing in the past.

That would mean that ‘belly pumping’ would become part of the pre-pregnancy workout regime, first.

Founder Brooke makes this pretty clear on The Bloom Method’s website, too, also citing benefits to the placenta from exercise in the first 6 months of pregnancy.

“Once pregnant, exercising during the first and second trimester is crucial as your placenta experiences the most growth during this time.

“The more you exercise and pump blood and oxygen to your placenta, the larger and healthier your placenta will become for the duration of your pregnancy. The healthier your placenta, the healthier your baby.

And she also confirmed to Babble that, yes, baby’s doing just fine while mum’s belly pumping:

“Don’t worry, the baby is completely safe with this move – the baby simply slides up into the rib cage during the core activation.”

Sarah simply adds that women should always consult their midwives about these things, and to “listen to their bodies” to determine what is a positive exercise, and what’s not.

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Have your say

Would you be keen to be trained properly to learn this move? Or would you prefer to stick to more conventional pregnancy exercises?

Perhaps you already know how to practice this technique? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook.

Images: Instagram/The Bloom Method

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