The Latest Pregnancy Exercise Trend: Breathing in Your Belly

The Bloom Method claims to help strengthen your core while it makes your baby bump disappear. Is it safe and effective?

Expecting mamas, have you heard of this? The Bloom Method fitness program teaches preggos moms how to "belly pump"—a breathing method that makes it look like their baby bumps disappear—and frankly, it has us scratching our heads a bit and asking 'Why?' and 'How?'

The Boulder, CO-based studio's founder, Brooke Cates, says this is a super-beneficial program for moms-to-be that helps strengthen deep core muscles in the pelvic floor and abdominals and decreases low-back pain, while also teaching women the "right" way to push during labor and—bonus!—de-stress. 

Belly Pumping aka Diaphragmatic breathing with Deep Core Engagement! Why do we think EVERY expecting mother should be adding this to her daily regimen?  1️⃣ Helps to maintain a connection to the deep core muscles throughout pregnancy {pelvic floor, transverse abdominis, & Multifidus}  2️⃣ Decreases low back & Pelvic pain due to the deep cores ability to stabilize the spine & pelvis  3️⃣ Decreases your chance of abdominal separation by creating a balancing effect of the Inhale- creating space for the baby & the Exhale - maintaining strength in the muscles of the deep core  4️⃣ Helps teach women how to effective PUSH during labor. Knowing how to use your deep core during the pushing phase of birth speeds up pushing time by over 70%  5️⃣ Provides more stability postpartum while speeding up healing times during this rehabilitative stage  6️⃣ Keeps the expecting woman in parasympathetic nervous system, providing de-stressing signals to her and baby {this is much healthier than the Fight or Flight space most people currently live in} ::Add belly pumps to workouts or do throughout your day to create more balance and strength to your pregnancy. Try while driving, siting at your desk, brushing your teeth, cooking, etc :: The Belly Pump follows your breath with an inhale as the belly expands, Exhale as you activate your PF & TA together. Keep the breath slow and controlled throughout the exercise! #fitpregnancy #prenatalexercise #birthprep #prenatalworkout #prenatalfitness #pregnancyfitness #pregnancyexercise #birth #labor #expecting #prenatalcore #pregnant #pregnancy #maternity #thebloommethod #boulder #colorado #aspen #aspencolorado #fitness #fitmom #exercise #core

A post shared by The Bloom Method™ (@thebloommethod) on Jan 30, 2017 at 7:20am PST

But what does an OB/GYN think?

Dr. Allison Hill, a Los Angeles-based OB/GYN says this method is safe, though she's never seen data to support the claim that it makes the pushing phase 70 percent faster. Will it help? Sure, but not more than other abdominal and lower-back specific exercises. "Overall, women who exercise during pregnancy have less chance of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, needing medical interventions or needing a cesarean," Dr. Hill says. "Anything that keeps your core strong is helpful. I'm not sure that this is superior to any other style of exercise which focuses on the core, like yoga/pilates. But it is something that can be done on your own, at your convenience."

Apart from the childbirth benefit, Dr. Hill does say that simply inhaling and exhaling can be emotionally impactful for worried pregnant women. "Deep breathing is relaxing and stress reducing. It doesn't need to be done in such a dramatic fashion, but anytime you can take time to relax is beneficial. Decreasing stress results in fewer preterm births, and may even program our fetuses for how they respond to stress in the future."