In case you haven’t properly had your mind blown today, you need to see these videos of moms-to-be making their pregnant bellies “disappear.” Just so you’re fully mentally prepared, the videos show women who are very pregnant MAKING THEIR BABY BUMPS SHRINK DOWN TO VIRTUALLY UN-PREGNANT LEVELS. Is it witchcraft? Is it Photoshop? Some combination of the two? Nope, it’s just a breathing exercise known as “belly pumping.”
This technique was recently popularized as part of a fitness program based in Boulder, Colorado known as The Bloom Method. Created by Brooke Cates, Pregnancy and Post-Birth Exercise Specialist, The Bloom Method and “belly pumping” are a form of diaphragmatic breathing that uses deep core engagement. Essentially, these women are making their babies “disappear” in utero by sucking in in a very controlled way.
For reference, sometimes I have a big lunch and have to unbutton my pants and lie down for a minute. These women are controlling their pregnant bellies simply through practiced breathing. Meanwhile, I can’t seem to manage a kind-of-full-from-a-large-sandwich belly.
Where do the babies go? Do they shrink to nothing? Do they momentarily apparate into someone else’s uterus? Were they even there to begin with??? Calm down, hypothetical postulations. Cates tells Babble the babies are still safe and sound. “Belly pumping” just causes the fetus to temporarily slide up into the rib cage.
Aside from having a dope party trick, Cates says there are multiple benefits to these types of breathing exercise. As detailed in an Instagram post, The Bloom Method can be physically beneficial, as Cates suggests it “helps maintain a connection to the deep core muscles throughout pregnancy” as well as “decreases low back & pelvic pain.” The website for The Bloom Method also says their clients have experienced benefits like “focus and endurance going into their births.”
Exercising while pregnant can also be good for the baby. Some studies have suggested that exercise during pregnancy can advance brain activity in newborn babies. With just about 20 minutes of exercise, pregnant woman can help stimulate baby’s brain activity while in utero. A strengthened pelvic floor through exercises like Kegels can also help heal a body post-pregnancy.
Provided there’s been consultation with a doctor, exercising during pregnancy is one of the things we shouldn’t shame pregnant women for as a society. If you want to suck your fetus up into your rib cage through practiced breathing, more power to you. I’ll just be here trying to figure out how to make my sandwich belly disappear.