Sucking in a Pregnant Belly: When It’s Safe & When It’s Not

From dulling hair to a growing tummy, many women struggle with their appearance during pregnancy. Even though the body is designed to stretch and expand in miraculous ways, pregnancy can, and often does, cause body dysmorphia.

To combat this feeling, many women emphasize positive aesthetic effects in pregnancy and minimize supposedly negative ones.

Can you suck in your stomach while pregnant? Most women are physically able to suck in their stomach until midway through the second trimester of pregnancy. Sucking the stomach in while pregnant does not typically harm the baby since it’s surrounded by layers of protection and amniotic fluid. However, it is not recommended during pregnancy.

Keep reading to learn more about the risks associated with sucking in your stomach. Understanding how this practice impacts you will assist in making the right decisions for your body, your confidence, and your baby’s health.

Sucking in Your Stomach While Pregnant

While it may seem like a silly question to some, there is valid concern when it comes to sucking in your stomach while pregnant. Below we’ve documented a bulk of information that pregnant women should know about the practice. 

Is It Safe To Suck in Your Stomach When Pregnant?

It is safe to suck in your stomach while pregnant for short periods of time. However, there are certain circumstances in which it can be dangerous for you or your little one.

Dangers of Sucking in Your Stomach When Pregnant

Many of the dangers of sucking in your stomach aren’t exclusive to pregnancy. Here are some of the most common risks associated with the practice. 

Restricted Breathing

Belly breathing is our body’s natural mechanism. When we suck in our stomachs, we cannot breathe fully or efficiently. Frequent or prolonged bouts of this can affect blood pressure, which can have repercussions for both mom and baby. 

Pressure Against Organs

Constriction of the organs in your abdomen can lead to issues with your digestive and excretory systems.

Many pregnant women frequently urinate due to pressure on the bladder and struggle to have a bowel movement due to pressure on the anal sphincter. Additional pressure against these organs may further harm these functions. 

Poor Posture

Proper posture encourages us to lead with our chest out, shoulders back, and chin high. It’s not possible to do these things while sucking your stomach in. Continued poor posture can lead to structural issues. 

Decreased Confidence

There is usually an aesthetic aspect to sucking in the stomach. For pregnant women already dealing with body-image issues, a temporarily slimmer look can have a negative impact on mental health. 

Guidelines for Sucking in Your Stomach When Pregnant

There are a few guidelines to follow should you choose to suck in your stomach while pregnant. 

  1. Only suck your stomach in for short periods of time. 
  2. Don’t suck in your stomach while lying down. 
  3. Stop sucking in your stomach at the first sign of pain or discomfort. 

When Not To Suck in Your Pregnant Belly

Any activity that feels painful or unnatural during pregnancy should be avoided. So, if at any time sucking in your stomach causes discomfort, you should stop. 

Additionally, expecting mothers shouldn’t suck in their stomachs while lying down on their backs. Doing so puts increased pressure from gravity on blood vessels in the stomach that are essential to providing the baby with oxygen.

A pregnant woman in a blue dress making a heart sign over her baby bump.

How To Hide a Baby Bump

Whether you just don’t want to look pregnant or you’re keeping your little one a secret, there are many ways to hide a baby bump. 

The easiest and safest way to do so is by dressing in clothing that doesn’t cling to the abdomen. Opt for tunic-style shirts, flowing dresses, skirts with volume, oversized hoodies, or bulky pants such as sweatpants. 

After 20 weeks, hiding a baby bump becomes more difficult as the stomach starts to round out and grow. 

Pregnancy-Safe Core Exercises

Core stabilizing exercises during pregnancy can aid in recovery and reduce potential complications. Many of these exercises serve to stabilize the spine and strengthen the pelvic floor.

Here are some of the best pregnancy-safe exercises:

  • Farmers Carry: The farmers carry is a walking weight-bearing exercise that serves to strengthen the abdominal obliques. This is a great exercise for pregnant women because it’s simple, safe, and effective. Follow your doctor’s recommendations when selecting the weight of your kettlebell.
  • Diaphragmatic Breathing: Diaphragmatic breathing targets the transverse abdominal muscles. The practice of breathing deeply can also reduce stress and anxiety. Diaphragmatic breathing can be done standing or sitting. 
  • Pelvic Tilts: Pelvic tilts help ease lower back and pelvic pain, strengthen the core, and loosen stiff muscles. They can be done seated, standing, or on an exercise ball in many variations. 

Exercises To Avoid While Pregnant

Remaining active in pregnancy can help facilitate a smooth delivery, improve mood, and manage weight gain. However, it’s important to select exercises carefully when pregnant to avoid a negative impact on the baby and reduce the risk of injury.

Also, keep in mind that exercising while pregnant should only be done with permission from your doctor. 

We’ve compiled a short list of exercises to avoid while pregnant:

  • Exercises that require lying on your back, right side, or stomach for extended periods of time.
  • Exercises that involve jumping, hopping, or shaking.
  • Exercises that place excessive pressure on the abdomen or pelvic floor.
  • Exercises that require sudden movements through one or multiple planes of motion.
  • Exercises that require sudden jolts of stress through the body (i.e. powerlifting). 

Related Questions:

When To Start Squats During Pregnancy?

You can start doing squats in the first trimester and continue them until delivery day with medical clearance. Squats are considered safe and beneficial during all trimesters of pregnancy so long as they’re done correctly. 

Can Situps Cause Miscarriage in Early Pregnancy?

Situps are generally considered safe during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, once you’ve reached the second trimester, it’s best to avoid exercises that require you to lie on your back.

These exercises can cause bouts of low blood pressure and are especially detrimental to women with existing blood pressure conditions. 


Though sucking in your stomach poses little additional risk to pregnant women, there are still risks involved.

Sucking in your stomach can compromise breathing patterns, posture, and your pelvic floor, in turn harming urination, bowel movements, sex, and the overall internal structure of the organs.

For this reason, sucking in your stomach while pregnant in any trimester is not recommended.