Learn How to Have a Belly only Pregnancy
Being pregnant is an exciting time for women as they experience the amazing changes that happen with their bodies as they grow a tiny life inside.
It can, however, be a challenging time for a woman’s self-esteem as these changes cause unwanted weight gain and an overall shift in how a woman views her own body.
Rest assured that weight gain during pregnancy is completely normal! Your body needs the extra weight to support the growth of your unborn child.
That being said, you can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that not only ensure that you and your baby remain healthy during the pregnancy but that you don’t gain any more weight than is necessary.
When you don’t gain that unnecessary weight, you can experience what is called a “belly only” pregnancy. All it takes is committing to healthy changes in your life.
Keep reading to learn more about belly only pregnancies and how you can experience one by adopting healthy lifestyle choices:
What is a Belly Only Pregnancy?
A belly only pregnancy is pretty much how it sounds: you only gain weight in the belly while the rest of your body stays toned and fit.
I ended up with a belly only pregnancy in a way since I was carrying twins and whenever people looked at me they had NO IDEA I was carrying twins.
This is me in early pregnancy.
So for my pregnancy, it seems like a pregnant belly only!
When you gain weight only on your tummy this means that you need to pay attention to your overall physical health during your pregnancy.
Maintaining good physical health will not only create that adorable little bump and boost your confidence – but you’ll also have fewer aches and pains during your pregnancy and make it easier to lose weight after your pregnancy.
And there’s always a chance that labor and delivery will be easier too with that belly button out!
Unfortunately, there’s really no magic product that can guarantee that you’ll have a belly only pregnancy but, with a few healthy lifestyle changes, you can carry your baby in a cute little bump:
Healthy Tips to Have a Belly Only Pregnancy
*Note: I am not an OBGYN and if you have any belly pain, gestational diabetes, preterm labor, ectopic pregnancy, or high blood pressure, see your doctor or Mayo Clinic ASAP.
1. Eat Nutritious Foods
While you may be striving to keep your physique slim and toned during your pregnancy, you need to eat. Your body needs sufficient calories to grow a baby.
You don’t want a poor body image of yourself if you don’t achieve this goal.
However, this doesn’t mean you have to “eat for two” or eat excessively. On the contrary, you should only eat when you feel hungry.
Just make sure the foods you are eating are nutritious and beneficial to you most of the time.
(There’s no denying pregnancy cravings – and you shouldn’t either! Just indulge in moderation.)
To ensure you are getting enough nutrition during your pregnancy, focus on these food groups:
- Lean Protein
- Whole Grains
Stay away from the empty calories found in fats, sweets and fried food. Instead, reach for foods rich in protein, iron, calcium, folate and other important nutrients.
2. Kick Unhealthy Eating Habits
Even if you’re grabbing up nutritious foods, as a pregnant woman you can still overdo it by continuing or developing bad eating habits (like an eating disorder).
Don’t think you can’t gain even a pound for a belly only pregnancy. That’s not true. But you do need to kick unhealthy eating for a healthy diet.
One habit you should kick is eating even when you are full. While it’s okay to give in to your cravings during your pregnancy, everything should be done in moderation.
This goes for those healthy foods as well.
Pay attention to your hunger and satiation cues and stop eating when you feel full. If this is difficult to gauge, eat a sensible portion, drink a glass of water and wait awhile before eating more food.
Also, try not to eat at bedtime. A good rule of thumb for pregnancy health is to stop eating at least 2 hours before bed.
Not only does your boy’s metabolism slow down later in the day but evenings are a time when we all tend to reach for “snacks” and other non-essential foods that have no nutritional value.
Try to plan your meals at times that will leave you feeling full later in the evening.
And, don’t forget you prenatal vitamin – you have a growing baby!
3. Drink Enough Water
Since your body requires more liquid to accommodate the birth sack surrounding your unborn baby, you need to drink more water during your pregnancy.
Water also helps to flush out toxins, nourish the baby and keep your weight under control by making you feel fuller and less likely to overeat.
Staying properly hydrated also benefits your energy levels, making it easier to stay active during your pregnancy.
Water doesn’t have to be the only liquid you consume either. Broths and herbal teas are great sources of hydration as well as fruits and vegetables with high water contents such as melons, cucumbers, lettuce, celery and tomato.
I love my water thermos that I got when I was pregnant and still continue to use years later because it keeps the water very cold!
4. Stay Active
If you weren’t one for working out before your pregnancy, be careful when starting an exercise regime. Overworking your body during pregnancy can have a negative effect on your health and the health of your baby.
That’s not to say that you can’t stay active! A face-paced walk that gets your heart rate up is gentle on your body but great for your overall health.
If you were a gym-goer or into regular exercise before your pregnancy, you can certainly continue with most exercises – as long as they don’t push your body too far or stress your abdominal muscle.
Whatever form of exercise you can accommodate, doing so will help to increase muscle and joint flexibility which will reduce pregnancy discomforts such as backache and hip pain.
Try to move as much as you can and as often as you can, staying within the limits of what your body is capable of doing.
5. Practice Belly Breathing
Like I mentioned above, if you weren’t into exercise prior to your pregnancy, now is not the time to start an aggressive exercise regime.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to resolve to be a couch potato or avoid adding new types of exercises in your everyday routine.
For instance, you can practice belly breathing which helps to strengthen your core as well as protect against diastasis recti – a condition in which the space between your left and right belly muscles widens and creates that mom belly or “pooch.”
Start by getting yourself into a comfortable seated position. You can sit in a comfortable chair with your legs crossed or use a stability ball.
Bonus – this stability ball can be used as a birthing ball too!
Relax your pelvic floor muscles while keeping your shoulders back and slowly inhale through your nose, expanding your ribs.
Exhale through your mouth and draw your abdomen toward your spine and lift up while contracting your pelvic floor.
Hold this position for as long as you can and repeat as often as you can manage.
This exercise will help strengthen your abdomen muscles in order to better support your belly!
6. Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting sleep during your pregnancy is crucial for avoiding a variety of health issues including increased cortisol levels, which can increase your appetite. A lack of sleep can also slow your metabolism with all those pregnancy hormones circulating.
Not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain and low energy, making it difficult to keep the additional weight off during your pregnancy and have a belly only pregnancy.
Believe me when I say that I understand how hard getting sleep can be while you are pregnant – I had to face the challenge of getting good sleep while carrying twins!
My pregnancy bump was pressing on my rib cage making it hard to sleep.
That being said, here are some tips for better sleep while you are pregnant:
- We know that regular exercise is going to help you have a belly only pregnancy, but it’s also going to help you sleep better.
- Maintain a Sleep Routine. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. This helps your body prepare for sleep.
- Reduce Fluid Intake at Night. Frequent trips to the bathroom can definitely disrupt a good night’s sleep so try to cut back on how much you drink before bedtime.
- Sleep on Your Left Side. Sleeping on your left side, especially during your third trimester, can help increase blood and nutrient flow to your baby and provide you with more comfort during the night.
- Use a Pregnancy Pillow. Special pillows designed for pregnant women, such as this one, can help reduce back and joint pain and allow you to get a better night’s rest.
- Nap Throughout the Day. While naps can disrupt your regular sleep cycles, napping while pregnant can help you get caught up on lost sleep. Just make sure they are no longer than 20-30 minutes and not close to bedtime.
You can also prepare your mind and body for sleep by partaking in a relaxing activity before bed such as reading, writing in a journal and taking a bath – whatever makes you feel calm and peaceful.
7. Try Kinesio Taping Techniques
During your second trimester you can try the Kinesio Taping technique.
Kinesio taping is not just a practice for athletes. Pregnancy women can use Kinesio tap to help prevent diastasis recti and have a belly only pregnancy.
Properly supporting your baby bump can also help to alleviate back pain, swollen feet and Sciatica – all of which can restrict your mobility during pregnancy.
In order to get the best and safest results with Kinesio tape, and if you’ve never applied Kinesio tape before, it’s recommended that you visit a professional physical therapist.
The natural elasticity of the tape gently lifts your skin, which allows excess fluid to drain away from the pain receptors surrounding your back and belly.
You can keep the tape on for up to five days at a time and the relief kicks in almost immediately.
Kinesio tape is very affordable and can be ordered online.
8. Wear a Pregnancy Belly Band
If using Kinesio tape on your belly seems like a bit too much, you can always try out a pregnancy belly band.
Belly bands are designed to support your lower back and abdomen, helping you stay active during your pregnancy.
They also provide gentle compression to your belly the same way a sports bra supports your breasts during physical activities.
It can help support the uterus and relief discomfort while you are trying to exercise or stay active.
However, you do have to be careful with pregnancy belly bands. Too much compression on your abs can impair circulation and lead to issues such as heartburn and indigestion.
If you’re going to use a belly band on your lower belly, make sure you only wear it for around two to three hours at a time. This will help to prevent circulation issues as well as dependence on the band.
When your body becomes too dependent on the belly band, you’ll start to overcompensate by overusing other parts of your body which can lead to soreness or injury.
Check out this easy-to-use belly band if you want to give it a try!
Pregnancy Weight Gain is Normal
While the expectant mother may be striving for a belly only pregnancy, it’s important to understand that gaining weight during your pregnancy is completely normal.
In fact, you need to gain weight during your pregnancy and you may even get stretch marks. Most of this weight is excess fluid in your body that is needed to support the baby’s circulation, placenta and amniotic fluid.
So the first thing you should do when you become pregnant, especially if you want a belly only pregnancy, is to do away with the need to diet, count calories and watch the scale like a hawk.
Also, pay attention to other pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness as you may lose weight initially.
Your main focus should be on the health of your baby.
However, the above tips are more about adopting a healthy lifestyle and not about losing weight.
Keep in mind that all of the healthy choices you make during your pregnancy are going to help you lose the weight after your baby is born.
If you are doing everything you can to be healthy, but still gaining weight in other areas of your body, it’s best to speak to your healthcare practitioner to make sure you are within a healthy weight range.
Just make sure you don’t push it too far to the point where you are losing weight during your pregnancy. Being underweight during pregnancy creates a very high-risk situation for the baby.
Is There a Belly Only Program?
Not that I know of but there are online pregnancy classes you should consider taking for a safe and healthy pregnancy.
This program also helps with figuring out baby names and once the baby comes and what a good baby weight should be for a healthy baby.
My favorite is the Kopa Childbirth Online Program.
Have a Healthy Pregnancy!
Following the tips above, pregnant mama, will not only help you have a belly only pregnancy but a healthy one too!
Which is, as you know, the main priority when it comes to being pregnant.
How about you: Did you have a belly only pregnancy? Do you have any other tips and tricks? Share them in the comments!
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