Warning: Belly Pumping Trend Among Pregnant Moms Puts Baby at Risk

Does the Latest Pregnancy Trend Put You and Your Baby at Risk?

Pregnant woman-Belly Pumping Bloom Method

The Bloom Method | Belly Pumping


Fitness trainer, Brooke Cates created an exercise program for pregnant women from preconception to postpartum known as the “Bloom Method”. The wildly popular and virally trending portion of her fitness routine, belly pumping is a diaphragmatic deep breathing technique. She claims her clients benefit in the following ways;


  • Ongoing strength during pregnancy
  • A strong core as the belly grows
  • Focus & endurance going into their births
  • How to correctly engage & release the pelvic floor
  • Quick healing post birth
  • A sense of empowerment and control throughout each trimester

Happy Spring Mamas! Our beautiful instructor Rachel tapping into her deep core on her stunning hike this afternoon! Do you connect to your changing core in both exercise & daily movements? Do you know what intra-abdominal pressure is and how to maintain appropriate pressure in your abdomen whether pregnant or not? Are you aware that incorrect intra-abdominal pressure throughout your pregnancy (or after) can increase your chances of having diastasis Recti, PF prolapse & incontinence? Simple re-patterning can shift all of this while providing better results through exercise & other movement modalities. The Bloom Method wants to help you with all of this… pregnancy doesn't have to cause pain, it doesn't have to be complicated, It doesn't have to create a sense of disconnect within your body and it most certainly shouldn't make you feel any other way than Empowered & Strong! Shifting unnecessary movement & breathing patterns will provide more joy & awareness in your body than you may have imagined! TBM Belly Pumps are a must for all mamas, while we teach a series of deep core engagement exercises these are super yummy and easy for any woman to incorporate into her pregnancy! Adding BP's to your day may feel weird at first as most of us are chest breathers before we draw awareness to the imporantace of diaphragmatic breathing. Stick with it and be patient… your body came into this world breathing this way, it just has to remember 😜 We know you want to feel better during pregnancy (no pelvic or low back pain), decrease your chance of abdominal separation & PF prolapse or incontinence, become more aware of your deep core in ALL movements; not just your workout, build a stronger relationship with your PF outside of the dreaded kegel, & better understand how to use your deep core in the pushing phase of labor – making your pushing time drastically less, and heal quicker and safely pp! Give it a try and feel free to reach out if you need guidance- #fitpregnancy #fitbump #bellypump #thebloommethod #fitpregnancy #pregnancyfitness #pregnancyexercise #prenatalexercise #prenatalfitness #strongasamother

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Words of Caution


The prevailing tendency of jumping on the latest bandwagon has always been troubling and highest when there is a shock factor. The Baby Pumping, or “Bloom Method” happens to be the latest fad among pregnant women and I fear it is not without risk.


With any new fad or trend you should take into consideration that it is in fact, just that. New. Studies have not been performed, risks have not been identified, and until the unimaginable happens, there simply is no way of knowing what could or could not happen.


Let’s take a common sense approach to how the “Bloom Method” poses risks before we look at possible medical risks to your unborn baby.


As a pregnant woman, your OB GYN will almost certainly give you an entire spiel covering what not to do and what to limit, and avoid. Essentially, don’t lift heavy objects, be mindful of how you bend, reach, and exercise, all leading to the same general point; don’t dramatically or suddenly change your baby’s position too quickly or strain the body carrying him or her (your body.)












When you perform belly pumping, your unborn baby is quickly moved, so greatly in fact that, he or she “disappears”.


We’ve all seen the comments on these viral videos of women making their large pregnant belly suddenly vanish like a magic trick. Most read, “Whoa! Where did it go?” or “OMG! That’s amazing!”.


Shock. And. Awe.


Coupled with celebrity status and virality leads to a trend everyone just has to try!


But, is it putting your baby at risk?


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

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Where Does Baby Go?


According to the creator of the Bloom Method, Brooke Cates, the baby is raised up into the mother’s rib cage. You know, those hard bones in our chest cavity protecting your vital organs that are about four times stronger than concrete.


Without performing an ultrasound during this “exercise” I can only offer my assumptions based on my education as a nurse.


The baby would more than likely rise up into the rib cage and back toward the spine and kidneys. This can create added pressure to the uterus as well as the surrounding maternal organs and veins.


The Bloom Method website will also tell you “The more you exercise & pump blood and oxygen to your placenta, the larger and healthier your placenta will become for the duration of your pregnancy.” I’m afraid this is false. Exercise, at any fitness level should be monitored during pregnancy due to the fact (other than possible strain to you or baby) that blood is actually taken away from your uterus to the muscles during physical activity. Bringing less blood, oxygen, and nutrients to your growing baby.


Now, exercise while pregnant, if done properly and with caution can be beneficial. However, (and this is my opinion) the bloom method poses more risk than claimed benefit.

What Risks Should I Consider?


The following are possible risks that I feel you should at the very least take into consideration.


Decreased Blood Flow – Fainting


Chances are your OB GYN has cautioned you against laying flat on your back during late pregnancy. Am I right?


Why? You might ask.


During pregnancy, as your baby grows, your abdominal organs shift. Some organs are flexible while others tend to be more fixed in place. As your uterus enlarges the pressure placed on these fixed organs compromise them slightly.


One of note here is your inferior vena cava (IVC). This is a very large vein that is responsible for bringing blood back to your heart from your lower extremities. It is located anteriorly to your spine (and again here, I will remind you bones are hard) and your uterus grows in front of the IVC. Picture a sandwich where your IVC is the meat in the center of both slices of bread; The spine being one slice and the uterus being the other. (Keep that imagery in your mind)


You lay on your back and all the weight of your uterus shifts back toward your spine. Your IVC is now being compressed between your spine and uterus. You just squished your sandwich flat. Blood flow to your heart is now diminished and you may faint. Also consider, when moms blood flow is decreased, so is babies.


So, why am I rambling about a risk associated with laying on your back when belly pumping is done in a seated position? Because the shift of your uterus follows the same pathway.


Umbilical Entanglement – Nuchal Cord


“A nuchal cord (or Cord-Around-the Neck (CAN)) occurs when the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the fetal neck 360 degrees.” (Morarji Peesay, 2012)


Common misconception: A nuchal cord will not cut off “air supply” since an in utero baby does not yet breathe air; However, it can be fatal in the same sense. The baby receives oxygen from maternal blood, if the flow of blood is diminished via cord compression, there is risk of decreased “air” (oxygen) supply.




  • Compression of vessels in cord itself
  • Compression of carotid and or jugular of baby.
  • Cutting off blood flow to the head/brain


Diminishing oxygen and nutrient delivery to the baby.


Possibly Resulting in;


  • Still birth
  • Low APGAR
  • Fetal HR Deceleration
  • Surgical delivery (C-section)
  • Need to prematurely deliver
  • Meconium staining & aspiration


All of which can be fatal or debilitating.


Nuchal Cord happens in 6%–37% of pregnancies. Some will untangle on their own and most are loosely tangled. The instance of highest risk is when the cord is tightly wrapped.


Other Possible Risks


  • Separation of placenta
  • Breech delivery
  • Amniotic sac rupture
  • Preterm labor


Another notable concern lies in the virality of this trending method. The risk posed here is that women who have not previously been physically active may attempt belly pumping solely because of the wow factor. And if everyone’s doing it, it must be safe. Right? Exercise during pregnancy is discouraged in women who have not been routinely exercising prior to conception.


Unfortunately, without this method being properly studied there is no evidence of risk or benefit. I hope to at the very least, leave you cautious and hope you will discuss this practice with your medical professional prior to attempting it.


Read Next:

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Sources and References

(Morarji Peesay, 2012) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3428673/

2 http://www.livescience.com/6040-brute-force-humans-punch.html

3 http://www.aihbonline.com/article.asp?issn=2321-8568;year=2017;volume=7;issue=1;spage=15;epage=18;aulast=Joshi

4 https://medicalfoxx.com/meconium-staining.html

5 https://obgyn.coloradowomenshealth.com/blog/exercise-during-pregnancy

6 https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.healthpages.org/health-a-z/effects-physical-activity-preterm-birth/amp/


8 Photo source (Instagram posts) https://www.instagram.com/thebloommethod/?hl=en

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6 thoughts on “Warning: Belly Pumping Trend Among Pregnant Moms Puts Baby at Risk

  1. Wow! Great information especially since I am currently expecting. I had never heard of the Bloom Method but I think It’s crazy that people are following this trend without understanding the risks involved. I like that you brought up exercising while pregnant. I have always been very careful about heavy exercising during pregnancy because as you mentioned, it can reduce blood flow to the baby which is risky in and of itself. The complications you mentioned regarding the bloom method in particular though, are definitely scary and NOT worth it. Thank you so much for sharing this information!

  2. This was very informative! I haven’t heard of the Bloom Method. I agree with your opinion coming from a nurse point of view, can’t see how this could be safe for the baby. The video of the pregnant woman doing the ‘belly pumping’ was the craziest thing I have ever seen!

  3. I had no idea this was even a thing… My pregnancies are high risk, so I’m super cautious and definitely wouldn’t be trying anything like this without speaking to my doc first!

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