Pregnancy is a beautiful journey that a lot of women look forward to. However, it comes with its own set of body changes, which can sometimes be overwhelming and is often glamorised online. It is perfectly normal to struggle with your changing body and hormones, as your life changes to accommodate the growing baby inside you. As a team of mums ourselves we have struggled to love ourselves while pregnant, but we also know how important it is to try. This can be as simple as implementing a new self care routine or limiting social media use. Remember it is not just about feeling good, but also about ensuring a healthy pregnancy.
Why accepting your pregnant body can be difficult
Embracing body changes during pregnancy can be challenging due to the rapid and dramatic transformations that take place. Weight gain, swelling, stretch marks, and changes in body shape are all part and parcel of pregnancy, but they can also impact your self-perception and confidence. Hormonal fluctuations can intensify these feelings, leading to heightened sensitivity, mood swings, and sometimes, a sense of identity loss. Additionally, societal pressures and the often airbrushed representations of pregnancy in media can place unrealistic expectations on expecting mothers. In a world where pregnancy is often portrayed in a glamorised, one-dimensional way, it's important to remember that every woman's journey is unique and beautiful in its own way.
Remember this is your journey!
Every pregnancy is distinct, just like every woman is unique in her beauty and individuality. It's essential to embrace this individuality, celebrating and cherishing the changes that come with each unique journey. Remember, there's no 'one-size-fits-all' when it comes to pregnancy. Some women may glow with radiant skin, while others may grapple with acne. Some may feel energetic, while others may experience fatigue. The variety of experiences is as diverse as the women who embark on the journey of motherhood. The key is to honor your individual journey, embracing your uniquely beautiful transformation. Celebrate your body's ability to create and nurture a new life. Remember, your body is doing something truly incredible, and that's something to be proud of.
Here are some tips on how to love your body through pregnancy.
- Positive Affirmations: Speaking kindly to yourself is a transformative tool to help improve body image during pregnancy. Pregnancy is a time of significant change, and it's natural to have mixed feelings about your changing body. However, using self-compassion and positive language can significantly impact how you perceive these changes. It's about shifting the narrative from criticism to appreciation. Instead of focusing on how your body looks, celebrate what it's accomplishing. Every stretch mark is a sign of your body making room for your growing baby; every pound gained is your body ensuring your baby gets the necessary nutrients. Speaking kindly to yourself means acknowledging these incredible feats your body is performing. Moreover, it helps foster a positive mindset, reducing stress, and enhancing your overall well-being. Remember, the way you speak to yourself matters. As you navigate this beautiful journey of pregnancy, let your internal dialogues be ones of love, respect, and admiration for your incredible body.
- Connect with Your Baby: Take time each day to bond with your baby. This can be through talking, singing, or gentle massages.
- Capture the Moments: Capturing moments can play a significant role in helping pregnant mums love their bodies. By taking regular photos or keeping a journal, you can document the incredible journey your body is undertaking. These keepsakes serve as a reminder of the power and strength of your body, its capacity to grow and nurture a new life. They can help you see the beauty in every stage, every change, and every new curve that comes with pregnancy. Furthermore, reflecting on these captured moments can provide a positive perspective on your body’s transformation, instilling confidence and self-love.
- Rest: Rest is crucial for your self-esteem during pregnancy, playing an instrumental role in maintaining your physical and mental well-being. Pregnancy is a period of significant physiological changes, and the added physical strain can lead to fatigue, impacting your perception of yourself. Regular rest periods can help alleviate this fatigue, keeping you energised and allowing you to better appreciate the strength and resilience of your body. Moreover, rest can also enhance your emotional well-being. Adequate sleep has been linked with improved mood and reduced stress levels, which can help combat mood swings and anxiety, common during pregnancy. Feeling physically rested and mentally calm can dramatically improve your self-esteem, helping you to feel more confident and positive about your body's changes. So, prioritise rest to honour your body and acknowledge the remarkable work it's doing, growing a new life.
- Connect with Other Mums: Join a pregnancy group or online community. Sharing experiences and tips can help you feel understood and less alone in your journey. Nurturing connections with other pregnant women or new mothers can be a game-changer during your pregnancy journey. These are the people who can truly empathise with your experiences, from morning sickness to swollen ankles, because they're going through it too or have recently experienced it. Joining pregnancy groups or online communities not only offers a platform for you to share your fears, joys, and queries, but also provides an opportunity to learn from others' experiences and gain valuable insights. These connections can help alleviate feelings of isolation and provide a sense of belonging. Moreover, these supportive networks can continue to be a source of guidance and friendship even after your baby is born, as you navigate the new and exciting world of motherhood.
- Embrace the Changes: One of the essential steps in loving your body through pregnancy is to embrace the changes that come with it. Your body will grow, and you will gain weight, but that doesn't mean you have to feel bad about it. Instead, celebrate these changes and understand that they are part of the process. It may help to take pictures of your growing belly to remind you of the miracle growing within you.
- Take Care of Your Skin: The hormonal changes that come with pregnancy can cause changes in your skin. You may experience breakouts or stretch marks as your body changes. However, taking care of your skin can help mitigate these changes. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, eat a balanced diet, and moisturise your skin daily to prevent dryness and itchiness.
- Move Your Body: Exercise is essential during pregnancy to keep you healthy and reduce stress. However, you don't need to engage in strenuous training; gentle exercises like yoga or walking can suffice. Consult your doctor on the exercises that suit you best and practice them regularly. Exercise is not only essential for physical health but also for mental well-being.
- Eat Healthily: Pregnancy comes with cravings, and it's okay to indulge once in a while. However, it is essential to maintain a healthy diet for a healthy pregnancy. Avoid processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol. Instead, opt for fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and plenty of water. A balanced diet ensures you get the necessary nutrients for your baby's development.
- Take Time for Yourself: Lastly, amidst all the changes and preparations, it is crucial to take time for yourself. Pregnancy can be overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. Take a relaxing bath, read a good book, meditate, or practice self-care activities that help you recharge. Taking care of yourself ensures you have the energy and motivation to care for your baby.
- Dress in Comfort and Style Feeling: good about yourself is as crucial as taking care of your health during pregnancy. How you dress plays a significant role in this. As you can imagine maternity and pregnancy lingerie is a big one for us! It can make you feel beautiful, comfortable and confident throughout your pregnancy journey. As your body changes, regular clothes may start to feel tight and uncomfortable. Maternity clothes, designed with stretchable fabrics and adjustable features, can provide the comfort you need while accommodating your growing bump. Pregnancy lingerie, like maternity bras, offer the necessary support for your changing breasts and enhance your silhouette, making you feel attractive and self-assured. Furthermore, switching to maternity wear does not mean compromising on style. There's a wide range of trendy, chic maternity outfits available, allowing you to flaunt your baby bump with pride. Dressing in clothing that makes you feel good can enhance your mood, boost your self-esteem, and help you embrace the beautiful journey of motherhood.
- Limit Negative Interactions: It's equally essential to surround yourself with positivity during pregnancy. Limit interactions with people or social media that doesn't make you feel good about yourself or your body. Unfortunately, we live in a society that often places unrealistic expectations on pregnant bodies. These standards can be detrimental to your self-esteem and overall mental health. Remember, every woman's pregnancy journey is unique, and comparisons don't serve any positive purpose. Instead, follow accounts that promote body positivity, celebrate the beauty of pregnancy, and offer practical advice for expectant mothers. Engaging with uplifting content can boost your mood, provide you with a supportive community, and promote a healthier relationship with your changing body.
Loving your body through pregnancy is not just about feeling good but also about ensuring a healthy pregnancy. Embrace the changes that come with pregnancy, take care of your skin, move your body, eat healthily, and take time for yourself. These simple steps not only help you love your body but also support a fulfilling pregnancy journey. Remember, your body is working hard to create and bring new life into the world, and it deserves all the love and care.