Pregnancy is a time when women potentially experience the biggest changes to their bodies in their lives so far – both physically and mentally. It’s therefore not surprising that adjusting to these changes can take time. A common association relating to pregnancy is the presence of the ‘rosy glow’, but behind the glow, physical body changes can actually cause some women worry and anxiety as expected.
How does pregnancy affect body image?
In the age of social media, societal pressures are at an all-time high and women can feel expected to conform to an ideal weight, even during their pregnancy! Pregnancy body image concerns are widespread, and recent research undertaken by the Mental Health Foundation revealed the extent of how many women feel negative about their body image during pregnancy. The survey reported that ‘More than half (54 per cent) of the women aged 25-34 who had been pregnant felt more negative about their body image after pregnancy compared to before they were pregnant.
Your body is a temple for your baby
It’s easy to get caught up in the negative effects of pregnancy, but it is important to realise the value in the changes that your body is going through. When you are pregnant, your body is working hard to make changes to accommodate the birth of your baby. The most common changes are fluctuating hormones and physical changes, such as stretch marks and weight gain, which are only natural! It is important to not pay attention to the scales, as giving birth to a healthy baby is your priority. It is also common to have an increased appetite during pregnancy, especially when morning sickness fades and cravings increase. Do not feel guilty about this, instead eat a varied diet with treats in moderation, as you need more calories to feed your ever-growing baby!
How to focus on body acceptance and body appreciation
Focusing on body acceptance and body appreciation during pregnancy can be difficult, but research suggests that a combination of exercise, looking after your wellbeing and having a good support network can really help. If you are lucky to have a reassuring support network, it is definitely worthwhile sharing your body issue worries with them, as it is likely that many of your friends and family can relate. Being prepared with maternity clothes can also increase your confidence. Prioritising comfort will make you feel better in yourself and today as much of a fashion-focus is given to maternity wear, so you do not have to compromise style for practicality!