Monday, January 24, 2011

Healthy Body Image Tips for Pregnant Ladies

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Since several people I know are pregnant, I thought I'd take the time to do a post about how to keep a positive body image while you're pregnant.  Pregnancy can be hard on body image because your body is changing drastically, and you really don't have much control over it!  Even women who have a healthy body image can struggle with their pregnant body.  Keep these things in mind during pregnancy:

  • Gaining weight is normal, of course.  You're growing another person!  The doctor will give you a range of how much weight you should gain.  Remember that this is an AVERAGE!  Some women gain more, and some gain less.  And that could still be healthy.  Weight is not the only indicator of health. 
  • You will gain weight in other areas besides your womb.  Your body knows what it's doing, though!  All these changes are necessary for a healthy baby.
  • Your appetite will increase, and that's ok.  (After the nauseous stage, that is!) Sometimes women feel bad about themselves when they eat "a lot".  Don't let this bother you too much.  When I was pregnant, I ate breakfast, second breakfast, snack, lunch...you get the point!  I ate all the time!  Listen to your body: eat when you're hungry, eat what you're craving, and stop eating when you're full.
  • Wear clothes that are comfortable for you and fit you're pregnant form.  (This includes buying a new bra or two!)  The more comfortable you are, the less you have to worry about what you look like.  But this doesn't give you permission to wear a muumuu in public! :)
  • Buy bigger shoes.  Yes, my friends, it's very likely that your feet will get bigger.
  • Don't compare to other women.  Every body is different.  Every pregnant body is different.
  • At your check-ups, get weighed backwards so you can't see the weight.  Let your obstetrician and the nurses know that you do not want to know your weight unless there is a problem.  That way you don't have to worry about what you're gaining.  (And obviously if you're going to these lengths, don't weight yourself anywhere else, either!)
  • Ask the doctor not to tell you how "big" you're measuring.  That way you will have one less fact to compare to other ladies.
  • Exercise will be different when you're pregnant.  Respect any physical limitations you may have while you are pregnant.  Consider taking a class for pregnant women--water aerobics, yoga, etc.
  • Get enough sleep.  A hard task when you're pregnant, I know!  The idea behind this is that getting enough rest improves your mood and the way you feel about yourself.
  • Accept that some days you'll just feel awkward in your body.   Period.  You won't like the way your clothes fit, you'll have a bad hair day, etc.  Just do your best for the time being, and hope for a better day tomorrow.
  • Look for underlying emotions when you're unhappy with your body.  I find that when I'm having a "bad body image day"--pregnant or not--it's usually an indication about my emotions.  I could be worried, stressed, etc. 
  • Educate yourself about the changes that will take place during pregnancy.  Read a book, talk to your doctor, and/or visit websites like babycenter.
What other tips do you have for maintaining a healthy body image during pregnancy?

3 comments:

  1. Oh you must have known that I needed this today! It is so difficult for me to keep a 'healthy' perspective when compared to sister-in-laws that gain 15 pounds their whole pregnancy, and I've already gained 10! Good grief! I am printing this out and putting it on my fridge! Thank you once again for reminding me that I am normal and my feelings are normal and valid. I desperately needed this!

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  2. I'm glad this was helpful! A lot of women worry about what their bodies "should" be doing rather than accepting that their body will do what is normal for them. Everyone's "normal" is different!

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