There is so much pressure on pregnant women to have the perfect body. Images of celebrities with tiny baby bumps and flawless skin can make pregnant women feel like they are doing something wrong if they don’t look like that. But you are beautiful, just as you are. You have created a life inside of you, and that is something to be incredibly proud of. You deserve to love your body during this special time.
With the heavy influence of social media, many women can feel the pressures of social standards and expectations throughout their pregnancy. This perception of what your pregnancy should look like can serve as a trigger for some women who may have struggled in the past with an eating disorder or may be prone to disordered eating tendencies. There are ways to work through an eating disorder during pregnancy, and there is support available for you.
How You Feel
Body image isn’t necessarily how a woman looks but rather how a woman feels when they think about how they look. During pregnancy, many factors can influence how a woman feels about her body:
- Unsolicited comments: Pregnant women often receive unsolicited comments about their bodies from friends, family members, and strangers. Comments such as “you’re so big!” or “you’re growing!” can make a woman feel self-conscious and insecure.
- Constant weight checks: At every doctor’s appointment, a pregnant woman will have to weigh in. Although they are just taking measurements for safety and health measures, it can put an intense focus on how the body is changing.
- Worry about the postpartum body: Your body experiences a lot of changes when carrying and then delivering a baby, many of which you cannot control. Many women will begin worrying about how these changes will affect their appearance early on in their pregnancy.
With the many stressors that accompany bringing a baby into this world, it can be difficult for a woman to feel good about how she looks, and that can negatively affect her mental health. When a woman feels good about herself, it can make a huge difference in the overall pregnancy and childbirth experience.
Loving Your Body
It can be difficult to stay positive when so many aspects of your life are changing and it feels overwhelming. Setting daily goals to channel body love into your life is a good way to stay positive.
- Talk to friends and family: Friends and family can be a great source of support during this time. Surround yourself with people who love you and care for you regardless of how you look. Welcoming a new baby can be hard. Knowing you have a group of supportive individuals can make that transition easier.
- Educate yourself: Educating yourself on how your body will change will also help you know what to expect and what is realistic.
- Focus on what your body is doing: Learning about the wonderful miracle your body is experiencing can help ease the stresses that accompany it. It can be easy to forget when your body is constantly changing but it is all to help your baby grow and develop.
- Reach out for help: If you feel like body image thoughts are crowding your mind and affecting the way you spend your day, it may be time to reach out for help. Letting negative thoughts control your life can lead to an eating disorder or depression.
Having a positive body image can be challenging at any point in life, but it can be even harder when adding in the challenges of pregnancy. If you are pregnant and need help, reach out for help!