Maintaining a positive body image during pregnancy can be difficult. Not only is your body changing, but it is changing somewhat quickly. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing but the body changes can be very hard to cope with, especially if you struggle with body image already. For me, having a history with a severe eating disorder in the past, I had to be very intentional to control the way I thought about my body and the way I let my emotions drive my actions.
This post is all about the nine things that helped me keep a positive body image during pregnancy and I hope they let you feel beautiful your whole pregnancy too!
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Body Image During Pregnancy
Why is keeping a positive body image during pregnancy so important?
Body image is the thoughts and emotions that you personally have surrounding your own body and appearance. Body image is a common struggle for many people, especially women. I personally struggled with an eating disorder for years myself. So when it comes to pregnancy, body image can be an even bigger struggle for many people. Pregnancy often magnifies the insecurities that we already have as women and feeling unattractive during pregnancy becomes all too common.
A positive body image is even more important when you are pregnant. It is very easy to let your thoughts spiral out of control when you are exhausted, feeling sick, and hormonal. Any small negative body image thought can spiral into chaos if you aren’t careful. That’s why I believe it is even more important to learn how to let go of the negative thoughts and appreciate all that your body is doing.
What helped me have a positive body image during pregnancy?
1. Keep a sonogram picture on your fridge
My number one recommendation to anyone pregnant and struggling with body image is to plaster sonogram pictures on your fridge and pantry doors. This way when you are hungry, you are reminded of exactly why you need to fuel your body. Keeping your eyes on the big picture will help you appreciate and love your body.
2. Let the doctors do the weighing
During pregnancy, weight is simply a way to make sure that your baby is growing and developing at a rate they expect. That being said, there is truly no use in constantly weighing yourself. If you are constantly checking your weight and watching it go up (because it’s supposed to) you will probably just get in your head about it and have an even harder time adjusting to pregnancy. Every single pregnancy will make you gain a different amount of weight and every person will gain a different amount of weight. Eat when you’re hungry and let the doctor’s determine whether your weight is healthy or not.
3. Write out what you love about pregnancy
On the days that I was feeling the pregnancy pains more or struggling more mentally, I pulled out a journal and wrote out the things that I loved the most about being pregnant. It may sound counter intuitive but that’s kind of the point. Instead of focusing on how insecure I was feeling, I started thinking about how much I loved feeling my baby kick or how much I loved an excuse to wear leggings all day every day. The best way to shift your mindset is to get things on paper to help you see the good things.
4. Learn about all your body is doing
You can’t appreciate when you don’t know. So one of the best ways to start appreciating your pregnant body is to research all that it is doing. I know the more I learned about pregnancy, the more I understood why I was so dang tired! Outside of Google research, I think one of the best ways to learn about your pregnancy and your body is to download an app like What to Expect. Their updates and videos are a great way to stay in touch with the changes your body is going through.
5. Stay active throughout your pregnancy
Staying active during your pregnancy will not only reduce your pregnancy pains and help you during labor, but it will also make a huge difference in your mental health. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and releases feel good hormones that will help improve your mood and fight off those negative thoughts.
6. Don’t be afraid of tight fitting clothes
When I’m not pregnant and feeling insecure, the first thing I want to do is put on baggy clothes. However, when you are pregnant, baggy clothes aren’t always best. As your belly grows, tight maternity shirts and dresses may actually help you feel the most cute and confident. They did for me so it may be worth a shot!
7. Invest in a few maternity staples that you love
When I was pregnant with my second, my baby bump popped REALLY QUICK and very quickly I found myself struggling comparing myself to my first pregnancy and every pregnant person I saw on social media. The biggest thing that helped me feel confident all this was investing in a few maternity clothes that I felt good in. Find yourself jeans that you like the way you look in. Invest in a few cute maternity dresses. I personally lived in my maternity biker shorts and maternity athletic shorts. You don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe, but investing in a few maternity staples and a few cute things that you love will do your mental health some good.
8. Limit social media
Social media can wreak havoc on your body image and self esteem. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change when you’re pregnant. You will compare your maternity outfit to theirs, your bump to theirs, your swelling to theirs, their workouts to yours, and the list goes on. Be careful not to spend too much time on social media and learn when you need to stop scrolling.
9. Trust your cravings
If you struggle with nausea in the first trimester, don’t think twice about anything that sounds good. When you can’t keep anything down or get anything in, any calorie is a good calorie. I know that is difficult to cope with mentally but you need calories to fuel your body.
As you start to feel more normal, it will become more important to focus on the quality of your food. Focus on the nutrients in your food and also balance letting your body tell you what you need. I remember craving lettuce and raspberries so much when I’d feel a little nauseous and learned later that both are anti nausea. Your body knows what it needs and it really will tell you if you listen.
This post was all about body image during pregnancy and my best tips to help you love yourself through your pregnancy. It is 100% possible to have a body positive pregnancy and I want to help you get there.
-Beautifully Busy Mom