One day you catch sight of your pregnant self in the mirror and what you see is round: a rounder face, weightier boobs, protruding tummy and, to cap it off, your bum spreading sideways to balance you out. You don't think so much 'pregnant' as 'fat. 'Most of us have been there and while some women love their pregancy curves, few mums-to-be go all the way through pregnancy without feeling fat at some stage. So what can you do to improve how you feel about your body if the 'fat fears' strike?
Focus on staying healthy - While we're regularly bombarded with the false message that thin equals healthy, at no time is this less true than when you're pregnant. Besides the obvious baby bump, rounding out your figure a little in pregnancy is perfectly normal and healthy - both for you and your baby: Your baby needs plenty of energy and nutrients to develop healthily, so this is no time to be under-eating. Try not to think ahead and worry about how you will lose the weight later on, and concentrate instead on making sure that you enjoy a healthy, well-balanced diet that provides your baby with everything she needs to grow and leaves you with enough energy to get on with your own life.
If you're not sure what weight gain is reasonable, your doctor or midwife should advise you on what a healthy pregnancy weight gain should be for you personally.
What is important, however, is that you make sure your GP knows if you've ever suffered from an eating disorder, even if you've eaten well so far during your pregnancy.
- Think about the baby - If you're feeling fat and frumpy try to remember what an incredible feat your body is performing in these nine months: From the very moment of conception your body is focussing its energy on developing a healthy little child. You might particularly need reminding of your progress in the early months if you appear to be putting on weight all over with no obvious outward signs of pregnancy - and if you haven't yet quite got used to the idea that you're going to have a baby. It may help you if you read up on how your baby develops week by week so you can wonder at what amazing work your body is doing and put any extra weight into perspective.
- Wear the right clothes - In the earlier days, popping out of uncomfortable regular clothes is almost certain to make you feel fat, and will probably make your weight gain more noticeable to others too. This may not be until the second trimester, but it can be quite early for some mums, particularly when it isn't your first pregnancy. For that awkward time until it's time to move on to maternity wear you can try using waistband extenders to make your clothes sit better. Try also going through your wardrobe to see what is most flattering to your changing shape.
Moving on to maternity clothes can be a key moment in your pregnancy as they can be great for giving you the 'pregnant and blooming' look rather than large and lumpy. Be aware though, that maternity ranges are not universally flattering as even pregnant figures can be very diverse. Invest in quality rather than quantity, and look for maternity pieces that flatter your bump figure. Find out more about buying maternity clothing and staying stylish when pregnant in these articles.
- Get some exercise - No, we're not talking about pounding the exercise machines to lose weight, just taking a regular gentle exercise. Not only is sensible exercising in pregnancy good for you, but it will help you feel more energised, relaxed and as a consequence feel good about yourself and your body.
- Treat yourself - Whether it's relaxing in a long bath, having a massage or manicure, getting a haircut or taking time to put on a bit of slap, a little grooming may help you feel more like a pregnant goddess and less like a sack of potatoes.
- Celebrate the bump! - If your growing bump begins to make you feel like a whale, try seeing it from a different perspective and take pride in your roundness. You could take regular photos of yourself so you can chart your changing shape and consider comparing them with some of your ThinkBaby due date friends- you'll be amazed how much seeing other bumps and exchanging a few appreciative comments can encourage you to see your size positively.
- Let your partner reassure you - If your partner is making efforts to show that he finds your pregnant body sexy then try not to brush him off disbelievingly. Chances are that he does find you incredibly sexy right now, so don't discourage him from letting you know, lap it up!
- Pinch of salt with those celeb pics - Glossy fashion mags love to trumpet how x, y and z celeb looks incredibly svelte and pulled together while sporting a perfect baby bump. Don't be fooled by these pics. Remember that the leaner celebrities often have an unhealthy body weight at the outset of pregnancy, which is hardly a great start for their baby. And even those who simply have nice, trim bodies are helped along with teams of stylists, hairdressers, make-up artists and large clothing budgets, not to mention a generous hand from photo-airbrushing. You can bet your life that most of them will have at some point looked in the mirror and found themselves scarily round. Instead of feeling intimidated, try taking something positive from these pictures - a pregnant body is a beautiful body, whoever it belongs to.
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