Everything you need to know about celebrating your pregnant body. Check out the article for a happier and healthier pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a word that conjures up images of beautifully round bellies and sweetly powdered babies. Mothers like Irma Watts of Nickerson, Kan., agree. “I loved being pregnant. I think I actually felt at the height of my femininity,” Watts says. But mothers like Melba Hodges of Richmond, Va., couldn’t disagree more. “I simply felt pretty ugly and swollen and uncomfortable,” she says.
So why the difference? How can some women celebrate their bigger profiles, feeling full of life, while other women crawl out of bed each morning, feeling full of fat?
There are no simple answers, but according to Wilma Wade, a psychologist, there are biological, psychological and socio-cultural influences that affect every pregnant woman. (Celebrating Your Pregnant Body)
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“There is a cascade of hormonal influences which can shape a positive or negative attitude towards body image in pregnancy,” Wade says. “Early on in pregnancy there is often nausea, a sickly appearance and weight gain that outsiders would not attribute to pregnancy. These can cause some ambivalence in the woman.”
Misty Sherman of Greenwich, Conn., recalls how morning sickness kept her from fully enjoying the first trimester of pregnancy. “But once that was over, I felt stronger and stronger and loved being pregnant,” she says.
To learn about month by month pregnancy changes : Month by Month Pregnancy Changes
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“If a woman is ashamed of her changing body, if her partner or others make hurtful remarks, if she is alarmed by stretch marks, the pregnancy can be difficult,” Wade says. “Add to this if she feels less sexual or if her partner withdraws affection. She may resent her changing body.”
Sharon Moran of Madison, Wis., recalls how her husband’s opinion boosted her mental well-being. “It helped me to enjoy my pregnant body that my husband really loved my pregnant body, too,” Moran says.
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Perhaps the most critical influence over a pregnant woman’s body image is the emphasis society puts on weight. Wade says American culture places a great deal of emphasis on slimness. The advertising and entertainment industries perpetuate the idea that a woman’s beauty is dependent on her weight. As a result, many pregnant women see their heavier figures as unattractive.
Also, check our another article about body image during pregnancy : Positive Body Image During Pregnancy A True Story of Health and Fitness
While many of these influences seem to be beyond a woman’s control, here are 10 ways a pregnant woman can take action to feel good about her changing body. (Celebrating Your Pregnant Body)
- Accentuate the Positive: Every woman has at least one self-attribute that she finds attractive. Sarah Lake of Salt Lake City, Utah, takes pride in her long hair. Fortunately for her, drug stores and supermarkets stock dazzling barrettes and stunning headbands. By drawing attention to an area she felt comfortable with, Lake found a way to take pride in her appearance.
- Get Moving: Lorene Nunez of Milwaukee, Wis., enjoys a daily walk along the lake. She first cleared this activity with her midwife, then set out into the fresh air where she could clear her mind and get some exercise.
- Heighten the Senses: The scent of a candle, the soft caress of silk pajamas, the sound of beautiful music, the taste of warm milk or the sight of fresh-cut flowers can offer quiet enjoyment and do wonders for peace of mind.
- Flatter the Figure: Maternity clothes are pricey, but you can get your money’s worth from two or three flattering outfits. Caroline Woods of Baltimore, Md., attributes her positive pregnancy image to keeping up her appearance. “[Clothing designers] have come a long way with maternity clothes. Buying a few really good outfits paid off,” Woods says.
- Making Up: Makeup counters at department stores can help you find what looks best on you. Some counters even offer free makeovers. And while makeup is not a part of every woman’s routine, a brush of blush, a bit of mascara and a swipe of lip gloss can really brighten any face.
- Feel a Little Glamorous: If you enjoy the look and feel of lacy bras and panties, you can continue to enjoy them during pregnancy. Most department stores stock lacy underwire bras in sizes to fit the generous pregnancy bustline.
- Accessorize: Jewelry is another way to draw attention to an area of your body that you feel more comfortable with. A bold pair of earrings, a unique broach or a dynamic bracelet might just boost your confidence.
- Rubbed the Right Way: When stresses or body aches rear their ugly heads, a massage can melt away the torment. Cathy Parsons of Erie, Penn., enjoyed massages even into her last trimester. Many massage therapists stock a special pillow that allows a woman in late pregnancy to lie on her stomach.
- Education Through Community: The single most important step a pregnant woman can take toward accepting her body’s changes is to become educated. Surf around internet and get answers to your questions and concerns. Head over to a discussion board and discover that you’re not alone in your feelings about your changing body. There are other women here who understand your emotions, and sharing those feelings is a great way to educate yourself about the miracle of pregnancy and the way it’s affecting your body.
The names of the people mentioned in the article have been changed for security reasons and to protect privacy.
Our articles are prepared to give advice. Always consult your doctor first for any problems and exact information.