Women's Healthcare Topics

Changing Body Image in Pregnancy

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

How do You Perceive Your Body?

Pregnancy is filled with multiple challenges including emotional and physical changes that can impact a woman's self esteem and body image. How you perceive your body image during pregnancy is just as important as the way you perceive your role as mother, wife, partner and person.

Unfortunately society has become so obsessed with body image, particularly that of thin and underweight images of beauty that many pregnant women develop unhealthy body images during pregnancy. The world would benefit significantly from more images in the media of the glory and beauty that surrounds and encompasses pregnant women.

The good news is you can learn to love and appreciate the changes in your body during pregnancy. Body image during pregnancy is merely a matter of perception. The key is adopting the right perception throughout your pregnancy.

Learning To Love Your Pregnant Body

Pregnant women are among the most beautiful women on earth. In ancient societies man viewed pregnant women as the ultimate sign of fertility. A pregnant woman represented all that is wonderful and bountiful about life. Why then do pregnant women today have so much disdain for their body image during pregnancy?

In today's weight obsessed society it is often easy for women to fall into the trap of feeling negative about their body image during pregnancy. Self esteem and respect during pregnancy however are as much the result of a woman's feelings toward herself as they are the way her body looks.

Here are SEVEN tips that will help you develop a positive body image during your pregnancy:

    Body image in pregnancy will change and some women have a very hard time with it.
  • Remember that you are carrying the miracle of life within you. No matter how much weight you gain, whether you have acne or not and regardless of the stretch marks pregnancy brings, your body is changing in a remarkable way because you are helping nurture and welcome a new life into the world.

  • No matter what you think of your body, your baby absolutely adores you. Your baby is nestled deep inside your warm womb. Nothing could make a person happier than that close, intense feeling.

  • Your body is changing to provide your baby the support he or she needs to grow into a healthy newborn. If your body wasn't capable of changing and expanding there is no way you could support the life within.

  • Pregnancy weight gain is a normal and natural process. Your weight gain is as much the result of your increasing metabolism and caloric needs as it is your expanding uterus. As you put on weight you help shield your baby from disease and provide a warm and nurturing home.

  • Exercise during pregnancy can help improve your body image and help you feel better about your changing shape.

  • Most women's breasts grow and expand in addition to their bellies. Enjoy this newfound fertility symptom and revel in your womanly shape.

  • Most women give off a unique glow during pregnancy. This is the one time in life people will remark on your beauty regardless of how much effort you put into your appearance.

During your pregnancy you should take some time to pamper yourself and your growing body. You can invest in a pedicure or take time out for a relaxing massage. You should also indulge yourself in one or two outfits you really love that make you feel spectacular. Show off your figure while you can. You'd be surprised in the grand scheme of things how quickly pregnancy passes. Before you know it you'll be longing for the days when your body was ripe with life and love!


Doctor's Corner

Pregnancy Week by Week - Women's Healthcare Topics