3 Ways To Not Stress About Body Image During Pregnancy
Taking a pregnancy test and having it come back positive can be stressful enough when it is planned. Now you’re just a few weeks into an unplanned pregnancy your body feels like it has been invaded. Your stomach is gurgling, your boobs hurt and you seem like you are peeing 50 times a day. You aren’t seeing any major changes yet, but you know they are coming and you’re concerned, maybe even scared about how this pregnancy will make you feel and look.
At Collage we want to let you know that this is all normal, especially the concern about body image during pregnancy. But more than that, we want to walk with and prepare you for the next nine months. We want to give you tools and strategies on how not to stress about your body image during an unexpected pregnancy. We know, easier said than done. But hopefully these tips will get you started in the right direction.
1. Prepare Your Mind for the Physical Changes
Understand that right from the beginning that your body will change. There’s a bunch going on in there and the sooner you understand what is happening biologically, the faster you can prepare yourself emotionally for when the changes start happening. We recommend that you read everything you can get your hands on about your changing body and what it needs to support your baby. We have some great resources in both our Kearney and Grand Island offices that are available to pick up when you come in for an appointment. There are many great resources available online and you can even check out any of our previous posts here on the blog. The local library is also a great resource for books and the latest magazines. The more you know, the less scary these changes will be when your body starts preparing for birth.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
We can’t stress this enough. This isn’t the time to diet or to go overboard on eating whatever you want just because you are pregnant. One of the biggest concerns we hear from girls is that they’re of getting fat. Please understand, carrying a baby is not like carrying around the freshman 15. You are gaining weight for a purpose. Normal weight gain for pregnancy is 25-35 pounds depending on your current body size. Eating healthy allows the right type of weight gain and the nutrition your body and the baby’s needs to grow. Check out our previous posts on how to eat healthy during pregnancy and on what types of foods to stay away from. Bottom line, you will gain weight. But it’s important to keep in in perspective and to stay positive.
While we’re on this topic it’s important to also mention that if you have struggled with an eating disorder either currently or in the past (anorexia or bulimia) we highly encourage you to share this information with your physician. Eating disorders affect approximately seven million women in the US and peak during childbearing years. This can cause multiple complications during pregnancy so the more your health care professionals understand about your nutritional and emotional needs the more they can provide the care you need.
Some of the serious complications that are associated with eating disorders and pregnancy include:
- Premature labor
- Low birth weight
- Stillbirth or fetal death
- Increased risk of cesarean birth
- Delayed fetal growth
- Respiratory problems
- Gestational diabetes
- Complications during labor
We can’t stress how important it is to be completely up front with your medical team if you’re pregnant and have an eating disorder. Women who struggle with eating disorders can have healthy babies if they maintain normal weight gain throughout their pregnancy. *
3. Get Support and Stay Positive about Your Body Image During Pregnancy
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. We’re here for you. What you are doing is difficult and brave. We happen to think that making a tough choice like this will develop a character and strength that will make you even more beautiful than you already are! But it can be hard at times so you need to surround yourself with people who believe in you and who will be there to answer tough questions. We’re glad to help.
Also, avoid obsessively comparing yourself to other girls, especially while you’re pregnant. This is not the time to compare your body with the girls in magazines and TV. Who looks like that in real life anyway?
Surround yourself with friends and family who love you. If you have a friend who keeps saying things about how horrible you are going to look and feel, you don’t need them in your life right now. We think what you are doing is pretty special and has a much deeper impact than just how you look or feel today. You are beautiful and don’t ever let anyone one tell you different!
By keeping yourself informed, maintaining a healthy pregnancy weight and getting the support you need throughout your whole pregnancy, you can keep calm and not stress about your body image during your unexpected pregnancy.