As women, we go through many mental, physical, and emotional changes during pregnancy as our bodies and minds prepare for birth. While pregnancy can be a beautiful and exciting time, it also comes with its challenges. While everyone’s pregnancy journey looks a bit different, a common challenge in pregnancy is body image.
We currently live in a time that places a lot of emphasis on women’s bodies. From advertising, to movies, to magazines, and more, it doesn’t take much to find something promoting how a woman’s body “should” look. In the 21st century, we as a society are more focused than ever on changing or altering a woman’s body, preventing signs of aging, and undergoing regular cosmetic producers to appear younger.
All of this noise doesn’t stop though just because a woman becomes pregnant or recently had a baby. From comments about gaining “too much weight” in pregnancy to comments about “losing baby weight fast”, there seems to be immense pressure on us women to never have a changing body for long. However, isn’t pregnancy defined as the body’s ability to grow another life from inside the body?
Many women, maybe like yourself, struggle with their body image as they become pregnant. For some, this intensifies at the beginning of the pregnancy journey. For others, this is more challenging in the third and fourth trimesters. It’s common to have thoughts of “getting bigger” as we notice our bellies, hips, breasts, and butts changing. These changes are a typical part of pregnancy as our bodies have to adapt to the extra weight we carry in the front of our bodies. That said, it can be challenging to adapt our ways of thinking and love all of the changes our bodies are going through.
If you are struggling with body image during your pregnancy, we encourage you to try the following:
- Minimize social media if you find yourself feeling worse about yourself and your body after scrolling/reading
- Stop the comparisons. Your body is like no one else’s and comparing what you look like to what someone else does in their pregnancy can be harmful to our mood
- Challenge negative thoughts about your body when they arise
- Talk about your body from a place of strength. The body has to be incredibly strong and resilient in order to carry a child
- Focus on healthy eating habits and body movement instead of what you weigh
- Ask to not be shown your weight at doctor’s appointments/don’t look at the scale
- Seek support. You are not alone in your feelings and it can get better
While the body is constantly changing, this phase of life can feel incredibly difficult for us women. If you are still struggling and feel you could benefit from support in managing these thoughts and feelings about your changing body, reach out today. Our therapists are here and ready to talk to you about how we can support you during this time.