Body Changes in Pregnancy

Body Changes in Pregnancy

A pregnant body does become a focus of attention. While some women feel really good about how their body grows and changes during pregnancy, for others it can be a challenge or anywhere in between. This is all normal. However, it’s good to be aware that research has found a link between feeling unhappy with your body and post-natal depression. So, it’s important to look after your body image and mental health throughout your pregnancy - just like you would look after your physical health.

Pregnancy can also be a time of getting unwanted or unexpected body comments – including from strangers. It almost feels like your body has become public property all of a sudden. While most people are well meaning, their words can make you uncomfortable. While there’s no stopping what that random stranger at the supermarket has to say about your bump (or any part of your body), there are things we can all do to improve the way we feel about our body.

Tips to help you feel good in the skin you’re in when pregnant

Focus on function over form

Try to think more about what your body is doing, and less about what it looks like.

Nourish yourself and your growing baby

Enjoy food and movement that helps your body to feel good. This can be tough if you’re experiencing morning sickness, nausea or vomiting. Read more about how to take care for your body

Try to be realistic

It’s not possible to grow a human and have the same body as before. It just isn’t. Your body is doing an amazing job. Try to accept and embrace the changes if you can. If feeling great about your body becoming or being pregnant isn’t happening, aim for accepting and respecting your body.

Try not to compare yourself to others whether that person is a friend, a celebrity or a stranger.

All baby bumps are different (just as all bodies are different). We’re not all meant to look the same.

Practice self compassion

Speak to yourself the way you would a good friend, or someone you care about.

Set boundaries

When it comes to family, friends or workmates, set your own boundaries about what you’ll put up with. If you’d rather body comments to be off limits, let them know – either directly, or by changing the subject.

Keep the content in your life positive

Think about whether social media accounts, pregnancy books, apps and blog posts leave you feeling good about your body. If they don’t, you can do without them. When we feel good about our body, we’re more likely to look after it.

Get help if you need it

While it’s common to have a shift in your body image during pregnancy and after giving birth, if it’s causing you distress or stirring up unhealthy thoughts or behaviours, there is support available. It’s important for your health and the health of your baby. Contact the Butterfly Foundation via their website for more information.

For more general information and support relating to your body image during pregnancy and beyond, see Body Confident Mums website

To find out more about tips for a healthy pregnancy check out the Pregnancy page on Healthy Kids