Body Image and Baby

I am currently five months pregnant. Pregnancy is a very difficult time for many women because our bodies change so dramatically. Most women have body image issues before pregnancy, so as the changes happen, it can really throw you into a tailspin. As a reformed body shame junkie, I have learned a few things along the way…..

  1. Eating for two is a myth. You do need to eat more, but don’t go to extremes because it will be harder on your body and your emotional state. Learn to eat intuitively by listening to what your body wants. For the first few weeks, I craved butter and cheese. Then, it was dairy. Now, it is vegetables. I really hear my body when it speaks to me and I feed it accordingly. Pay attention to how your body feels when you eat. It will definitely give you feedback!
  2. There will be plenty of time to work on getting back to your pre-pregnancy body. Do not stress about what is happening now. Once your baby is here, you will have plenty of time to be able to make changes. Stressing yourself out now will only make things worse. Don’t try to force your body to do unnatural things with regard to your weight. Our bodies are so much smarter than our heads! As long as you listen to it and provide what it needs, your body will do exactly what it needs to do to support your baby. I also have to recognize that my body will be different after having my baby. Not bad, just different. I can choose to think of the changes as a reminder of this bond I will always have with my child.
  3. Your body is changing for good reason. It is ok to have the extra cellulite and watch your thighs grow together. Your body is gearing up to have enough fat for your baby to be protected from famine and injury. Focus on the function of this process and let the changes occur naturally.
  4. Stay active. Of course you need your rest, but your body also needs to move. This will help with stress and sleep. It also has a calming effect on your baby. Certainly, listen to your body and opt for lower impact activities, but if you did it before and there isn’t a risk of injury, keep doing it. Your body and your baby will thank you. This is not meant to be a way to control your weight. It is just helpful to keep your mind and body healthy and balanced. Don’t push yourself too hard, just listen to what your body needs.
  5. Appreciate the changes you see. Along with realizing your body is changing for good reason, recognize that motherhood is the epitome of femininity. Celebrate your curves. Allow yourself to feel sexy. Accentuate and appreciate what you see instead of criticizing it. As I always say, loving your body will get you so much further than hating it ever did!

Best wishes for a healthy pregnancy and baby!

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Weber State University and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Utah. She has been working in the mental health field since 2001.
Michelle Lewis

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