During pregnancy your body changes so rapidly that it often leaves women feeling unconfident and unsure about their appearance. As Anita Naik reveals in The Lazy Girl's Guide to a Blissful Pregnancy an alarming 'seventy-eight per cent of women say they have concerns about how pregnancy and motherhood will change their weight and bodies, but fifty seven per cent won't discuss it with friends or doctors for fear of being thought shallow'.
From her fantastic Lazy Girl's Guide to A Blissful Pregnancy, author Anita Naik gives her top 20 ways to feel body confident when pregnant. . .
1. Invest in good underwear
This is your pregnant body's external support system. Buy a well-fitting pregnancy bra, pregnancy pants (above or below your bump) and a pair of support tights (amazing help with aching pregnancy legs and vital if you're on your feet all day).
2. Consider your beliefs about pregnancy
We all have a vision of what we'll look like when pregnant, what we'll do and how we'll never be like X who gained 3st and spent nine months on the sofa; however, until you're pregnant you don't know how your body is going to respond so give yourself a break if you're too sick/tired/fed up to live up to your pregnancy ideal. Aim to be good enough, not perfect.
3. Join a mothers-to-be group
Whether it's a parenting class, pregnancy yoga or a breastfeeding workshop, hanging out with other pregnant women is liberating on the oh-my-god-what's-my-body-doing front!
4. Squash your competitive gene
It won't help during pregnancy and will either leave you feeling smug or crushed. All bodies are different, and no matter how you start out, your hormones will dictate how you feel and how you look.
5. Focus on the bigger picture
On low self-esteem days, concentrate on your baby's development and growth. Your body is changing in order to help your baby. It is a natural and amazing process.
6. Consider your pre-pregnancy body image
Research shows that women who have had a bad body image before pregnancy tend to have a worse one during pregnancy. Help yourself by paying attention to what's influencing your feelings; is it media depictions of pregnant women, the magazines you are reading, and/or the celebrities you admire? Only you can say.
7. Work on being positive about your body
Find one thing that you like about your body and accentuate it. It will give you a confidence boost. Whether that's a new cleavage, a firm but round stomach or even glossy flowing hair.
8. Have a sex life
It will make you feel good about your body and increase positive feelings about your new look. If sex is out of the question, make sure you increase how much you are touched by having hugs and even a pregnancy massage. It will increase your endorphin levels and help you to feel better about yourself.
9. Police what you say to yourself
If you're consistently negative about your pregnancy body, then that's how you'll end up viewing your pregnancy. Try to balance up what you say by adding one positive remark to every negative one.
10. Talk to someone sooner rather than later
Low self-esteem during pregnancy has a direct impact on how you will feel post-pregnancy when you are a mother, so take action. Talk to someone you trust about how you feel or seek professional advice and help from your midwife or doctor.
11. The tiredness and confidence link
Confidence always takes a major hit when you are tired and exhausted, so think about when you fell at your lowest about yourself and correlate it to your energy levels. Things always do look better in the morning.
12. Keep telling yourself 'This too shall pass'
It's an important mantra to remember both in pregnancy, labour and motherhood! Whatever horrible place you're in, it's just a phase and it will pass.
13. Ask for reassurance
So you don't want to be needy, beg for compliments or be the girl who can't make herself feel better. On the other hand, we all need other people, especially those who love us and see the best in us. Let them in, they really will make you feel better.
14. Remind yourself that you are more than your pregnancy
You're still a good wife/friend/daughter/employee who has her own talents and skills – don't erase who you are just because you are pregnant.
15. Educate yourself about pregnancy and motherhood
The more you know about what's going to happen to your body and when, the more in control you will feel and the more confident you will be.
16. Be daring with your pregnancy wardrobe
The good news about having a pregnant bump is that you can get away with a lot during pregnancy, such as body-clinging tops (remember for once your body is firm not flabby). Experiment with styles, colours and clothes you'd usually avoid.
17. Resist the urge to wear your partner's clothes
You deserve to look great during your pregnancy, and wearing clothes not cut to flatter your sexy new figure won't give you the confidence you need.
18. Wear your bump with pride
Don't try to disguise it, cover it up or drape things over it. You're only going to be pregnant for nine months and will probably show for only six of those so make the most of it!
19. Don't compare bump sizes
It's the cardinal sin of pregnancy and one designed to either have you feeling smug or depressed.
20. Beware of the sun
Many women find that during pregnancy their skin is more sensitive and that they are much more susceptible to sunburn and excessive skin pigmentation. So use more sunscreen, cover up in direct sun and avoid the sun where possible.
To visit Anita Naik's website, click here.
If you enjoyed this extract from The Lazy Girl's Guide to a Blissful Pregnancy and are looking for more advice and guidance, why not try one of our other titles in this area? You can read more about them here.
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