Weird smells, sounds and STIs? She’s seen it all.
I was irritated at the lack of knowledge, and angry, because this shouldn’t have happened to me.
No, I wasn’t ‘too posh to push’.
For the most part, expectant mums absolutely love being pregnant. Health becomes a habit, senses are heightened and you gain that healthy glow about you as your skin and hair become stronger. That’s not to say you have your down moments where you feel unsure and worried about your appearance. Whilst pregnancy can be a unique confidence booster with body image improving, the changes your body experiences can be so rapid it can be easy for women to slip into an unconfident state.
It’s not unusual to need a little extra help in feeling beautiful as you start to feel these changes. Whether you need some pick-me-ups throughout your pregnancy or some help getting through the last few weeks, we check out some hot tips to get you loving your pregnant body.
1. Be daring with your wardrobe
Have a little fun with your new body and dare to be adventurous. Buy something fun and sparkly that may not be the most practical, but makes you feel a million bucks anyway. The great thing about having a pregnant bump is that you can get away with a lot so throw caution to the wind when it comes to picking new items for your wardrobe. Remember, your new body is firm not flabby so experiment with body-clingy tops, new styles and colours you’d normally avoid. You deserve the right to look great so look for clothes that flatter the sexy new figure and ooze confidence.
2. Indulge in a massage
Massage is the perfect way for mums-to-be to ease discomfort associated with the changes in your body during pregnancy and recoup. The most common types of massage for expectant mums include relaxation massage, eastern and western massage (this explains the difference between eastern and western massage well), tension relief massage, couples massage or customised pregnancy massage. Providing it is after the first trimester of pregnancy (after 3 months), massage provides physical and emotional benefits for pregnant women safely. It helps to increase your “feel good” hormones, improve sleep, aches and pains and lowers stress and anxiety that can be common for pregnant women.
3. Have a date night
Enjoying some one-on-one time with your partner is the perfect way to feel beautiful throughout your pregnancy. It also gives you some much needed space to appreciate the alone time with each other before the baby comes along! For many women, pregnant or not, nothing makes you feel more special and beautiful than having your partner’s undivided attention and escaping the day-to-day duties for a few hours. If you really need some pampering, use date night as the perfect excuse to get your hair done before or a manicure to make you feel extra special.
4. Eat and sleep well
A healthy diet and adequate time to rest is essential for the wellbeing of both you and your baby. Taking time out for yourself is important, so don’t feel guilty about it. If you’re feeling exhausted cut down on chores and ask for help – your body is working overtime to nourish your growing baby so you need all the rest you can get. Eating food rich with omega-3 fatty acids, minerals and vitamins will help to lift your mood and provide you and your baby with the essentials. If you’re craving snacks, stick to nuts and seeds which are filled with tryptophan – this raises the levels of melatonin and serotonin in your brain to boost your well-being and get you sleeping well.
5. Get a short workout in
Exercise is a great mood booster and is quite safe to do during pregnancy – as long as the activities aren’t too vigorous. If you’re feeling up to it a short, light workout at the gym can those endorphins kicking in leaving you to feel motivated and healthy. Ideally, swimming and yoga are the best forms of exercise whilst you’re pregnant as they help keep you toned without being too hard on your joints. The breathing and relaxation techniques through yoga are perfect for helping control anxiety and stress too. Finding time to exercise can be the perfect excuse to have some time out, or join up with your partner for motivation and stay fit and healthy together.
6. Talk about it
We all need a little reassurance at times and being pregnant through the whirlwind of emotions can definitely leave you feeling unattractive and deflated. No doubt you will have a list of worries of what to expect during the different stages of your pregnancy, and even more with parenting if it’s your first time. Discussing your concerns and having good support around you can be a real mood-booster so take advantage of this. Whether it is your partner, a group of friends or family, communicating your feelings can put things back into perspective for you. Joining a mums-to-be group can also be a great way to mix with people that are bound to have the same feelings as you whilst getting out and being social.
7. Wear your bump with pride
Especially when your bump first starts appearing, it can be difficult to embrace the changes your body is making. Some women are left feeling a little scared, self-conscious or unsure about their new appearance. Pregnancy though is a beautiful thing and being proud of your bump is fun, exciting and goes hand-in-hand with feeling amazing! Resist the urge to disguise it by draping clothes over it. You’re only going to pregnant for nine months so make the most of the moment.
It has been confirmed – taking up yoga during pregnancy can ease stress and reduce a woman’s fear of childbirth. So all those celebrity mums (like Gwyneth Paltrow and Sienna Miller) were right to continue their dogward dogs while carrying a bun in the oven. The research has showed that yoga can be attributed to cutting anxiety levels of mums-to-be by one third.
Yoga has been gaining popularity with pregnant women over several years and has been recommended by doctors and midwives, but now there is real evidence to back up the theory.
Manchester University researchers looked at two groups of women who were 22 weeks pregnant. Half of them did a weekly yoga class for two months and the other half attended antenatal classes. The yoga sessions were adapted for pregnancy. The group attending the yoga class felt the amount of anxiety was decreased by a third. And stress levels after the session were even lower than when relaxing at home, according to the study.
Professor John Aplin, who specialises in reproductive biomedicine, even suggested yoga could help women cope with the pain of childbirth and reduce the number of emergency C-sections.