by Patricia Hughes
Negative body image is a problem for many women. In some cases, the problem only gets worse in pregnancy. Society offers the image of the emaciated supermodel as the ideal. This is not realistic at any time of life, especially during pregnancy. Some women love their curves during pregnancy, but others hate it.
Your feelings about your body may change many times during your pregnancy. These highs and lows are typical and nothing to worry about. However, if you feel depressed frequently or find yourself skipping meals or trying to lose weight, this is not healthy. Talk to your doctor right away. He or she may be able to refer you to a counselor with experience in this area.
Tips for Increasing Self Esteem
Eat a Healthy Diet: Focus on health, rather than size during this important time in your life. Remember that you are nourishing your baby with every bite you take. Choose healthy foods for meals and snacks. When you are caring for your body, you naturally feel better about it. This increases your self image.
Focus on the Miracle Within: There is a great reason for the weight you are gaining, your baby. These nine months are a miraculous and amazing time of your life. Each day, your [tag-ice]baby[/tag-ice] is growing and developing. Read about the changes in your baby, each week or each month, to help you focus on the positive changes.
Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins in the blood. These are responsible for the natural “high” people feel when they work out. In most cases, exercise is completely safe during [tag-cat]pregnancy[/tag-cat]. Before starting any exercise routine, talk to your doctor. Choose something you enjoy, so you will be more motivated to get moving. Some great choices are walking, swimming or prenatal exercise classes.
Do Something Relaxing: Spend some time doing something that you find relaxing. Some great stress relievers include mediation, yoga, creative visualization and breathing exercises. Practice one of these every day to keep you in a good state of mind. If you are taking a prepared [tag-tec]childbirth[/tag-tec] class, you may be learning relaxation and breathing exercises. Practicing these with soft music in the background is a great way to relax and helps you prepare for the birth of your baby.
For the occasional stress relief, spend some time pampering yourself. Go to the spa for one treatment or for the day. Prenatal massage is great for relieving stress and beauty treatments make you feel beautiful. Get a new hair cut or a manicure, if that helps you feel pretty. Go shopping with a friend and buy a new outfit.
Talk to Someone: Sometimes talking about your feelings is enough to make you feel better. Find a family member or close friend to confide in about your negative body image. Choose the person with whom you speak very carefully. Ideally, you want an upbeat and happy person. Stay away from anyone who may reinforce your negative body image or anyone who is obsessed with weight. This person may inadvertently make you feel worse about yourself.
If your negative feelings are extreme or you don’t have anyone you feel comfortable confiding in, consider a few sessions with a professional counselor. A counselor can help you work through your feelings and toward a more positive body image. The time and money you spend in counseling will pay large dividends when you gradually start looking at your pregnant body for what it is, evidence of the miracle of life growing within your body.
Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.
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