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Pregnancy and body image: Staying on the right track

 Most women feel very vulnerable to negative self-talk during pregnancy (Photo: Courtesy)

Pregnancy brings body changes that may feel uncomfortable to deal with. Hormonal changes and weight gain cause enlargement of breasts and middle body to accommodate the growing fetus and prepare for breastfeeding.

Women also gain stretch marks and some develop acne, stretch marks and darkening of the skin. This is the time that most women feel quite vulnerable to negative self-talk. The only change that is usually celebrated is the pregnancy glow.

Even after giving birth, it may take some time for your body to bounce back. In most cases it does not completely return to its pre-baby state. Despite these changes being purely natural, some women find it hard to come to terms with the body changes during pregnancy and after.

Plus, there is social media pressure to have the “perfect” body, watch your weight or bounce back in the shortest amount of time.

No matter how bold the body changes seem to appear, shift your focus from a negative body image to appreciating what role your body is taking for the baby’s development. Body changes are necessary to support a healthy pregnancy.

Make the most out of these nine months by engaging in stuff that make you feel pampered and healthy. Go for a wardrobe makeover, do not force yourself into clothes that will feel too small for you.

Take a walk, and seek mental health support if you feel you need to. Bond with your partner better.

Nesting — the urge to get everything in order before the baby comes can be stressful, think of such preparations as a way to reduce the mental and physical load when the baby arrives.

We are encouraged not to restrict food intake during pregnancy, but it is also wise not to overindulge in unhealthy cravings. You will be at risk of gestational diabetes.

To maintain a healthy pregnancy, stay active unless you are on bed rest. Take care of your skin. Exercise, it will help promote endurance and muscle tone and make bouncing back much easier and shorter.

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