Some women take to pregnancy like a duck to water- they enjoy every change, relish every moment and once it’s all over and their baby has arrived, they actually miss being pregnant. For many others, however, pregnancy isn’t all sunshine and roses- and that’s absolutely ok. As magical as it is, there are also tough times, and so be easy on yourself if you find you have a wobble every now and again. Keeping your confidence levels in check is important when you’re growing a tiny human, here are just a few ways you can go about it and embrace the experience as much as you can.
Your body changes significantly throughout pregnancy. Not only does your stomach grow to accommodate your growing baby but you’ll also start to store more fat which can cause you to look bigger and even change shape. If you’re someone that’s always stayed roughly the same size or goes to great lengths to maintain a certain weight, then these changes can cause some stress and worry- even though you know your body is doing what it should. The best thing that any pregnant woman can do is eat healthily and stay active, there are some exercises you shouldn’t do and you will have to scale back the intensity so it’s worth speaking to your doctor first so you know what’s safe. But generally, staying active with exercise such as walking, swimming and yoga are very safe, help you build up some much-needed strength for childbirth and keep your body toned and while burning off calories. When it comes to your diet, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, lean meat, some fish and complex carbs like brown pasta and rice. Don’t feel bad about indulging in a little of what you fancy now and again, but don’t use pregnancy as an excuse to overeat since the adage ‘eat for two’ has now been widely disproven. If you gain too much weight you might struggle to lose it once the baby has arrived, so be sensible and enjoy your food but make the best choices you can.
Depending on your shape and size and how quickly you begin to ‘show’, you might be able to get away with wearing your normal clothes well into pregnancy. However, there will come a time where you’re no longer able to button your jeans and everything you own will become tight and uncomfortable. Your maternity style might be different to clothes you’d normally wear, but bear in mind that you’ll want your outfits to be comfy and practical. When you have a big bump the last thing you want is to feel restricted in tight clothes, so embrace the maternity leggings and flowy jersey tops and dresses. Buy colors and styles that you like, but don’t worry if it’s not exactly the kind of thing you would have normally chosen. Embrace this chapter of your life when it comes to fashion and makes the most of it. In terms of shoes, go with footwear that’s supportive and has comfortable soles, brands like Skechers are good for this. Avoid heels, especially as you get bigger as not only are they uncomfortable but your center of gravity can change meaning it’s easier to fall and potentially injure yourself
Some women find that their hair is the best it’s ever been in pregnancy, but for others, it’s quite the opposite. Some old wives’ tales link this to the gender, the myth is that girls ‘steal your beauty’ and some weak evidence behind this is that your hormones tend to be higher when you’re carrying a girl and so you can feel more unwanted effects. However, in most cases, it’s just an individual thing. In pregnancy, you lose less hair meaning that it’s likely to look thicker, but the way it looks and feels will depend on luck of the draw. If yours feels dry, greasy, limp or lackluster, treat it to some pampering products or visit the salon. Many women can worry when it comes to going to the hairdresser during pregnancy but actually it’s perfectly safe. If you want to be extra careful, just wait until you’re out of the first trimester as any small risk of chemicals will be most dangerous during this phase. However numerous bodies of research and even the NHS state that hair coloring is safe in pregnancy so if you want to treat yourself then go ahead! If you usually have a high maintenance color or style, now could be a good time to start planning ahead. If you know you won’t be able to get your roots touched up every six weeks when your baby arrives for example, ask about different color techniques that will allow you to go longer between visits. Highlights and balayage, for example, will both grow out nicely without looking like obvious ‘roots’.
Due to the huge hormonal changes that happen in pregnancy, your skin can be one of the main areas affected on your body. From dryness, rashes, and irritation to stretch marks and itching, pregnancy isn’t often kind to the skin! If you already have issues like acne and rosacea, unfortunately, these can get worse too. Do some research into pregnancy safe skincare, any harsh products you had for existing skin conditions probably won’t be suitable now. Spend a few minutes morning and evening taking care of your skin, properly washing, applying oils and moisturizer and exfoliating as and when you need it. One symptom many women can get is what’s called the ‘mask of pregnancy’, this is where darker patches appear on the cheeks, chin, and forehead and can make the skin tone look very uneven. Thankfully there are lots of products on the market from foundations to BB creams that will even everything out and can give you that confidence boost you need. Apply a little mascara, blush, and lipstick too if you want to perk up your appearance and feel good about yourself, it only takes a few minutes and can make a big difference to the way that you feel.
Finally, confidence is all about your attitude. You look and feel different when you’re pregnant but embrace this ‘new you’ rather than grieving the loss of the old. Whenever you have doubts, remind yourself why you’re doing it and why every stretch mark and spot is worth it. Own your look, have fun and try to enjoy every minute! If you really can’t get on board with your changing shape, clothes, and appearance just remind yourself that it’s not forever. As much as you think you’re not enjoying it now, you might look back in years to come and wish you were more relaxed about the whole thing as in the grand scheme of things, it really didn’t matter what you wore or if your body shape looked different for a while.