Body image is often a
major concern for women, and during pregnancy this can become even more
After spending a lifetime
trying to keep the numbers on the scale down, sometimes making peace with new higher
numbers and new curves can be a challenge. NBC29 spoke with some experts about
how to handle these natural changes.
It's hard to escape the
way women are scrutinized for their size, even when their bodies are doing a
very specific and important job - supporting a growing baby.
"It's kind of sad to me to
think you know here is this beautiful natural process, and we're imposing all
of this judgment and sort of making these demands that are sort of unrealistic,"
said Kate Bruno, a registered dietician and eating disorder expert.
Bruno says it's not
unusual when body image problems persist during pregnancy.
"A lot of times, women who
struggle with their body image at any time including during pregnancy, feel
like they need to control their body, or change their body to feel better about
it, but the truth is, you really need to change the way you think about it,"
Simply changing a mindset
is tough, especially for women who have struggled to get the numbers on the
scale to go down. Gaining is part of the natural process of pregnancy but
stressing about the changes isn't doing you or your growing baby any good.
"I think if you've
struggled with it your whole life, it actually makes sense to prioritize
getting some help with it, especially during pregnancy for a couple reasons,
one is the stress that your experience actually has some pretty negative implications
on your growing baby," Bruno said.
Dana Holler is the founder
of the Image Coach of Charlottesville. She says improving that mindset could
come down to taking care of yourself both emotionally and physically.
"It's important to look
and feel your best, and just because your body is going through changes,
doesn't mean that you don't deserve some sort of pampering," Holler said.
And Holler's main
maternity rule for looking and feeling your best? Find clothes that fit.
"Many women try to fit
into their normal clothes, or normal clothes in larger sizes, and that doesn't
really work. Especially in the third trimester you really need to shop for
maternity clothes because they are just tailored differently than normal
clothes, so you'll have plenty of room for your bump and still look great,"
Both women agree: it's
normal to be frustrated about your changing body and growing waistline. Whether
you turn to a family member, friend or professional, it's always OK to ask for
And always remember: if
body image issues are putting the health of your baby in danger get help
immediately. Deliberate calorie restrictions, purging, or over-exercising to
avoid weight gain are some examples of behaviors that could lead to major
problems for both mom and baby.