Of all the ups and downs pregnancy puts a woman through (hormonal acne, swollen ankles, a thicker mane), weight gain can be the toughest pill to swallow. Unlike the majority of other pregnancy symptoms, packing on some extra pounds is the one thing every single expectant mom is supposed to go through. But that doesn't make it any easier on our self esteem.
The American College of Gynecology and Obstetrics recommends that the average mother-to-be gain anywhere from 25-35 pounds by delivery day. Broken out over the course of your pregnancy, that means 2-4 pounds during the first trimester and 1 pound a day from there on out. But where is this extra weight going? To support growing baby, of course. From increased blood volume to a larger uterus and amniotic fluid, each system your baby needs to develop and thrive adds to the extra pounds you'll need to gain. And then there's baby itself, weighing an average of 8 pounds.
For many moms-to-be, watching the numbers on the scale rise with each appointment can be tough on their confidence and body image. When you're caught in a spiral of body-shaming, practice these three tips to feel better faster:
Expand your wardrobe
We know: Maternity clothes are a bad investment. You wear them for only four or five months of your life, and then when baby arrives, you're so sick of them you want to burn them. But indulging in a few quality pieces can make you feel polished, stylish and confident. For a budget-friendly shopping spree, research maternity resale shops in your area. You'll find gently used items that will perk up your wardrobe without breaking the bank.
The idea of exercising during pregnancy is not to lose weight. Your body needs those additional pounds to support your growing baby. Moderate and gentle exercise, as approved of by your doctor or midwife, is two-fold: It will help build your stamina for labor – and the boost of endorphins it brings will have you feeling happier and healthier in no time.
On those days you catch yourself feeling down about your changing body, take a step back and shift your focus. Remind yourself that the human body is remarkable in its ability to grow and sustain another life. Focus on the wisdom of your body to do its thing – to grow and change to support and protect your little one. Just by changing your frame of mind, we bet you'll notice you feel stronger and more empowered.
What do you do when you need a confidence boost? Share your tips and tricks with other readers in the comment below.