Sure, you're gaining pregnancy weight, but that's not a bad thing. "In our culture, there's so much focus on baby weight gain and post-baby weight loss that we tend to lose sight of the fact that our bodies are working some serious magic to grow the actual baby," says Claire Mysko, a body image expert and the co-author of Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat? The Essential Guide to Loving Your Body Before and After Baby.
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women with a normal body mass index (BMI) before pregnancy should gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy. If you're over or underweight, it's important to talk to your doctor or midwife about a healthy pregnancy weight range for you.
"Try to appreciate your body for what it's doing instead of stressing over every pound gained," Mysko explains. "But if poor body image is getting you down, it's important to know that you're not alone. So many women struggle in silence because they are afraid of being seen as selfish or vain for worrying about their weight during pregnancy. Talk to your prenatal and postpartum healthcare providers if you have a history of poor body image and/or disordered eating. Ask for their support in keeping your focus on your health and your baby's health, not your weight."
Mysko's advice for partners? "Tell your partner she's sexy. If the physical stresses of pregnancy start to mean that she's not always in the mood for sex, find other ways to show her physical affection. Back rubs and foot rubs are almost always appreciated," she says. "Another way partners can be helpful is by running interference with friends and relatives who make obnoxious comments -- like 'are you sure there aren't twins in there?'-- make sure your wife or partner knows you always have her back."
Mysko says, "Tune out the tabloid media static about stars and their bikini-clad 'post-baby bodies.' These stories prey on our insecurities in order to sell us on this designer diet or that celebrity trainer's new fitness plan. Instead, we should be working on developing healthy attitudes about food and weight so we can pass those on to our children." Mysko recommends moms-to-be take a healthy beauty pledge and learn to love their bodies during pregnancy and beyond.
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