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How pregnancy can affect body image

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For some women, body image is a huge concern, especially during pregnancy.

Some women welcome their pregnant bodies, while others are in complete shock over the different changes. Naturally, your body is going to be different than it was before you were pregnant. Hormone fluctuations will cause your uterus to expand, your breasts to grow, your feet to enlarge, and your skin to break out. You may suffer increased fatigue and incredible food cravings. Let's not even mention varicose veins and mood swings!

Loving your body before pregnancy can help you get through the physical and emotional changes during pregnancy. Changing your body image while you are pregnant is a pretty tough thing to do, especially if it was already low to begin with. Here are some ideas to try and help you love and accept your pregnant body:

- Concentrate on your baby. Your body is changing in order to help your baby grow and develop. It is a natural process.

- Express your feelings. Talk with your partner, family, or friends about how you are feeling. Keeping your feelings bottled up will only make you feel worse.

-Try to get out for some enjoyable exercise. A light swim or walk can help you clear your mind and get the focus off your body.

- Take up prenatal yoga. Yoga focuses not on how your body looks, but on the link between your body and your mind.

- Practice self-massage. Touching your own body will help you to become more familiar and accepting of it.

- Learn as much as you can about pregnancy. By educating yourself, you will know what to expect and feel more in control.

- If you are really having serious issues, seek out mental health counseling.

More resources on body image

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.