I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t wait to start showing! I thought all of the bloated/fat feelings of the 1st trimester would go away and be replaced with the perfect round pregnant belly. Well, here I am, my weight gain has been completely appropriate and sure enough, my confidence is not soaring. Gotta love good ol’ genetics here. My lower back/sides have gained some surface area in addition to my belly. This has always been my trouble zone – it is the same spot that has always been the first place I gain weight and the last place I lose it. I’m sure every woman out there is gaining weight differently and dealing with newfound areas of their body to obsess about during this fun time. I was really hoping for a pass from all that during this beautiful and miraculous time of life. But, ah, the joys of pregnancy prevail. So, using my professional experience to trouble shoot, this is what I’ve done to help boost my confidence and keep my sexy during what I like to call, the expansion.
- Exercise: A “muffin top,” unfortunately, cannot be targeted. Fitness experts recommend overall weight loss to whittle down this body part. Well, that’s not an option. I might be a little insecure right now, but I never lose sight of how important my responsibility is to take care of this little man growing inside of me. He needs me to gain weight and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. So, I’ve found great comfort in knowing I can work on making my arms look great and focus my efforts on getting some lift in my butt as opposed to obsessing about the parts of my body that I don’t like so much right now. Walking also completely lifts my mood and boosts my body image. Plus the benefits of exercise for my baby and me during pregnancy are endless! Find a pregnancy appropriate workout and stick to it (doctor permitting)! You won’t believe how much better you’ll feel about yourself.
- Belly photos: Seeing the “right” spot gradually grow makes it all worth it. I love picturing our little guy getting bigger and healthier. If you’re not up for doing these bare belly, pick out an outfit you feel great in each week to snap the shot! (Note: I’m a HUGE fan of putting a belt on pretty much every shirt I own to avoid the tent look. It makes me feel just a little closer to cute pregnant belly!)
- Appropriate weight gain: As already mentioned, weight gain non-negotiable. BUT, excessive weight gain is not helpful to anyone. This is not a more-is-better type of situation! I love knowing that every pound I’ve gained is important. Doctors typically give a blanket statement about what your total weight gain range should be (for example 25-35 lbs if you started your pregnancy at a normal weight). Make sure you ask them what the actual rate of weight gain should be as well (or feel free to email me, I’d be happy to help you figure it out, all I would need is your pre-pregnancy weight, current weight, height and how far along you are!). Knowing your goal rate will allow you to keep an eye on your progress each week instead of heading to an appointment after 4 weeks of not seeing your doctor only to be told that you don’t have much more room to gain (which is a tough spot to be in because weight gain is expected to be more rapid in the third trimester!) Having a nutrition plan for pregnancy is very helpful if you’re struggling with appropriate weight gain. Ask your doctor for a referral to a dietitian or check out our nutrition services during pregnancy.
I read something the other day saying that for every woman complaining about her stretch marks, there is a woman wishing she had them. So, don’t lose sight of the big picture here. Regardless of how much weight you’ve gained, how gross you feel, how long it’s been since you’ve had sex with your partner, or whatever it is that’s making you feel less than appealing, please always remember that you’re one of the lucky ones! Your body is absolutely amazing --- just look what it can do!