Pregnancy and postnatal body image

20 Jun

If you are pregnant or have recently had a new baby, you will be more than aware of the pressure surrounding body image for women.  It seems like you can’t escape it!  Today’s post is for all mums who have ever struggled with this issue.

The pressure is on! The old adage of nine months up, nine months down seems to have disappeared and mums are meant to be back in their skinny jeans days after giving birth.  What is the rush?  Why are we so celebrity pregnancy obsessed and find it impossible not to scrutinize a pregnant woman’s body?  When did it become fair game to criticise and basically call a woman ‘fat’ just because she is carrying a baby?

The most recent celebrity to undergo daily body abuse is Kim Kardashian.  I for one, have absolutely no idea why she is even famous, but famous she is, and therefore so is her pregnant body! Every day there seemed to be a different scathing headline about how much weight she’d gained, how hideous and unflattering her wardrobe choices were, and how pregnancy didn’t suit her.  What ever happened to a pregnant woman being beautiful just by virtue of carrying a baby for 9 months?

kim kardashian pregnant

Now that she has had her baby, I am sure there will be pages and pages focussed on how long it takes her to get back to her pre-baby shape and size.  Will she struggle? Will she be seen in public before it happens?   What weight loss plan will she be on – will it be Weight Watchers, 5/2 diet, a celebrity trainer whipping her back into shape or a gruelling body boot camp?  How long will it take her?

All of this focus on body image surrounding pregnancy is unhelpful, unnecessary and detrimental.  New mums have enough pressure when they have a newborn baby (lack of sleep, new lifestyle and relationship adjustments come to mind), that worrying about their post pregnancy body shouldn’t be one of them!

We have some advice for mums who are concerned with losing their baby weight:

1. Don’t buy celebrity magazines during your maternity leave – they will leave you feeling depressed and inadequate.  You will never look like an airbrushed model, especially after giving birth, so don’t make yourself feel bad for no reason.

heidi klum pregnancy before and after2.Take your time! If you are breastfeeding, moderate exercise is okay but don’t overdo it.  Keep in mind you will not be sleeping once you have a newborn in the house, and your body won’t recover in the same way.  Go easy on yourself and wait until you’ve been given the okay by your GP.

3. Don’t try on your pre-pregnancy clothes until you are pretty sure you will fit into them.  This is a recipe for having a bad bad day, which can lead to scarfing down 10 biscuits in one sitting!

4. Eat energy rich foods that are not filled with sugar.  Avoid carbohydrate spikes and peaks by eating healthy foods that are low on the glycaemic index (more info here from Diabetes UK).  Boost energy levels with lean beef for iron absorption or start your day with a delicious berry rich smoothie!

5. Do NOT go on a diet, it is not advised when breastfeeding.  There are some good tips here from Kelly Mom that can help you lose weight safely and effectively.

6. Focus on your gorgeous baby for now and worry about your figure when the baby is a bit older.  You may be so busy running around after your baby, the weight might fall off!  Or join a buggy fit class so you can be with your baby whilst getting fit.

buggy fit classes

7. Be proud of your body-it’s been nurturing your baby for 9 months and it’s done an amazing job!

If you are pregnant, just done an antenatal class, or have just had a new baby in London, please fill in the form below to find out more about what we do at our mum and baby group in London.  Our courses give you all the information you will need as a new mum and are sociable so you can meet other new mums!





7 Responses to “Pregnancy and postnatal body image”

  1. Steph @ Sisterhood (and all that) May 4, 2014 at 7:28 am #

    Completely agree about NOT trying on clothes until you think they might fit – it’s too depressing and fact is, in those first weeks, it ain’t gonna happen!! Sound advice all round #Sharewithme

    • NurturingMums May 30, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

      Hi Steph thanks for your comment! We also suggest getting a pair of jeans in your ‘interim’ size that are NOT maternity just to feel good until you are back to pre-pregnancy weight.

  2. Jenny May 6, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

    So true, I had two babies back to back and it definitely takes time and not over doing it to get back to where I want to be. Great post and tips. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me.

    • NurturingMums May 30, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

      Hi Jenny, having two babies close together definitely puts getting back to yourself on hold for a bit. We agree, take your time and don’t overdo it!


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