How to love your pregnant body

Ways to embrace your expanding waistline, stretch marks, and all.

How to love your pregnant body



Sure, you expected the baby bump, but what’s with that other stuff happening to your once-hot bod? Don’t sweat it, we show you how to love the way you look.

Skin

If, rather than that fabled pregnancy glow everyone raves about, you’re breaking out like a teenager, remember that it’s just a phase. Extra hormones can make skin go haywire. And, while your complexion might be oily, you may be struggling with dry patches elsewhere.
Show the love Keep your skin as clean as possible, and cleanse with a gentle, oil-free cleanser or pH-balanced soap. Many over-the-counter spot treatments aren’t suitable in pregnancy, so ask your GP. For dry patches, use a natural face oil, such as Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil.

Mouth

Don’t panic if your gums bleed more than usual due to hormonal changes. Your teeth also become weaker as a result of your growing baby’s calcium needs. See your dentist regularly and protect your teeth by brushing as usual, but the secret is to wait an hour after eating, so any enamel weakened by food or drink isn’t brushed away.
Show the love Switch to a soft-bristled or electric toothbrush as these put less pressure on sensitive gums. If you experience a metallic taste in your mouth due to changes in your sense of taste, chew sugar-free gum or neutralise it by rinsing with an alcohol-free fluoride mouthwash.

Boobs

Well, hello, girls! From around 12 weeks, your breasts begin to fill out. Your nipples will get darker and might start to leak colostrum once you’re into your second trimester. Your breasts will also release a unique scent, which your baby will recognise and root for after birth.
Show the love Get yourself measured regularly for non-wired maternity bras throughout pregnancy. Wearing a crop top in bed may stop your breasts feeling sore, too. If you’re leaking, avoid staining clothes by placing breast pads in your bra. To repair skin weakened by breastfeeding, the Mustela Bust Firming Serum ($38/75ml) should help give you a boob "lift". Available at leading pharmacies and baby specialty stores.

Bump

You’ll probably notice stretch marks appearing on your tummy — lines on your stomach caused by your skin stretching too rapidly from growing a baby in there. Also, get ready for that thin, dark line, called the linea nigra, running from your tummy to your pubic area — caused by an increase in the skin pigment melanin. It’s completely harmless and should fade within weeks after birth. Your tummy may also start to itch because the skin is stretching. However, see your GP if your bump constantly itches and you experience itchy hands and feet, as it can be a symptom of obstetric cholestasis, a potentially dangerous liver problem.
Show the love For mums-in-waiting and new mothers who want firm, well-toned skin, check out the new Mustela Maternité skincare range of seven hypo-allergenic products. Stave off pregnancy stretch marks with Stretch Marks Prevention Cream ($49.50/150ml) - featuring avocado peptides, the rich easily absorbed treatment adds suppleness to skin. Available at leading pharmacies and baby specialty stores.
On top of that, mums should fill up on foods rich in vitamin B6, such as sunflower seeds and salmon. These boost collagen production in the skin, which will help keep it supple.

Bottom

Moaning about more junk in your trunk? It’s nature’s way of making sure you have enough energy for those draining first weeks as a mum. Don’t worry, it should shrink back down after birth as long as your weight doesn’t increase too dramatically during your pregnancy.
Show the love Work that bigger booty and embrace your curves since you shouldn’t diet in pregnancy. If cellulite is making your bum look more dimpled, use a dry body brush to exfoliate, before applying Stratamark.

Back

During pregnancy, a hormone called relaxin is released to loosen your joints and ligaments, so your body can accommodate your growing baby. Add in the weight of your bump pulling you forward and you could easily end up with backache.
Show the love If you have backache, you can take the odd dose of paracetamol, but avoid ibuprofen and Naproxen, which might cause a miscarriage. Use a cold pack if you need longer-term pain relief. Straighten your posture and strengthen the muscles in your back with swimming, yoga and pelvic-floor exercises. Wearing a bump-support band may help redistribute the weight. But watch out for backache that’s accompanied by cramps at regular interval closer to your due date as it could be a very early labour sign.

Legs

Is your night-time kicking upsetting the hubs? It could be restless-legs syndrome (RLS) that’s likely to be caused by an iron deficiency. If your legs are itchy, it could be your hormones — progesterone dilates blood vessels, which can cause prickly heat. Watch out for varicose veins, too. because extra blood causes the veins to swell and bulge out.
Show the love Increase your intake of leafy veg and red meat will boost your iron levels and try stretching out your calves if RLS bothers you at night. Ask your doctor about trying supplements such as iron, magnesium, vitamin B12 or folate. Other leg-relaxation methods include warm baths and getting your significant other to massage your legs before you fall asleep.

Feet

Relaxin can also cause ligaments in your feet to soften in pregnancy, leaving you more prone to sprains. It’s also common for your feet to grow, as the bones and ligaments spread out and they may never return to their original size again. Up to 80 per cent of women also get swollen feet and ankles, caused by excess blood and fluid pooling in their lower legs.
Show the love Wear supportive footwear or choose heels that are 3cm or lower, as you’ll be off balance if they are any higher. To ease swollen ankles, raise your feet by around 15cm to 30cm — prop them up on box files under your desk. Drink plenty of water, too, as this helps stop fluid retention.

Photos: INGimage/ClickPhotos

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