Body Changing? How to Feel Your Best Through Pregnancy & Motherhood
Embarking on the journey of motherhood involves navigating significant body changes during pregnancy, from size, shape, and strength. The shifting of weight, swelling, and stretch marks can profoundly impact an expecting mother's self-perception and confidence.
The first thing you may notice, before many other physical changes start showing, is what happens to your mood and energy levels. The hormonal rush that happens in early pregnancy can be pretty overwhelming, and if you don’t know you are pregnant, it can make things seem intense. Below is a brief overall of the main hormones present during your pregnancy.
HCG - which is highly present in the first trimester and quite often causes the dreaded morning sickness.
HPL - helps to stimulate the growth of your milk glands in preparation for breastfeeding and is responsible for the increase in potential cup increase.
Estrogen – Helping support your placenta during pregnancy.
Progesterone – key in loosening your joints to accommodate your growing baby and prep for birth.
1-3 months or under 12 weeks
Rest: you may feel more sluggish than normal, so give yourself permission to rest, short naps and early nights are called for in this trimester knowing your energy generally returns in the second trimester. Your body changes during pregnancy and needs time and rest to thrive.
Nurture and hydrate: Food cravings while pregnant are normal, however, be aware not to overdo high-sugar and high-fat foods. A balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is recommended, and often you will need to take folic acid or multivitamins. Seek professional medical advice as soon as you realise you are pregnant. Keep a water bottle handy and hydrate often, it is easier to become dehydrated during pregnancy due to morning sickness, peeing more often, and how much fluid your body needs to develop the amniotic sac that protects your growing baby. If you are concerned at any point during your pregnancy, get professional medical advice from a dietitian or your healthcare provider.
Move: While your energy levels are low, now is the time to look at gentler forms of exercise to help you feel your best through pregnancy and motherhood. Walking and prenatal yoga are excellent low-impact options, Hotmilk Activewear range will support you to get moving. Fresh air and movement often help combat the fatigue feeling that comes with the first trimester, but as with everything in pregnancy, moderation and listening to your body and health care professional is key. Body changes during pregnancy impact your ability to feel your best and is an ever-changing journey.
Document the Journey: While it is common to wait till the 12-week mark to share the news with your wider support network, now is a great time to express your thoughts, feelings, hopes, and fears. Documenting the emotional and physical changes you are experiencing can help with any stress or anxiety you may feel, A pregnancy journal can often be wonderful to look back on years later when the pregnancy journey seems like such a distant blur.
3-6 Months or 12- 24 weeks
Build a community: Now is the perfect time to reach out to connect with fellow expecting mums in your area or join online mum groups. Having a great supportive network can be a game-changer. Find a support network that can empathise with your experiences, from physical changes to emotional challenges. Share experiences, seek advice, read baby books, and find comfort in knowing you're not the only one going through this crazy life stage.
Fit for purpose: Your body changes during pregnancy will require a new wardrobe. Feeling comfortable and supported is key to a confident expecting mum whose body is changing with pregnancy. Changes to your breasts and body make this the perfect time to invest in quality maternity lingerie, Hotmilk Lingerie comforts and supports your changing body with recommended styles for pregnancy. Who doesn’t feel great when looking their best, it doesn’t mean dressing to the 9’s every day, but flattering and comfortable maternity clothes can help you feel your best through pregnancy and motherhood. Invest in a couple of versatile maternity dresses that can be dressed up or down for the occasion using existing jackets and coats.
Massage: Pregnancy massage can be wonderful, helping to relieve stress, loosen tight muscles, and reduce swelling. Always choose a qualified therapist and consult with your healthcare provider first.
6-9 Months or 24 -40 weeks
Capture: The third trimester is often the most beautiful time to capture on film your transformed pregnancy body, reflecting its amazing ability to grow new life. This time flies by and to be able to look back in years to come at this significant moment when you entered motherhood can be emotional and inspiring. You may not completely love your changed body shape, but how beautiful is the journey of creating your baby? Like most things, it's when time has passed that you appreciate it the most.
Nest: They call it nesting, prepping and preparing your home early in the third trimester is almost a mental preparation for the new life you are about to start. Make sure to engage your support network, family, and partner for those more physical nesting jobs. While traditionally some women have baby showers there is a new trend emerging called a Nesting Party. Your loved ones gather to support you by tackling jobs you need to be done before the baby arrives, all while spending important time together. Practical and perhaps more needed than another cute baby gift. Now is the perfect time to pack your Hospital Bag, including your Hotmilk Nursing bras.
Swim: Spend time in the water, whether it’s the local lake or swimming pool. Water is soothing and being surrounded by water can help alleviate some of the pressure of your body from pregnancy. The weightlessness will help relieve aches and pains and potentially improve your sleep. Gentle movement, walking, or even swimming is an excellent way to keep active without adding more stress to your changing body, helping you feel your best during pregnancy and motherhood.
Sleep: As your body changes during pregnancy, you may find sleeping with a pregnancy pillow helps with relieving pressure on your hips and gives you a better night's sleep. Even if you are struggling to sleep, take any opportunity to rest with your feet up as it helps relieve swollen ankles and tired legs.
Antenatal classes – Helping build a community of other expecting mothers around you, antennal classes unravel the often scary and unknown world of childbirth and the early days of motherhood. A safe place to answer all your questions and share experiences with other expecting parents.
0-12 weeks after birth
Fresh Air: Gentle walking in the first weeks, will help with circulation and gaining back body strength after birth. Each day can feel like a blur so commit to getting out of the house every day even if it's only for 15 mins. Drink in the change of scenery. On a rainy day, even a walk around the mall counts as movement!
Lists: Make a list of ways visitors can help, often the focus is meeting the new baby but a new mum's needs can get overlooked. Your support network is there for you, so be vocal about how they can practically help when they visit.
Reconnect: Your body changes during pregnancy and so does your life, take the time to reconnect emotionally with yourself. Small times away shopping alone or going for a walk without the baby will help remind you of your personal needs outside of being a mum.
"REMEMBER, THIS IS YOUR PREGNANCY JOURNEY!" Each pregnancy experience is unique, showcasing the diversity of women entering motherhood. Embrace this individuality, celebrating and cherishing the changes accompanying each distinctive pregnancy journey. There's no universal standard; some women may radiate with vitality, while others may grapple with fatigue. The key is to embrace your evolving role as a mum and revel in the beautiful transformation. Acknowledge your body's remarkable ability to create and nurture life – a truly extraordinary achievement.