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Pregnancy and self-esteem

Pregnancy brings huge changes to a woman’s body. It brings hormonal changes, and some of them very obvious, ones since the body changes in a spectacular way.

Usually, these hormonal changes improve the mood of the pregnant.

Thus, a woman who accepts her body and her femininity will love her “new” body and feel proud about it.

On the other hand, a woman with low self-esteem and poor body image, during the time of pregnancy will perceive the changes in her body as synonymous of obesity and will not feel comfortable in it.

Changes in the body become more and more profound as months go by. Her clothes do not fit anymore and the woman needs larger sizes or special cloths for pregnant women.

If she has a negative image of her new body, the pregnant woman may feel shame and may refuse to appear naked, for example on the beach or in front of her partner.

However, for most women the new body is often synonymous with the “complete” body. The existence of the amniotic sac and the growing baby inside her provides a feeling of completion. It becomes such a great source of joy, that for some women, the experience of the baby’s birth and the separation of their bodies is perceived as a loss. Depending on how the psyche and self-esteem of women is structured, this loss can be either replaced successfully by the joy of contact with the baby, or it can lead to postnatal depression.

A pregnant woman, just like a teenage girl, can spend many hours in front of the mirror observing changes in her body. Her new breasts, that grow bigger during pregnancy, may seem particularly attractive, especially to a woman who appreciates her body.

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Reconciliation with our nature protects our body image after pregnancy and indicates a good self-esteem.

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On the other hand, she may face new anxieties on how her body will return to its previous state. These concerns are not insubstantial, as indeed the body may become floppy during the early days after giving birth and it needs a special care.

Thus, a woman who feels good with what happens and takes care of herself, will take proper precautions to maintain her body firm to the extent possible, using moisturizing products.

During pregnancy, due to hormonal disorders and lack of exercise, a woman’s weight can escape the normal range. So she must be careful, and try to eat properly, avoiding food habits that could harm her body’s image and health, as well as that of the baby’s, since a high weight increase is connected to diabetes.

On the other hand, a woman during pregnancy has to abandon chemical beauty products such as hair dyes, nail polish, etc. Some women, who invest a lot in such beauty products, may face the idea that they can be no longer attractive. However, it is important she consults her gynaecologist before using such products, in order to safeguard the health of the fetus.

The “new” body of a pregnant woman does not “belong” only to her. Gradually, she becomes more responsible in order to take good care for her health, particularly after she starts to feel the baby’s movements.

Thus, for many women pregnancy can increase the feeling of self-esteem. Their body acquires a new meaning, a new “completion” coming with motherhood.

Breastfeeding is also an issue that affects the woman’s self-esteem and the image she has for her body. There are many women who believe that such a practice destroys their sexual identity. They feel awkward as the say and often refrain from breastfeeding, losing the unique opportunity to live this new experience with their baby.

Contrary, a woman with high self-esteem rejoices breastfeeding. All gynaecologists insist that breastfeeding protects the breasts from a sudden loss of volume and keeps them vibrant.

In conclusion, reconciliation with our nature protects our body image after pregnancy and indicates a good self-esteem.



In collaboration with Dr Olga. E. Bikou, Obstetrician-Surgeon-Gynaecologist

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