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Coping with Body Dysmorphia & Pregnancy

Coping with Body Dysmorphia & Pregnancy

Coping With Body Dysmorphia & Pregnancy 

It’s normal for a person, especially a woman undergoing dramatic changes in their body from pregnancy, to feel the weight of their perceived flaws in their appearance. Society says to fix or cover our flaws when really, we should embrace and appreciate them. If you are constantly concerned about how you look, are frequently staring at your body in the mirror, or are trying to hide your body with extra articles of clothing, you may face mental pressure. Coping with body dysmorphia and pregnancy takes time and effort, but there are numerous ways to boost your confidence and feel excited for the baby on the way.  

How to Cope With Body Issues During Pregnancy 

Although there is pressure from society to appear to a certain beauty standard, due to social media, it’s difficult for pregnant women to be constantly reminded that their body is changing. On social platforms like Instagram and TikTok, there are many women influencers who will show off their baby bump, fashionable clothes, and how they quickly bounced back after giving birth. Most of these impressions of pregnancy are unrealistic and only give a glimpse of another person’s life.  

Body image is what you make it. Why is that? Because it’s your body, and it’s meant to be taken care of and loved by you, not society. However, in the case where a woman can’t stand the look of her body, and all she sees is a “fat pregnant belly,” then it’s essential to identify each negative thought and emotion. First, stop comparing yourself to influencers and find out what you can do to help improve your thoughts and stress toward the situation.  

You may realize that you are having a difficult time controlling food intake or are unable to motivate yourself to leave the house and move your body. Talking to friends and family about these emotions, like during a family therapy program, can help since people can inspire and push you to be a more confident version of yourself.  

Coping with body dysmorphia during pregnancy means getting out of your comfort zone. You may not love your body right away, but it’s essential to accept it. Your body is preparing a human being and getting ready to give birth. Of course, there may be some fear and dramatic changes in hormones because of this, but it’s a natural process.  

Staying active is beneficial for pregnancy. If you are not a gym person, then try yoga, long walks, hula hooping, tennis, or other fun activities. Sustaining hormonal balance is also important for a healthy pregnancy, otherwise mood swings and depressive episodes could occur. For these reasons, we recommend you engage in some form of physical activity a few times a week. 

Of course, think positively. This may be easier said than done, but with practice and patience, you will forget to bother to look in the mirror before you leave the house. Avoid guilt and comparing yourself to others. Instead, pamper yourself and connect with others who may be feeling the same way.  

How to Cope With Body Dysmorphia After Pregnancy 

Postpartum body dysmorphia seems unrealistic and unhealthy when compared to influencers or other women who quickly recover after giving birth. Instead, focus and appreciate what your body has done and is doing for you and your baby. You birthed a little human. How cool is that! 

Also, don’t rush things like trying on clothes you wore before you were pregnant. Your hips might be permanently wider than before due to childbirth. Be sure to give yourself time by setting goals and implementing or continuing a healthy diet and lifestyle. Oh yeah. Don’t forget to get rid of that scale! Listen and trust your body during the process after birth.  

How to Help Someone With Body Dysmorphia 

If your spouse, friend, or family member is struggling to cope with body dysmorphia, then there are ways to make them feel heard and comfortable. It’s vital to listen without judgment and let them know that they are not alone. Here are some other helpful tips:  

  • Educate yourself 
  • Acknowledge small wins 
  • Validate, but don’t reassure 
  • Provide a safe space for expression  
  • Share what you like about the person 
  • Offer to help them establish a goal or action plan  

Women may not love their bodies during or after pregnancy, so it’s essential to stay positive and show love and support. After pregnancy, if the woman is unable to get back to a schedule, lacks the desire to be with the baby, lacks the desire to be social, or avoids responsibilities, then professional care and treatment for body dysmorphia is highly recommended.  

It is okay to normalize not liking your body, at times, during pregnancy.  Society can expect us to love the baby bump, but the body goes through a lot of other changes that are uncomfortable and can take time to accept. 

Recovery at the Philadelphia Eating Disorder Clinic 

It’s not unusual for women to turn to alcohol or other drugs after pregnancy due to dealing with depression and being unsatisfied with their bodies. The disorder can cause a person to be socially isolated, skin pick, or establish compulsive obsessive behaviors. At Banyan Philadelphia, we offer eating disorder programs, CBT therapy, and much more. Our experienced clinical staff works hard to prepare a safe and secure atmosphere for expression and recovery. If a loved one is in denial or refusing treatment, consider staging an intervention and working with professionals.  


Speak to a specialist at Banyan Treatment Centers Philadelphia by calling 888-280-4763 and get started on the journey to recovery today! 


Related Readings:  

Single Mothers and Addiction 

Diet Culture and Eating Disorders 

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.