As the ultimate do-it-yourself project, pregnancy can be a unique confidence builder. Some women find their body image actually improves with pregnancy, says Mae Shoemaker, past president of the International Childbirth Education Association. Women with low-risk pregnancies, she says, "realize that they're still capable of doing lots of activities, even with the extra stress on their body."
Childbirth has been compared to marathon running, for good reason. Some studies suggest that women gain a newfound sense of their own strength after going through labor and delivery. At minimum, pregnancy and childbirth can change your perspective for the better. They force you to be more aware of the big picture. When you're living with the knowledge that your body is creating a whole new person and delivering him or her into the world, you're less likely to sweat the minor details.
Sarah McCraw Crow is a mother and writer who lives in Concord, New Hampshire.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, May 2004.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your won health or the health of others.