On Thanksgiving, when it's natural to overeat (and eat and eat!), it seems only fitting to talk about wanting to look slimmer. I get it—pregnancy and ill-fitting maternity clothes can cause your self-esteem to take a major nosedive. Your butt is bigger than it's ever been (and not in a good Kim Kardashian sort of way), your thighs are jigglier than Grandma's Jell-O Surprise, and stretch marks are starting to pop up in places you never even imagined possible. What to do? Many women are turning to pregnancy shapewear to smooth, enhance and reshape their bodies to give them sexy hourglass figures (with a bump, of course).
But a piece in the Daily Mail has me questioning just how safe control underwear can be. While OB-GYN Dr. Mike Bowen says the nylon and Lycra shapers would likely have no effect on your unborn little one since he or she is "safely cocooned in your womb," other experts brought up good points I never would have thought of: like how you could be constricting the blood flow to your baby, according to National Childbirth Trust adviser Elizabeth Duff, which can of course be dangerous because babies depend on their mom's blood flow to bring oxygen to them.
If you've ever worn Spanx (and I will admit I have, and that I hated every single second of it), you know what a pain they are to get on and off. Well, that annoyance—according to Gail Johnson, a midwife and education advisor at England's Royal College of Midwives—could deter you from going to the bathroom when you need to, which in turn could cause painful Urinary Tract Infections (something pregnant women are already prone to).
And like the old adage says, "Use it or lose it," the built-in support from the shapers, when worn daily, can actually weaken muscles in the stomach and lower back, says London-based physiotheropist Sammy Margo, causing injuries to you once the baby is born and you're constantly having to pick up your bundle of joy.
My few experiences with body shapers were miserable enough for me to never go back to them—and that was when I wasn't pregnant. I can't even imagine trying to hold it all in when your body is naturally trying to spread out and make room for your growing baby. I know the cliché is, "no pain, no gain," but I'd take my comfy Adidas sweatpants over a tight-fitting body shaper any day! It's important to feel beautiful, especially when you're pregnant, but like my latest pregnancy muse, Drew Barrymore, said, "You're not supposed to look perfect while you're making babies—making babies is the perfection." Wiser words were never spoken! Embrace those newfound curves, ladies. Don't hide them!
Image of pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.