They say pregnancy is the ultimate sacrifice, and how true it is. There's no denying that those nine long months yield the best reward of a lifetime-your precious bundle of joy-but, in exchange, you may feel like you're giving up your physique, your sexiness and even your self-identity. But being mindful throughout the experience, and doing a few simple things like pampering yourself or wearing maternity shapewear will help ensure that you feel sexy even as you approach your due date.
Sexiness Is a State of MindAs we cover below, there are tons of superficial things you can do to make yourself feel sexy while pregnant, and that's important because there is an undeniable psychological link between how you look and how you feel. In fact, studies show that what you wear and how you care for your skin and hair can greatly affect your mood. Your physical appearance can make you feel more powerful, less apathetic and more focused, which can help you enjoy your pregnancy more and stay healthy for those crucial nine months. With that being said, while it is indeed helpful to spend time focusing on how you look, it's also useful to look inward to keep yourself feeling sexy and empowered as you go through one of the most amazing periods of your life. It helps to remember:
- Pregnancy is powerful. It sounds cliché, but your body really is pretty incredible for being able to, you know, make a human, so try to tap into that empowerment and let it make you feel sexy. And just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you should stop doing things you love. (Remember when Serena Williams won the Australian Open while pregnant?)
- Pregnancy is temporary. Sure, you may never have your pre-baby body back, but trust us, you will feel like yourself again soon. Keep in mind that your pregnancy will fly by and, when it's over, you'll be so (happily) focused on your new addition that you won't even realize how quickly you snapped back.
- Pregnancy requires positivity. With the weight gain, stretch marks and general feeling of blah, it may feel like pregnancy isn't worth it. Try to adopt a positive attitude and see the bright side every day you're pregnant.
- Pregnancy can be isolating. If possible, surround yourself with other women who are or have been pregnant before to help you feel less alienated. Explain to your partner what pregnancy feels like and emphasize your need to feel sexy.
- Pregnancy is your own experience. Maybe you just don't feel sexy and don't feel like trying to be. Maybe you feel sexier than ever without doing anything at all. There's no right or wrong way to feel about yourself while you're expecting, so give yourself permission to feel what you're feeling and take your own journey.
Dress to Impress: Pregnancy PrimpingAs we already mentioned, though it's only a part of the formula, your physical appearance-clothes, skin, hair and makeup-can deeply affect the way you feel, so don't chalk grooming up to an indulgent waste of time. Here are some things you can do to unleash your inner sexiness from the outside in.
- Get Dressed Up at Least Once a Week-Let's face it: During many moments of pregnancy, the idea of putting on anything other than your comfiest pair of leggings is basically an insult. But taking the time to doll yourself up, even if that means something as simple as swapping a tee for a nicer shirt, can make you feel amazing anytime, even if you're just heading to a laid-back brunch or a casual shopping trip with some friends. If you don't have plans, make some!
- Buy Maternity Clothes-The question of whether or not maternity clothing is necessary is hotly debated, and we're not suggesting that you go out and replace every single clothing item you own with a maternity equivalent. With that being said, maternity clothes are made for pregnant women, which means they'll fit and flatter better, especially in the third trimester. If you have a big event on the horizon-whether that be an important meeting at work, a friend-s wedding or a black tie gala-pick something maternity-specific to wear.
- Invest in Maternity Shapewear-If you've ever had a good piece of shapewear, you know how quickly it can transform your body (and your confidence). While you're pregnant, maternity shapewear can help you feel amazing by smoothing and shaping the areas where you feel the most self-conscious. Maternity support panties and girdles can even provide extra support in the back and belly to help reduce back pain, and most are stretchy enough to wear well into month nine.
- Wear Pretty Bras and Panties-There's no denying the fact that wearing dainty mesh or lace panties is one of the easiest things you can do to instantaneously feel sexy. Make it a matching bra and panty set and boom! Instant sexiness. Early in your pregnancy, purge the undie drawer of anything old, ratty or uninspired, and grab a few special pieces to break out when you're feeling blah.
- Do Some Cardio-Have you ever noticed how empowering and sexy you feel after a particularly hard-hitting workout? Well, it's not just you-we all feel the same way! In fact, research shows that exercising helps make you feel more passionate because it causes the body to kickstart activity in the sympathetic nervous system, which effectively directs blood flow to the genitals. During pregnancy, your exercise goal shouldn't be to lose weight but to maintain physical fitness, keep your heart rate up and soak up all the other benefits of a good sweat session (like some added arousal). So, go ahead and go for a jog, take a hip-hop class or watch TV while you hit the treadmill.
- Have a Pregnancy Photoshoot-We know it may sound like the absolute last thing you want to do with your free time when your belly is the size of a beach ball, but a professional photoshoot may be just what you need to sink into a state of serious sexiness while prego. The thinking here is that a scheduled photoshoot will make you go into full glam mode, and who doesn't feel like a model when cameras are snapping in your face? Be sure to hire a photographer you feel comfortable with and wear something that makes you feel confident.
- Get Your Nails Done-Manis and pedis should be filed (pun intended) under both "self-care" and "physical appearance" because they make you look and feel incredible. And there's just something so indulgent about having somebody else do your nails for a change. Make sure to pepper your pregnancy with a few trips to the spa or salon for a relaxing, beautifying session that makes you feel as good as your best pre-pregnancy self.
- Get a Blowout-For the same reason a fresh manicure can make you feel fabulous and sexy, so too can a blowout. Sitting in a chair and having somebody else wash, blow dry and style your hair is a current and future mama's dream come true, and you'll feel extra fresh (and, in turn, extra sexy) when you're done. Be sure to set up a romantic date night with your partner post-blowout, and don't forget to sprinkle in a selfie session or two while you're out.
Pamper and Unwind: Self-Care Is Essential
Sexiness isn't just about what you wear or how much time you spend at the salon. It's also about tapping into an inner confidence that comes from something deeper. Practicing positive self-care and healthy thinking can help you get there! Bonus: All of these things can be done by yourself or with your partner.
- Go to Pregnancy Yoga-Yoga is one of the best activities for people who don't feel great about their bodies but want to tap into a positive state of mind while working out. And, the great news is that most yoga studios offer a pregnancy class or two specifically for expecting mothers, so you can reap all the benefits of this amazing exercise even if you've never done a single yoga pose in your life.
- Join a Pregnancy Support Group-Whether your idea of a support group is a few girlfriends going to brunch or a serious roundtable at the local birthing center, one thing's for sure: Being around fellow moms and moms-to-be will help you stay sane while you're pregnant. If you're struggling with self-image issues or simply don't feel confident as your belly grows, those in a similar position can help you feel better about yourself by reassuring you that it's normal and by sharing their tips for how to stay sexy and positive while pregnant.
- Take a Nap and Get a Good Night's Rest-OK, we know that a midday nap for an adult is more tired grandpa than hot mama, but don't underestimate how much a good night's sleep can affect your mood and your drive. The bottom line is that you simply won't feel good about anything-let alone your body or your self-perception-if you're not getting enough sleep. Oh, and pregnancy insomnia is a thing, especially in the first and third trimesters, so napping or sipping some gentle herbal tea can help.
- Listen to Sexy Music-If you're ever looking for a quick mood- and sexiness-boost, turn on some Brazilian jazz or old-school R&B (the latter of which, by the way, was rated as the most popular music for the bedroom). Seriously, though, music has a massive impact on your mood and can help you feel deeply relaxed and sexy, even when you're suffering from the most common pregnancy-related sexiness killers. Even better, listen to some sexy music and dance with your partner!
- Get a Massage-This one is perfect for you and your partner to enjoy together. Pregnancy massage has a wide range of proven benefits, from delivering a big dose of stress relief and tranquility to increasing circulation and reducing strain on the muscles and joints. The soothing, mind-clearing environment will help you physically and mentally relax so you feel calm, confident and sexy.
- Indulge in a Warm Bath-Why is it that, even when you're not feeling fantastic about yourself or your body, a hot bath seems to lift the spirits? Take the time to draw the perfect bath, complete with your fanciest bath bombs and bubbles, and sink into a state of unparalleled relaxation. Make it a true sexiness enhancer by lighting a few soft-glowing, relaxing candles and playing some chill music. Just remember to be careful. Overheating, dehydration and fainting are especially dangerous during pregnancy. Keep the bath water below 100 degrees (warm, not hot) to ensure a safe pregnancy bath session.
Sexy Means Different Things to Different People
If you take one thing away from this article, we hope it's this: There are a million ways to look and feel sexy while you're pregnant. Whether it's wearing cheeky lace panties and lingerie or sweating it out in a hip-hop class, there's no wrong way to settle into a sexy state of mind. By honoring your body, tapping into your biological empowerment and stopping to appreciate the entire experience, you'll make it through even the toughest part of those potentially stressful nine months feeling like a seriously sexy mama.