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Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more

The Beauty of Being Pregnant

It's normal for your self-image to fluctuate during your pregnancy; after all, it's hard to feel beautiful when you are exhausted and nauseous. You may find that some days you love being pregnant, while other days you long for your old body back. In addition, our culture idolizes thinness, and the extra pounds and curves brought on by pregnancy can be hard for some women to accept.

If you're having trouble keeping a positive self-image during your pregnancy, try to keep in mind that all these changes you are going through are to ensure your baby is healthy and are usually temporary conditions.

The female human body is not only a work of art, it's an engineering masterpiece; a fact that is never clearer than during pregnancy. Our bodies know just what to do to create, protect, and deliver a new life. A newly fertilized egg signals our breasts and uterus to begin preparing to nourish the new life, our blood flow to increase, and our ligaments to loosen. Giving life is one of the most beautiful acts on earth, and it's what our bodies were designed to do.

It was not that long ago when voluptuous curves were a sign of great beauty. Marilyn Monroe's measurements are large by today's standards, yet she is still regarded as one of the world's most beautiful women. So get in touch with your inner bombshell and flaunt your increased cleavage and rounder hips. Most men go wild over their partner's increased curves.

If you still can't look at yourself in the mirror with a smile on your face, remember that most of the weight you carry during your pregnancy is made up of the baby, amniotic fluid, the placenta, and excess fluids - all of which you will lose as soon as the baby is born. In fact, if you gain 28 pounds during your pregnancy, only 5 pounds of that are fat, protein, and other nutrients. You are carrying 3 pounds of extra blood, and 3 pounds of breast tissue; the placenta and womb comprise 3 pounds, and the baby weighs approximately 8 pounds; the amniotic fluid weighs 2 pounds and you are retaining approximately 4 pounds of water!

If your skin and hair seem to have turned against you, take heart that most conditions will resolve themselves once the baby is born. Pregnancy hormones can cause your skin to act like a teenager's and some women's hair becomes lifeless, oily, and falls out. Stretch marks, unfortunately, are not preventable or treatable, despite the marketing claims of countless lotions and creams. Whether or not you get stretch marks is based on your genetics and skin's elasticity rather than your moisturizing regimen. Try to think of your stretch marks as a badge of honor for this momentous event in your life.

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