Lingerie model and body-positive activist, Iskra Lawrence recently announced that she’s pregnant with her first child with boyfriend Philip Payne. Since then, the 29-year-old mom-to-be has been updating fans about her pregnancy and the many changes her body is experiencing.
In a new YouTube video, Lawrence shared a recap of her six-month pregnancy journey and how her body image has evolved during that time. “As someone [who’s] experienced body dysmorphia and disordered eating, I wanted to talk from a recovery point of view and hopefully help you feel more comfortable on this journey too,” the model wrote of the video in an Instagram post.
Lawrence shared that after announcing her pregnancy in November, her social media community immediately asked her: “Are you doing okay? How do you feel in this new body?”
Since Lawrence has been open about her body image for years, she said she wasn’t surprised by these questions. “One of the main factors that can trigger you is something being out of your control and your body changing in a way you’ve never seen before,” she shared in the video, reassuring fans that these changes are actually a pretty natural, normal part of life and deserve to be embraced.
“I think it’s a really wonderful, positive challenge to be taken out of your comfort zone and to find the ways that your body is changing and to continue to love yourself in that journey, whatever that looks like for you,” she added.
Lawrence then opened up about some of the physical changes she’s noticed in her body since becoming pregnant—the first being chest acne (a common side effect during pregnancy).
“It’s like all over my chest, especially in the crevice,” Lawrence shared, adding that it’s the one thing about her pregnancy that she’s really struggling to embrace. (Related: 7 Surprising Acne Facts That Can Help Clear Your Skin for Good)
Lawrence also showed off some markings around her stomach in the video. “Maybe they’re going to turn into stretch marks, but I’ve had them since before I even knew I was pregnant,” she shared, adding that she and her midwife believe the marks may be due to poor blood circulation. During pregnancy, your body’s blood volume increases to help provide extra blood flow to the placenta, explained Lawrence.
Another physical change Lawrence noted was her protruding belly. While she said she certainly expected her stomach to grow, her baby bump didn’t really “pop” until she was 16 weeks pregnant, she shared. “You just kind of expect to be pregnant and have a bump immediately,” said Lawrence. But for some women, “it is a patience game,” she explained. “Everyone’s bumps develop differently.” (Related: This Fitness Trainer and Her Friend Prove There’s No “Normal” Pregnant Belly)
Finally, the model opened up about how much her love handles have grown during her pregnancy. “I’ve always had a slim waist and an hourglass figure, so I’ve noticed extra padding around my middle in general,” she said. While that’s a normal part of pregnancy, Lawrence said she felt it could also be because she’s seriously cut back on exercise. (See: Iskra Lawrence Opened Up About Struggling to Work Out During Her Pregnancy)
“I haven’t been working out the way I used to,” she said, explaining that she’s been doing low-intensity HIIT workouts, a bit of jump-roping, and low-impact TRX workouts. As she gets used to her changing body, Lawrence shared her desire to become more consistent with exercise, even though her workouts look quite different now compared to those she did before becoming pregnant. (See: 4 Ways You Need to Change Your Workout When You Get Pregnant)
“Just moving my body, going through the motions, keeping up with my flexibility and all of the strength around my groin and pelvis is going to be really important with the birth,” she shared.
Regardless, Lawrence said she’s totally okay being a “bit softer” overall. (Related: The Top 5 Exercises You Should Do to Prepare Your Body for Childbirth)
Physical changes aside, one of the most difficult experiences for Lawrence over the past six months was going to the doctor to confirm her pregnancy, she shared in the video. The first thing the doctor did was ask her to step on the scale—a huge trigger for Lawrence, she said.
Despite her discomfort, Lawrence said she complied. “I got on the scale, and [my weight] was probably like, end of the hundreds,” she shared. Immediately, the doctor started to caution her about her BMI, asking triggering questions about her exercise routine and eating habits, said Lawrence. (Related: We Need to Change the Way We Think About Weight Gain During Pregnancy)
“I had to stop [my doctor] and say, ‘I look after myself really well, thank you.’ So I kind of shut that conversation down,” she said. “I didn’t feel attached to the number on the scale.”
What mattered most to Lawrence was the fact that she knew she takes care of her body; it didn’t matter what anyone else thought or said, she explained in the video. “I’ve been [looking after myself] for a long time now. I did it in an unhealthy way when I thought that size was everything. And now I listen to my body, I love it, I nourish it, I move it, so we’re all good in this department,” she said. (Related: How Iskra Lawrence Is Inspiring Women to Put Their #CelluLIT On Full Display)
Lawrence ended her video by saying she feels “sexier and [more] beautiful” now than ever. “If you are on your journey to conceive, I’m sending you all my love,” she continued. “Just know that if you’re not able to [conceive], your body is worthy, it’s beautiful, and I love you so, so much.”