Hints and Tips for Maternity shoots

There is something to be said about the endless possibilities of maternity photos. They allow your 9 months of miracle-baking to last a lifetime and will help you to remember the true, raw and natural beauty of your body for ever. Our bodies will never stop changing throughout our lives, but the idea of capturing such a powerful period of time is truly something else.

I self-run my own maternity photoshoots as I would find it difficult to be as comfortable with a photographer as I do myself. This is such a personal time, and I like to imagine it as an activity that me and squish are able to do together since we are both working the camera.

Trust me when I say that taking maternity photos is a fun experience, but also trust me when I say that if you are doing it yourself, you will have a giggle a few times at the awkward poses you make trying to make the bump look more flattering. I noticed this at my earliest “shoots” where I was not used to the bump in any way whatsoever and it was very evident in the pictures I took… just look….

20 weeks

I mean, hello… dear caught in headlights much?

So what are some tips on posture and body positioning for a maternity self-run photoshoot?

The “Thigh Swivel”

I find that sometimes when taking a picture of myself front facing can lead to a slightly chubby fa├žade. I obviously do not like this, but one thing I found that combats this for me, is the “Thigh Swivel”, which is basically what you do to make yourself appear slightly slimmer but doesn’t denounce your gorgeous bump- it actually shows it off more, which is what we really want in our maternity photos.

Notice how in these pictures that one side of the thigh is being shown more than the other? It oddly draws your bottom half in which can give the illusion of a slightly larger bump but a leaner stance. Also, excuse the camel toe in the middle picture, I am aware of this but I love the way my body looks so not caring over here!

“The Bump Cradler”

We have seen (and drooled over) Khloe Kardashian’s gorgeous maternity bumps where she cradles her delightful baby girl (and oddly enough, she felt she had to defend her poses and explain why she felt the need to cradle the baby… I mean really? Can’t we just let a mama-to-be decide her own photograph poses please?), and there have been countless other gorgeous maternity photos where the mama-to-be holds onto her stomach which can project her Mother Bear instincts in protection, her love for her soon-to-be child, and the excitement of the fact that she just can’t wait to hold her baby in her arms for the first time. 

I know that I cradle my bump in practically all of the pictures I take of myself. I find it to be comforting and a lovely touch, as well as the fact that it can highlight the true size of my bump. 

maternity photos

I just love to feel that she is within and its such a special moment. You can cradle your bump in whatever way you wish, but I would always suggest having a hand touching the diagonal side of your bump to give it dimension and the other hand over the top of your bump and across your diaphragm. I think this allows anyone to see the true size of your belly and you are also showing your nurturing angle. 

“Tilt-a-head”

You will notice in the pictures on my Maternity Shoot Inpo page that my head is always tilted one way or another. I find that keeping your head dead straight is never an option if you want a flattering picture. The main reason I do this in any pictures, let alone Maternity pictures is because I am extremely lucky in that whenever I gain any type of weight, it goes straight to under my jaw. Yupp, I’m talking 5 chin Emma over here. 

Its not an option for me to keep my head in a naturally straight position for photos, unless I want to show off my extra chins. 

So what I do is observe in the mirror before taking any pictures, which angle works best for me to show a more profound jawline- and its always by tilting. It will feel natural when taking the pictures! But the reason I suggested this is because, I know that many mamas-to-be are suffering from increased water retention and it can make our faces appear slightly more puffy. And while its not a problem to capture the rawness of pregnancy in our maternity photos, it might not be one of those side affects that we want to capture for a lifetime. 

You should try to tilt your head in different angles during your self-run maternity photoshoot. You are bound to find an angle that works for you!

Looking down can symbolise your protective gaze of your baby-to-be, looking up might show a more “holy-esque” angle. 

Dressing for the occasion

I know that there are thousands and millions of mamas who have taken the most stunning maternity photos, drenched in silks, laces and gorgeous floor length gowns, but there are also mamas like me who likes to keep things simple. Don’t get me wrong, I will be taking these stunning pictures too in mountainous areas but only when I am a bit further along and the bump is more pronounced. In the meantime, I am using the smaller bump as a means to prepare and get ready for the bigger and more production-y photoshoots to come when I am 30+ weeks pregnant. 

For the period of about 15 weeks to now (24 weeks), I have been keeping it simple and fresh by wearing very little but trying to maintain a classic vibe. For the shoot that I did at 20 weeks, I used some coral coloured crepe fabric and fashioned a bandeau (which I tied into my bra) and skirt (which was tucked into my undies) and exposed my belly. The colour complimented my skin tone and with the warm overlay I edited the pictures with, It really made the colours pop in my opinion. 

In my most recent shoot, I decided to keep it simple again with a black crop top and undies, but added a little pattern by tying a gorgeous head scarf around my noggin. It added the extra something that this photo otherwise lacked against the dark background.

Is that all?

Well I would say that this post will be updated as I continue throughout my pregnancy as there will be many more shoots to come and that I would love to share with you. Hoping to ensure the grandeur improves as well as my camera skills- lord knows I am no photographer. But for now, these are the main tips I would suggest for your maternity photos and I hope you enjoy them!

Good luck, and be sure to share the results with me!

 

Congested Nose during Pregnancy- is it normal? Pregnancy Rhinitis

This is a disclaimer that this post is not written by a medical professional and that the hints and tips are of my own personal experience. If you are at all concerned about your congestion or cold symptoms please get in touch with your midwife/GP as I cannot be held responsible for any health problems.

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Pregnancy Rhinitis

Since about week 14 (today marks week 16, woohoo!) of pregnancy I have developed a slight annoyance in my right nostril. The feeling of extra hard and sharp boogers has me blowing my nose constantly and it can lead to very very light nose bleeds. I’ve even been one to unashamedly have a feel around with a finger (please don’t judge me… I’m pregnant) and become disappointed at there appearing to be a lack of anything of substance within the endless nostril. It begs the question, how long is my nostril??

Well my pregnant friends, this is common and should not be something you are embarrassed about- it’s Pregnancy Rhinitis. While it may seem like I am calling you a large, beautiful and endangered animal with a portruding horn in the middle of your face, I am not. Pregnancy Rhinitis is a common side affect of pregnancy which can cause your nasal passages to become congested or runny and it goes hard on whichever option it is to be.

Personally, I have always had a runny nose, especially when its windy outside or I have been running, without being pregnant- so when the plus sign appeared on that test, it didn’t really phase me that the running of my nose could just be my normal nasal patterns and nothing to do with carrying a baby within.

But something changed for me during week 14 when I felt that my left nostril was congested and my right nostril was full to the brim of boogers. Ugh, is there a better word for them? *searches the Thesaurus and finds nothing nicer* Never mind then, boogers it is.

How do I know if its Pregnancy Rhinitis?

Pregnancy Rhinitis

  • You will feel like you have the beginning stages of a cold, but that it doesn’t turn into anything ever ie your throat isn’t sore, your voice isn’t hoarse and you avoid other cold-like symptoms
  • You might feel a slight popping in the top of your nose and then a sudden blockage appearing at random points during the day or night
  • Your nose is running slightly more than usual
  • You find yourself carrying lots of tissues and running out of clean ones frequently
  • Your nose might bleed slightly upon blowing too many times

Why why why is Pregnancy Rhinitis a thing?

I hate to say it, but it is the usual culprit… hormonal changes during pregnancy.

A higher level of Estrogen can lead to a swelling of the nasal passages and sinuses which can lead to an overractive production of boogers and mucus. The tiny explosion sounding pops that can happen in the top of your nose could be due to the small blood vessels swelling up inside your nostrils which then causes you to be congested.

Oh Clueless Mama, how can I stop Pregnancy Rhinitis?

Well, I am glad you asked. It can start super early in the pregnancy and unfortunately it can tend to get worse during the later stages (please don’t shoot the messenger). The good news is that it should reduce the annoyance factor post-birth and then it should be completely gone within about 2 weeks of your bambino gracing this earth with his/her presence.

In the meantime though, you might like to try the few tips I have been trying desperately to help the rather dire situation to make yourself more comfortable in the nasal department…

Pregnancy Rhinitis

  • Prop yourself more upright when first lying in bed with pillows. Of course, sleeping during pregnancy can be hard enough already but if you perhaps lay another pillow under your head, the more upright you are positioned, the bigger the chances are that gravity will help you out- just be prepared with tissues on standby
  • Use soft, aloe-vera or Olbas Oil tissues on your nose to keep the skin around your nostrils lacking in the obvious pink colour and to keep the discomfort of dried out skin at bay. Your little sniffer will be left feeling soft and less abused by the tougher, sandpaper-y tissues
  • Take as many outdoor walks as you can without doing yourself in- the fresh air will help your congestion in normal circumstances
  • Steam your head every night before bed with a bowl of boiled water, a teaspoon of Vicks Vaporub or Olbas Oil and a towel to place over your head when you are breathing in the hot, moist air
  • Sleep with air circulating through the bedroom- open a window, or if its too cold, open a window of another room in your house and leave your door ajar so that you are getting some fresh air into your body while you sleep. I always find congestion to be the biggest pain in the butt at night when you are stationery and lying down getting ready to kip away.
  • Keep a tissue with a smudge of either Vicks Vaporub or Olbas Oil within it, fold it up and hold it within your bra, you will get occasional wafts of the menthol and it will help to clear your airways too.
  • Rub Vicks Vaporub under your pillows at night
  • Keep a jar of Petroleum Jelly or Aloe Vera nearby so that you can top up the tip of your nose with moisture

Things to be aware of:

Its important to know that if your congestion develops into other symptoms of a cold, you are most likely not suffering from Pregnancy Rhinitis and instead, you have been caught with the common cold. If you have a cold but don’t want to take any medication to ease it, please check out this awesome article about how to naturally cure a cold!

Keep an eye on whether or not there is any discomfort in your sinuses under your eyes and at the top of your nose as it can be common for pregnant women to get sinus infections and if you are at all concerned about it, please get in touch with your midwife or GP for advice. Do not take any medication that your Doctors have not suggested to you as you don’t want to harm the bambino baking away, so please please take care of yourself.

Other tips of Pregnancy

Click here to read my tips on how to combat the annoyance that is Dysgeusia (that metallic taste in your mouth) during pregnancy and click here to read about my mistaken miscarriage experience.