This is What a Pregnant Body Looks Like

Argentine photographer Sophie Starzenski is shedding some light on what goes on underneath maternity clothes with a beautiful photo series titled 40 Weeks and a Mirror.

The physiques of pregnant women are endlessly critiqued in our society, as though looking svelte should be of utmost concern even when our bodies are tasked with creating a human life. Celebrities like Jessica Simpson and Kim Kardashian were mercilessly attacked for gaining substantial amounts of weight during pregnancy. Kate Middleton was praised for shrinking back to her previous size so soon after giving birth. Celebrity pregnancies have been said to inspire eating disorders in pregnant women, with a rise in so-called "pregorexia", signaled by extreme dieting and exercise during pregnancy.

As much as 30 percent of women do not gain enough weight during pregnancy, and maybe if we were exposed to more loving portrayals of pregnant bodies then this would change. Yes, Starzenski's figure may be enviably slim and toned to begin with, but choosing to capture and expose her changing shape is a step towards pregnancy acceptance. She is not ashamed of her growing belly — she is proud of it, and she shows us the beauty in this transition.

Images courtesy of Sophie Starzenski