Baby bumps proudly on display

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 05:00 29/06/2013
Xinyu Zhang is among an increasing number of  Christchurch women having professional photoshoots while pregnant.
ANGELA PENN/Ladybug Photography

BARING THE BUMP: Xinyu Zhang is among an increasing number of Christchurch women having professional photoshoots while pregnant.

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Canterbury women are shedding their clothes and baring their naked bumps for pregnancy photoshoots.

The trend has taken off worldwide, with dozens of women paying professional photographers to capture their heavily pregnant bodies.

Christchurch woman Courtney Millar, 23, was 34 weeks pregnant when she posed for a photoshoot.

''We decided to get a maternity photoshoot done because we wanted to be able to look back and remember the amazing and beautiful time we had while waiting for our baby boy to arrive.''

The photos feature Millar in lingerie, posing with her partner and proudly showing off her bump.

''Doing the shoot itself didn't make me feel sexy, but seeing how the photos turned out made me realise that being pregnant can be quite sexy,'' she said.

''I think that my baby bump is the most beautiful thing in the world because my baby's in there.''

Millar and her partner planned to enlarge some photos to go on display and give some others to family members.

In Melissa Barnett's bedroom, photos of the 33-year-old pregnant with her third daughter hang proudly on the wall.

''They're a reminder of all the happy memories when I was pregnant. I wanted to record what it was like. I love looking at them and showing the kids what it was like when Ruby was in my tummy.''

Barnett said she felt ''sexy and comfortable'' doing the photoshoot with Angela Penn, of Ladybug Photography.

''She made me feel really relaxed and the photos turned out beautiful,'' Barnett said. 

''I look back at them now and remember that I did look pretty good.''

Most women posed when they were over 30 weeks pregnant but others did multiple photoshoots from 15 to 40 weeks to show the progression of their bellies.

Penn said pregnancy photoshoots were becoming very common as women wanted to capture the ''special moments''.
''You can forget how big you were and what your body was like. Women want to remember that forever.''

Some of her clients felt more comfortable just revealing their bumps, while others posed nude.

''I feel so privileged to be able to capture such a special moment in a woman's life. They're incredible photoshoots.''

Photographer Jess McGiffin, who took Millar's photos, was also seeing more expectant mothers arriving at her Burnside Studio.

''It's such a beautiful thing and something I think all mums should be able to keep in a special photo.''

Pregnancy Counselling Services spokeswoman Sandy Simpson agreed pregnant photoshoots were a way to counteract the effects of negative body image during pregnancy.

''Pregnant women often feel heavy and awkward. Having their hair and makeup done and a glamorous photoshoot can make them feel better about their changing bodies.

''It reminds them they are still beautiful.''

Women were also becoming less afraid of showing off their pregnant bodies, Simpson said.

''These days people show off more flesh and aren't afraid to proudly display their bumps and pregnant bodies.''

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