With Holly Willoughby, Kimberley Walsh and Billie Faiers all having little ones on the way, it seems a celebrity baby boom is under way.
TOWIE star Billie, who is due to give birth any day, has revealed that her pre-delivery preparation has included a fake tan, manicure, eyebrow wax and a Brazilian wax.
And with the papers full of pictures of neat bumps wrapped in flattering maternity clothes, what pressure do celebs’ perfect pregnancies put on normal mums-to-be?
We spoke to three expectant mothers about how their beauty regimes have changed during their pregnancies.
‘I have spray tans even though my midwife told me not to’
Feeling fat and ugly now she’s pregnant, beautician Pam Cooney has continued to get hair extensions and spray tans, even though they could be damaging to her and her baby…
Tousling my long, dark hair, I applied another thick layer of mascara to my false lashes and checked the mirror. After lots of primping and preening, I was finally ready for work.
I’ve spent years with long hair extensions, false eyelashes, eyebrow tattoos and a deep fake tan - just like my favourite Towie celebrities.
At just 25, I’m proud to run my own mobile beauty business. I do all sorts of treatments from hair extensions to lashes, tans and gel nails.
My face is an advert and I have to be perfectly put together so my clients know they can expect to look great after their own treatments.
When I found out my boyfriend Mark and I were going to be parents, I knew that I’d have to cut out smoking, drinking and avoid certain foods. I imagined that I’d look just the same – with a cute little baby bump on top - just like Towie’s glam Billie Faiers. But the list of dos and don’ts was much longer than I’d ever expected.
Suddenly, I was being pulled apart. My treasured hair extensions had to come out as the midwife said that as the hair changes in pregnancy, they could cause hair loss.
I was also advised not to get or administer spray tans because of the chemicals contained in the formula. That meant I’d lose a large part of my earning potential when I needed the cash the most.
For weeks, I fell into a bit of a depression. As my body swelled, my mood plummeted. I felt naked without my long tresses and could barely bring myself to look in the mirror. I just felt ugly.
All the maternity clothes I could find were frumpy and not designed for people my age but I couldn’t bear to be seen outside in oversized t-shirts and joggers. So I spent time scouring the shops for normal, cute clothes in bigger sizes to make me feel more normal.
After a lot of research and soul-searching, I decided that it was more important for my baby that its mum was happy. So, last month, I had my hair extensions put back in. I’ve also continued to give and get spray tans though I use a mask to protect myself as much as possible.
I know some people will say that I was reckless and could have done my child harm but, now I’m back to my old beauty ways, people have started telling me how healthy I look!
There’s so much contradictory evidence as to what can harm your unborn baby that I just had to go with my gut. My little girl is due this June and all the checks have shown she’s perfectly healthy.
Though I’m happier than I was, I still feel fat and miserable with the way pregnancy has made me look. Normal women just can’t live up to celebrities.
‘I’ve spent £1,000 on new make-up to hide my greasy skin’
Danielle Cook was so horrified by how she looked during her first pregnancy that she ripped up all the photos. This time around, she’s taking expensive measures to make sure she’s picture perfect…
In a box, safely tucked away are several black and white images that mean everything to me and my husband, Paul.
Those scan pictures bring back all the excitement we felt when expecting our daughter, Lilah, four years ago.
Every little wrinkle and bump of her tiny, developing features are precious reminders of those months we spent waiting to meet her.
Though you’ll be hard-pressed to find a picture of me from that same time.
As I got bigger and bigger I took to wearing over-sized, baggy clothes and comfort eating.
I was pregnant and my appetite was raging so, I reasoned, I could have a little bit of whatever I fancied.
Out went my normal strict rules about diet and exercise. Instead, I’d have donuts as a snack and nibble on a cream egg or two in front of the television at night.
I didn’t really worry about how I looked, taking less time and effort on make-up as I was constantly tired and aching. It took all the energy I could muster to drag a brush through my hair, put on some mascara and my Ugg boots before I left the house.
I’d always admired celebrities like Myleene Klass and Holly Willoughby. They managed to look graceful and stylish during pregnancy. I assumed I’d look the same and naturally glow with health and happiness. Instead, I got quite depressed that I couldn’t match up.
By the time Lilah arrived, I’d put on two and a half stone – a third of my bodyweight.
Looking back at the pictures I realised how awful I’d looked all those months. My skin was blotchy, my comfy clothes looked sloppy and I was huge. Compared to the celebs’ candid snaps, I looked awful. In a fit of pique I tore up every photograph of my pregnancy that I could find.
Determined to have permanent reminders I could be proud of, I decided that everything would be different when I found out I was pregnant with a little boy due this summer.
From the very start I wanted to put on as little weight as possible and really focus on my appearance. So I now head to the gym at least twice a week and make sure I only eat healthy, balanced meals.
I’m also taking more care over my appearance than ever before. It’s a huge undertaking and means it takes me a minimum of two hours before I can leave the house in the mornings as I’m blow drying my hair, applying make-up and getting my clothes and accessories just right.
It took weeks of careful shopping and over £500 to compile a flattering maternity wardrobe full of empire lines and wrap dresses.
I also have regular eyelash extensions, threading, waxes and eyebrow tinting. I’ve even taken to wearing a Dior foundation with a Mac foundation on top to mask my greasy pregnant skin.
I’ve spent £1,000 on new make-up so far and even more on bi-monthly £100 haircuts, beauty treatments and weekly sun bed sessions.
It’s working too. I physically feel much stronger this pregnancy and think it’s because I’m in better shape.
A friend recently found one surviving picture of me from my last pregnancy. I was so pleased to see how different I look.
Friends and family are now falling all over themselves to tell me how good and well I look. Sometimes people say how much pregnancy suits me… if only they knew!
‘Celebrities don’t look that good naturally!”
Maternity model Ayla Karol says getting the perfect ‘glow’ takes time, effort and money…
Years before I even considered starting a family with my husband Ryan, I remember seeing a woman on the tube.
Heavily pregnant, she was stunning. Her hair and make-up were flawless, her tight baby bump sat high and she was immaculately dressed. Everyone was looking at her. This woman really was glowing - and she made it look easy.
Right then and there, I knew that’s what I wanted to look like if I ever became a mum.
Before falling pregnant, I was a TV presenter and model. Looking good and feeling fit was vital to my work and sense of self confidence. I didn’t want pregnancy to change all that.
But, when I fell pregnant with my first child late last year, I was floored by how exhausted I felt. For the first few weeks it was hard to drag myself out of bed.
I was keen to keep my petite size 6/8 frame as toned as possible but was also worried about the damage my regular gym sessions were doing to my little one. So, when my energy picked up a few weeks later, I swapped the gym for gentler, more baby-friendly activities - long walks several times a week, swimming and yoga.
My body was constantly changing and growing. I invested in a whole new wardrobe of maternity dresses, blouses and skirts but it was hard to dress an ever-changing shape. Making sure I looked well put together took time, care and close attention – when all I really wanted was to sleep.
Funnily enough, a few months in, I realised that commuting was taking too much out of me and decided to leave my presenting job in the City.
Thinking back, I realised how amazing that woman I’d seen really was. Not only in looking great but keeping a smile on her face whilst probably feeling tired and uncomfortable and being squashed by fellow commuters. I couldn’t do it.
I moved to Essex and decided to take up maternity modelling. I’d modelled in the past and now my efforts to look good in pregnancy had paid off with people telling me that I looked great.
Now, I’ve done high-profile shoots for maternity wear and parenting magazines. They take more preparation than nearly any modelling I’ve ever done before.
People want to see pregnant women looking fresh and glowing. In reality, this takes a lot of work. Getting ready for a shoot where I look fresh and natural takes hours of hair, make-up and dressing. I also have regular manicures, pedicures and hair appointments to make sure I’m ready for shoots at short notice.
There’s nothing nicer than seeing a well-kept pregnant woman and I’m glad I feel like I’m blooming. I’d just tell women not to think it’s as easy as all the celebrities make it look. Never underestimate the blessing of time, money and make-up in that elusive pregnancy glow!
Photo credit: Anna Fowler