By Marianne Power for MailOnline. The soft lighting bounces off the model's bare limbs and an opulent fur blanket falls from her shoulders. The carefully placed fur covers the woman's modesty, while also revealing the full splendour of her body. But this isn't a glamour shot - it's the latest way pregnant women are celebrating impending motherhood: 'baby bump' photography.
Says year-old Sabrina, who is eight months pregnant, 'I knew that this pregnancy would be my last and I wanted a record of it'. So at 37 weeks pregnant, when most women are putting their feet up, after months of battling with swollen joints and stretch marks, Sabrina made her way into a studio to bare all. But why was she doing this? I put on black shorts and a black bra and wrapped myself in the fur so that it covered my modesty,' says Sabrina, who is engaged to Steven, a fireman. I think they're beautiful - elegant, not sexy.
Natalie, who was 36 weeks pregnant at the time, was surprised by how much she enjoyed her photoshoot. More and more women are having their pregnant bodies captured professionally on camera, as Sabrina has done.
Of course, we can blame the actress Demi Moore for all this. She started the trend in , when she posed naked on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine while seven months pregnant.
The photograph was credited with smashing taboos about the pregnant body, which had, until then, remained hidden under tent-style dresses. But now, it's hard to open a magazine without seeing someone's bare pregnant tummy - everyone from Cindy Crawford to Britney Spears and Kim Kardashian have exposed their bumps in the pages of various glossy magazines - and ordinary women are following suit.
Wayne Kahn, one of Venture's photographers, says many are prepared to bare everything. It sets the bar higher for women. But are these pictures tasteful?
Not everybody thinks so. Some critics are concerned they are part of an alarming trend that sexualises pregnancy, putting women under pressure to look attractive and alluring at a time that can be exhausting, but should also be a time of reflection, introspection and preparation.
Pregnancy used to be the only time in a woman's life when she could put her feet up, eat what she wanted not worry about how she looked, but that's not the case any more,' says Dr Nash. It sets the bar higher for women, implying it's not OK to show how hard pregnancy is. Instead you have to look beautiful, slim and hot at all times.
Indeed, photoshoots are just one part of the 'sexy mummy' industry: walk through Topshop or Primark and you'll find rails of sexy, skin-tight maternity dresses and T-shirts with slogans like Red Hot Mamma on them. And there's even a growing market for racy maternity lingerie - with companies such as provocatively named HOTmilk selling black mesh and embroidered nursing bras with sobriquets like 'Tantalised'.
The more she relaxed, the more Natalie 'got into it'. It's a far cry from when pregnancy was a time for loose clothes and flat shoes, a time to focus on what was happening inside your body rather than outside.
And who are these women looking sexy for? Dr Laura Tropp agrees with Dr Nash's concerns. She is the author of Womb With A View, which analyses the business behind modern pregnancy. She says: 'Pregnancy used to be time of preparation and reflection but now it's a time for clothing and trends and baby showers and pregnancy photography.
They feel pressure to have the perfect belly, the perfect bump. They look at celebrity pictures and feel bad they don't look like that,' she says. Jessica, who had her pictures taken two weeks before the birth of her child, decided against going topless. Natalie Duffell, 25, from Horsham, West Sussex, agrees. There were days when I felt awful: I was heavy, tired, my ankles would swell up.
There's so much pressure to look good during pregnancy and get back into shape after pregnancy. I felt like I was being judged when I left the house. People would openly say I looked really tired, which was really disheartening. Then they lose the weight straight after and again you think, I need to lose the weight too.
So if she felt so unsure of her pregnant body, why did Natalie have a naked portrait taken when she was 36 weeks pregnant? To her surprise, Natalie found that once she'd had her hair and make-up done and was in front of the camera at local studio Mighty Aphrodite, she found the experience hugely rewarding. After all, the pregnant body is the most natural thing on earth, so why cover it up? Psychologist Dr Jane McCartney, specialises in body image and says that it's not unusual for women to be proud of their bumps.
Instead, you are taking a record of a specific moment in time that may never be repeated. Jessica Klofta, 26, from Dukinfield, Greater Manchester, had pictures taken two weeks before the birth of her first child, Polly, now four months. She says she can't wait to show her daughter the picture when she is a bit older.
More and more women are getting photos of their pregnant bodies, but who should get to see them? She says that when she was younger, you had to cover up your bump, if you showed it off it was considered rude. I think that's sad - pregnancy is a really happy time,' says Jessica. But she admits that these kinds of pictures are not to everyone's taste. I thought it looked classy and tasteful, but when it came to doing my own topless pictures I didn't like them, I thought they looked a bit too rude.
I was very keen I didn't look tacky,' says Jessica, who ended up posing for a picture in black maternity trousers with a scarf tied around her chest. But to a lot of people these pictures are tacky, which is why they are best kept private, says Dr Jane McCartney. Then there's the subjective matter of taste, says Dr McCartney: 'Ask yourself, would I photocopy naked pictures of myself and send them in the post to a friends? Then ask yourself what your baby is going to think of these pictures when he's a strapping teenage son. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
Naked baby bump photos are the latest pregnancy trend. But are they a precious memento or just plain tacky? More and more women are having photos taken of their pregnant bodies But is this representative of the growing sexualisation of pregnant women?
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