Pregnant and Beautiful

Remember the stir it caused in 1991 when a pregnant Demi Moore posed on the cover of Vanity Fair?

That seems almost quaint these days. We're now used to seeing revealing photos of expecting celebrities, including Britney Spears sunbathing in a bikini with her stomach fully exposed.

But you don't have to be a celebrity to want to flaunt your pregnant curves -- women everywhere are doing it. In a recent, nonscientific ballot on ABCNews.com, viewers were almost evenly split between whether pregnant women should flaunt their bodies or show modesty and cover up. Fifty-one percent said expecting moms should not be afraid to celebrate their changing figures.

Now that pregnancy is considered beautiful, women want to immortalize their pregnant bodies.

Heather Hart, whose photography business A La Mode Photo (www.alamodephoto.com) is located in Santa Monica, said she takes pictures of three or four pregnant women a week -- more than twice as many as just five years ago.

"I just think that the belly is like artwork to me," said Hart, who likes to wrap her subjects in flowing fabrics to highlight the curves. "So every time I even see a belly I just think, 'Wow, they are just amazing.'"

One of Hart's clients, Ginelle Elliot, was reluctant to do a photo shoot but her husband wanted her to. She posed for Hart on the beach a few weeks ago. Although she said she felt "fat and disgusting," she ended up loving the photos. Her due date is Wednesday.

"The pictures are so beautiful," Elliot said. "I couldn't believe I actually look like that. Because when you look at yourself in the mirror, you just look huge and it's not your body."

A lot of the expectant mothers choosing to spend hundreds of dollars on a photo shoot are older professional women who want to savor every moment of their nine months. But there are more affordable options, such as a $9.99 maternity photo package at J.C. Penney.

Pregnancy photography has attracted all types of women, said Julia Beck, founder of Forty Weeks, a New York and Washington, D.C.-based marketing agency focusing on maternity.

"It's not just a specific mother," she said. "It's women who are engaged in their pregnancies, celebratory about where they are, wanting to keep that memory alive for as long as they can."

"GMA Weekend" co-anchor Kate Snow, who is due to deliver her second child in three weeks, decided she wanted to get in on the trend. Photographer Donna Padowitz, www.donnapadowitz.com. took a series of pictures of her.

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