Pregnancy and Weight


Photo by Mercy McNab http://mercymcnab.com/

Photo by Mercy McNab http://mercymcnab.com/

Stats:

Age: 39

Pre-pregnancy weight: 157 lbs

Height: 5’2

Size: 12

1. When is your due date?

The doctor said August 20th and my midwife used a calendar of my actual cycles and came up with August 29th.

2. Before you got pregnant, were you worried about the weight gain involved with being pregnant?

I started out overweight.  I wanted to lose 15 pounds before I got pregnant but it happened much quicker than we had planned. I was very worried about the weight gain. My sister had put on a lot of weight during her pregnancy and had a hard time losing it after. She also had gestational diabetes so I worried about that too. But once I got pregnant my concerns were more on the health of the baby.

3. How much weight did you gain during your pregnancy?

So far I have gained about 25 pounds. The last three pounds I gained recently. I actually have been worried about not gaining enough weight. The first trimester I did not want to eat. I didn’t have morning sickness; I just couldn’t stand the idea of food, especially vegetables. I worried my baby wasn’t getting enough nutrition, but the doctor told me it was normal during the first trimester to have strange eating habits.

4. Did you have any secondary issues arise because of the weight gain?

I had health issues before getting pregnant which include arthritis and IBS. Doctors warned me that pregnancy would aggravate these issues, but I had no problems with either the first two trimesters.  Now my knees are really hurting me. I cannot kneel or bend down too much. It is painful to take stairs. I am having digestion issues because the baby is bigger and my stomach is being pushed up so high.  I also hit the borderline of gestational diabetes. I didn’t have it but I was close so I changed my diet. Now I try to avoid sugar and when I eat carbs I make sure I eat protein with them. I’m back in the safe zone now; I don’t have diabetes.

Aside from health issues I am uncomfortable with the extra weight. I can’t cross my legs, I get easily short of breath, and my feet are very swollen. I went up a whole shoe size, from a 7 ½ to an 8 ½.

5. Are you worried about losing the weight after the baby is born?

I am actually not too worried about losing the weight after birth. The pregnancy has forced some good eating habits on me. I gave up caffeine from the start of my pregnancy and that has actually made me more energetic and focused. Watching my sugar intake has helped me see how much sugar is in everything. Since I have cut back on sugar my moods have been more stabilized and I feel calmer. I plan to breastfeed and I hear that will help my metabolism and help burn off the extra weight. If I keep eating the way I do now I think I’ll probably end up better off than I was before pregnancy.

6. What kind of physical activity did you do during your pregnancy? Was it difficult?

I am embarrassed to say I did very little physical activity other than working (I am a kindergarten teacher). I joined a gym before I got pregnant and after I found out I was pregnant I had big plans to work out through out my pregnancy, but, I had no idea of the energy a growing baby would take. I was exhausted all of the time. I think if I had a habit before pregnancy it would have been fine.

A few weeks ago my husband and I joined a community swimming pool and I started swimming. I plan to have natural childbirth and I heard that you should work out in some way not so much to control weight but to have endurance. I wish I had started swimming sooner. It feels really great, especially on my joints.  I tried long walks earlier but the pressure my baby had on my bladder made it hard to go far without having to use a bathroom. Swimming is the ideal form of exercise for me. We try to go three days a week.

7. What were the most surprising changes your body went through?

I am from a family of seven, all girls and one boy, I’m the youngest. I’m the last to have a child so I knew very well my body would physically change. I think the most surprising changes my body went through were internal. I imagined when I got pregnant I would eat everything in sight and my change of appetite was surprising. I also expected to have problems with my IBS and arthritis, and not only did pregnancy not complicate these issues but I actually lived the first two trimesters as though they never existed. I have a skin condition on my face and my dermatologist warned me I’d get brown spots on my face known as “pregnancy mask” but I didn’t. I think pregnancy has made me a healthier person.  I am shocked because like I said I couldn’t eat as well as I had planned, got little exercise, and started off with health issues.

8. What does your husband think about your body changes?

My husband is beyond wonderful when it comes to the changes in my body. I think it is just natural for a woman to feel less attractive when she has an extra 25 pounds on her and her body is being reshaped.

First of all, my husband loves curves on a woman and is always telling me how great I look. That is so wonderful to hear. I’ll be blunt, my breasts are changing shape and just looking very different to me, but my husband has this great attitude that my breasts are for the baby now and are being shaped for what they are naturally intended to do.  He has helped me find a different view of my body. Up to this point I related to my body physically as a sexual part of me. Now I see it as functional-almost as an object detached from whom I am inside. It is a bit freeing. I am about to turn 40 in a few weeks and I think this helps, accepting my body is just going to change no matter what. My husband is more accepting of it than me.

I went most of my pregnancy without stretch marks but recently they appeared and I was sad about it. My husband said “They will be there to remind you of this time when you carried the baby.” As I approach my last weeks of pregnancy I am beginning to feel a sense of loss, of not having the baby in me after all of this time. I love feeling the baby move and kick. It truly is a magical feeling for me, and seeing the stretch marks as a souvenir of this time puts a positive spin on things.

9. Any advice for women expecting, or wanting to become pregnant?

My advice to women who are expecting is, your body is going to change. Embrace it. I met a woman who told me she hit 300 pounds in her pregnancy and a friend talked her into having a photo shoot dressed as a belly dancer. She thought this was crazy but did it anyway and she loved it. Get a henna design put on your belly, wear clothes that show off your new breasts and belly, pose for a life drawing, or hire a professional photographer. Take pictures of your belly, your swollen feet and double chin, they are all part of having a baby.  Celebrate these changes.

To people around a pregnant woman, please be positive about our physical looks. We know we are “getting so big”. Tell us how great we look, that we glow, look happy, focus on the baby and not the extra weight.

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Thank you Rae for answering these questions so honestly! I think a lot of my readers can relate to this. Many gained weight with pregnancy and are trying to lose it, and I’m sure there are others like me who want to have kids someday and worry about the body changes.

QUESTION: Moms out there, do you have advice for new moms about losing weight?

3 responses to “Pregnancy and Weight

  1. This was a great post. I know a lot of women struggle with body image and pregnancy and this was a very honest look at your true emotions…thanks for sharing Rae!

  2. What a great post! It is always wonderful to read about people’s experiences during pregnancy! Something for me to look forward to one day :)

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