Like most women, I’m not a fan of packing on the pounds. When we become pregnant, especially the first time, this blissful feeling can wash over that makes us happy to know we don’t have to diet for the next 9 months. Husbands might even be happier too…seeing as a lot of times they have to suffer in our healthy options when they don’t care anywhere near as much about gaining a few pounds.
As many know the suggested weight gain for a women who is at a healthy weight at the start of pregnancy is 25-35 pounds. Which seems like a lot for someone who might slightly obsess about the numbers on the scale or the size of pants that they wear. It usually starts slow (or at least it should) as only possibly 3-5 pounds during the first trimester. From this point on, the suggested weight gain jumps significantly during the second trimester to around 1 pound per week. Which then puts you at 17-19 pounds come third trimester. During the homestretch it’s estimated that a pregnant women will then gain ½-1 pound until the baby is delivered, usually sometime between 38-40 weeks of gestation. For me, I gained the most the first time around (35), and 16 pounds less the second time—which was also slightly adjusted since I went into labor at 35 weeks and 6 days.
This third time around, while pregnant with a boy, I’ve gained 14 pounds at 26 weeks. I personally feel good about the weight gain, but I can’t say that I am thrilled about none of my jeans fitting anymore and being left to sport maternity trends. Or when my mother-in-law tells me how “big” I look the second she sees me, which is irritating to say the least seeing as everyone else tells me they can’t even tell I’m pregnant. Then there are the touchy feely types who like to rub on your stomach at random which you may not anticipate or exactly care for.
Yes, there are many options now with Destination Maternity, Target stores, and Pea in the Pod if you’re looking for a more hip maternity style and not trying to feel like a whale busting out of your clothes. But it doesn’t feel the same as it does when I slip on my regular jeans. It’s nice to set goals for yourself, and I had no problem achieving those goals after giving birth the first two times—although the first time took me 3 months of being married to the gym to even get in regular jeans that would make me happy again. So when I say “goal” I actually mean that. It’s a struggle for some women, including myself, dealing with weight gain during pregnancy. Maybe being in my childhood best friend’s wedding 26 days after I’m supposed to give birth is motivation to be mindful during this pregnancy. But what are friends for?
I remember listening to a stand-up comedian once making a joke about a pregnant woman’s eating habits, saying something along the lines of, “you’re giving birth to a baby, not a linebacker.” At the time I wasn’t yet a mother, but I guess this sort of stuck with me as a frame of reference. Yes, it is in fact true. Although babies usually weigh somewhere between 6-8 pounds, they are still babies and there is no excuse to eat as if you are training for an olympic decathlon. An extra 300-500 calories per day really isn’t that much. If you gain the suggested amount of weight you shouldn’t have that much difficulty losing it, especially if you’re breastfeeding which works marvelously to shed pounds while burning a ton of calories. But I will say from my experience gaining 35 pounds was not that easy to lose. It took a lot of hard work, sweat, and dedication. Pregnancy certainly changes your body, and things stretch like you may not have realized they could. And getting them to bounce back doesn’t always come so easily.
To be more comfortable in your weight gain, it starts with making smarter food choices. No, your baby is not craving Taco Bell. You are craving Taco Bell. And for the most part, fast food is garbage and not the ideal nutrients for your budding baby in your belly. By opting for healthier options the weight should not pack on at a startling rate, but rather a healthy one that won’t leave you astonished when you step on the scale. And yes, getting a scale at home is highly recommended. You don’t need to use it every day, although it may be tempting, but choose a routine time (like Monday mornings) to “weigh in” for the week. By doing this at home at your own leisure, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect before your doctor visits. Getting on the scale in front of anyone isn’t fun (at least not for me) so I like to prepare myself mentally and keep my weight gain in check.
If you feel like those cravings are so strong that you just can’t take and the earth will stop moving on its axis if you don’t have that chocolate chip cookie, then do it. But have one or two maybe. Just don’t go splurging on the whole bag. Because if you become a human garbage disposal during pregnancy, you only have yourself to blame when you’ve got a newborn on your hands, no time to workout, and a hefty amount of pounds left to lose from all those cookie splurges.
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