Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Dreaded Pregnancy Weight Gain

This is a subject no one wants to talk about. So far, I personally have gained 10 pounds during this pregnancy. Weight gain during pregnancy is inevitable and healthy but it's a really touchy subject. No matter which end of the spectrum you're on people are going to have something negative to say and therefore no one talks about it. However, I think it's extremely important to inform people how much weight a pregnant woman is supposed to gain - because many people just don't know. When you throw out that you've gained 30 pounds and you're met with shock and surprise it's not because people think you're fat it's because people don't know any better. My husband thought 10 pounds of weight gain was too much! So the average pregnant woman is supposed to gain 25-35 pounds steadily over her 40 week pregnancy. Let's break it down:

Taken out of my favorite book ever "What to Expect When You're Expecting," here is the breakdown of the 25-35 pounds you should gain:
7.5 pounds - baby
1.5 pounds - placenta
2 pounds - amniotic fluid
2 pounds - uterine enlargement
2 pounds - maternal breast tissue
4 pounds - maternal blood volume
4 pounds - fluids in maternal tissue
7 pounds - maternal fat stores

My translation?

7 pounds of baby, 2 pounds of baby life support, 2 pounds of recycled piss, 2 pounds of extra uterus, a pound per boob, 4 pounds due to lack of having a period, 4 pounds of swelling, and 7 pounds of krispy kremes.

Personally, I have gained 10 pounds. I've been scolded for gaining so little by my midwives one day but gone to my endocrinologist the same week and been scolded for gaining 10 pounds since she saw me last.

I know women who have gained 80 pounds during pregnancy and women who gained 7 pounds. My question: why does it matter? If you're eating healthy and remaining as active as you can - your body will gain as much weight as it needs to. There should be no scolding a woman for gaining weight when her body is already foreign to her. So much goes on with our bodies when we're pregnant and being told by someone who should have our best interests in heart that we're screwing up or doing poorly is AWFUL. Now, if you're eating ice cream every night or a box of doughnuts for breakfast - damn straight somebody needs to tell you to ease up. But if a woman is seriously being healthy about her pregnancy - why does she need to step on the scale? At 36 pounds do we magically become high risk? No. So why the limit? Why make us feel stressed about something we can't control?

I know - I've only gained 10 pounds, why am I going on about weight gain? Because it's the same deal for women who aren't gaining "enough." A woman who hasn't gained enough is automatically questioned on her diet and if she's eating enough and maybe the baby isn't getting what it needs. And I'm sorry but I'm not going to start shoving doughnuts and pizza and ice cream down my throat just to achieve some ridiculous mandatory weight gain. Because then I'll be gaining weight too quickly, and that's something I'll get scolded for as well. As far as I'm concerned, my fruit and veggie based diet that I can't get enough of is way better for me AND my child than any of that processed crap.

To all of my beautiful pregnant women reading this - you are just that - beautiful. What your body is doing is completely natural. Remember that every woman and every pregnancy is different. It is unrealistic to hold us all to the same standard and limit. Whether you gain 5 pounds or 100 pounds the end result is going to be the same.

To all of the men out there- or asshole women for that matter (every woman thinks they're not that woman but chances are... you are) - If I ever hear you tell a pregnant woman she is anything other than glowing and tiny I will get immature and ask you when your triplets are due.

/rant over.

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