March 6, 2007

Weight Gain During Pregnancy--RANT!

Okay, fine. You said go ahead and post the rant, and since I can't make editing headway with it anyway, I'm going to.

I think it's time we talked about weight gain during pregnancy, but I want to be careful because there are few topics more danger-laden than weight. Furthermore, I could get a little crabby, because I have a mother-in-law story associated with the subject.

In fact, let's just get the mother-in-law thing out in the open. That way, if you sense a certain...tension to my tone, you'll know it's because I'm thinking of her, and not because I am mad at you. When my mother-in-law was pregnant with Paul, she gained only ten pounds. When she was pregnant with Paul's sister Beth, she LOST ten pounds, and she was thin to begin with. Beth was born with learning disabilities and birth defects, most of unknown origin (that is, it is not possible to say whether they are genetic or spontaneous).

My mother-in-law continues to brag about losing weight during that pregnancy. I think she's probably told me the story twenty times over the past ten years. Considering how many women wring themselves ragged with guilt over pregnancy problems and birth defects that had absolutely nothing to do with anything they did or didn't do, why wouldn't it at least cross my mother-in-law's mind to wonder if perhaps she should stop flapping her yap about how proud she is of her weight loss?

So you see, I am not going to do a very good job of being cool and objective on this topic. It does indeed piss me off when I hear women bragging about how little weight they've gained. When I found there were online groups devoted to women trying to gain as little weight as possible during pregnancy--and in fact, ideally to use pregnancy as an opportunity to lose weight--I felt like throwing up all over them.

Part of the reason it makes me so sick is that I can see the appeal. I don't like it that I can, but I can. I have even thought to myself how cool it would be to gain 0 pounds during a pregnancy, and then be automatically 25-35 pounds lower after the pregnancy was over--as if I am dumb enough to think that the amount of weight you're supposed to gain is a guaranteed loss afterwards, and might as well capitalize on it. I gag when I think it, but I do think it.

Furthermore, I've acted on those thoughts. I was upset that during my first pregnancy, I gained over 40 pounds. My OB didn't say anything about it, but I considered myself overweight to begin with, and all the literature says that overweight women don't usually gain as much. After the baby was born, I lost the weight without trying. So when I was pregnant with William, I came up with a theory. My theory was that if I didn't gain any weight with that pregnancy, I'd be down 40 pounds afterwards. I'm feeling gross just typing that out. Gross and dumb.

For the first two trimesters of that pregnancy, I didn't gain any weight, and in fact I lost some weight. I did it by eating a lot of salads, and I don't mean the nutritious kinds with lots of vegetables and dark leafy greens, I mean the kind with iceberg lettuce and fat-free dressing. I ate canned vegetable soup, the kind where the vegetables have the nutritional content of the label on the can, but the calories are about the same as eating the label, too. I am glad to be able to say that I also drank a lot of skim milk, and I ate eggs and yogurt, and I ate carrots and cantaloupe and oranges and Grape-Nuts and wheat germ, so I was not as stupid as I could have been. Part of my brain was being stupid, but another part of my brain was trying to keep the baby healthy and safe, and apparently succeeded.

In the last eight weeks or so, I couldn't do it anymore, and I ate and ate and ate. I gained fourteen pounds over my starting weight during that pregnancy, and it was all in those last eight weeks. I wish I'd eaten sooner, because after the baby was born, do you know how many pounds I lost? Fourteen. Not forty as I'd fantasized. I could have gone right ahead and let my body gain forty the way it so dearly wanted to.

Here is what pisses me off so, so much. My OB praised me during those first two trimesters, and so did his nurse. They praised me and praised me. They told me I was doing so great with my weight. Those stupid idiots. It is right and natural to gain weight during pregnancy. They should have been kicking my ass up and down the office hallway. At the minimum, they should have been questioning me about why I wasn't gaining weight: was I eating well but just didn't happen to be gaining? or was I eating iceberg lettuce and soup can labels? At one point the nurse noticed that I'd gained 40 pounds with my first pregnancy. Instead of wondering to herself why I was breaking the pattern this time, she said knowingly, "There's a learning curve!" As if the first time around, I'd thought I could eat the entire earth because I was pregnant, but now I knew better, what a smart girl!

My theory--not exactly a ground-breaking one--about pregnancy weight gain is that any one particular woman gains based on a combination of two factors: (1) her own body's genetic tendencies, and (2) her eating habits during the pregnancy--but mostly number 1. Here are my body's genetic tendencies: I gain more than the average amount of weight during each pregnancy, and it comes off automatically afterwards; I lose ten additional pounds while breastfeeding, but I don't get too familiar with that situation because I always get them back when I wean. That's my pattern. I can change it, but only through extreme measures in my diet, as with my second pregnancy. Other women gain less weight, but then have to work hard to lose it; or they don't lose their last 10 pounds until they wean; or they gain more weight and never lose it; or they gain much more weight and do lose it--whatever their own patterns are, that's what happens to them.

When I was pregnant with the twins, I gained 55 pounds. My OB (a different OB) never said anything about my weight gain one way or the other. His nurse commented at every single visit. "Oooh," she'd say, breathing in through her teeth. "Looks like another six." I should have said something, something like, "I don't know if they covered this in your nurse training, but it is normal to gain weight during pregnancy." I am not assertive enough to do that. What I did instead, every single time she gave me what she clearly considered to be "the bad news," is I said, "Oh, good!"--in a really happy tone of voice.

I think it is difficult and crappy to gain weight during pregnancy. I think women are pressured all the time not to gain weight, and in fact to lose weight, and I think that kind of pressure is hard to shake off even when we know it should be shaken off. I think it's even hard for OBs to shake off. I think some of them have started thinking it's a good thing when a woman doesn't gain much weight. I think that's crap.

I think no one should make a pregnant woman feel even slightly bad about gaining weight, because I think we feel bad enough about it already. It's hard for us to change our bodies like that, and there isn't much support for it. Some of us have people in our lives who say, "Oh my god, you are getting so fat!" or "Look how HUGE you're getting!" or "Do you really think you should be eating that?" or "Eating for two, huh?" It takes focus and dedication to allow those numbers to go up so steadily and so relentlessly. I think OBs need to shut about about it unless they are talking about how the woman needs to gain MORE. I've had more trouble from the nurses, so I'd like to decree that they need to shut up about it completely, unless the OB has specifically asked them to talk to the patient about her weight, which I'm guessing never ever happens. Romantic partners will keep their lips zipped unless they want to lose a vital body part of the pregnant woman's choice.

There is one more category of people who need to shut the hell up, and I'm afraid that category is made up of a subset of other pregnant women and other women who have been pregnant. Sometimes pregnant women don't gain much weight because they are stupid and vain and put their own figures ahead of the health of their babies. Sometimes pregnant women don't gain much weight because that happens to be their own particular pattern: they're eating healthily and plenty and they're not being stupid, but they just don't gain very much weight. Whatever the reason for it, those women are hereby mandated to keep their mouths shut about it, during the pregnancy and in all future conversations about pregnancy-related weight gain. Those of us who gain more, we know how good it must feel to gain less. But that's not how our bodies work, and you are hurting us and pissing us off when you shrug and lower your eyes and say you can't believe you're 30 weeks and have only gained 5 pounds. We can hear the pleasure in your voices. Anyone who pretends to be happy for you is actually picturing the damage she could do to your shrugging shoulders with a well-placed fork.

Furthermore, considering the mental and physical hurdle that must be leapt for a woman to make herself gain the healthy weight she needs to gain, everyone around her should in fact be encouraging her to gain. Romantic partners, I am speaking especially to you. BRING FOOD. Encourage eating. Don't do That Look when you see her eating something, like you think maybe she shouldn't eat it. That makes us want to kill you where you stand, and we have the hormonal chops to pull it off so don't push us.

Anyway. With this pregnancy, I will tell you, I have gained almost 25 pounds so far. I am 26 weeks pregnant, soon to enter the trimester when it is expected that you will gain one pound per week--which is what I've already been doing. It looks like I'm headed for another 40-pound gain. And I will TAKE IT.


Mimi said...

I loved your rant!

I gained over 50 pounds with my son and got so many "oh my god you're huge" comments from people I know and even complete strangers. It made me feel so bad about myself, that I didn't want to leave the house towards the end of my pregnancy. I do wish people had been more supportive.

It's now my personal mission to always tell pregnant people that they look great and so healthy. It's hard enough growing a new person inside your belly. Feeling bad about being too big should be the last thing we're worried about.

desperate housewife said...

Hah, I loved your mother in law story. I think I have one to top it, though. My husband's grandmother admitted to us rather sheepishly once, during my first pregnancy, that her OB would only "allow" his patients to gain fifteen pounds per pregnancy. If they went over, he had them HOSPITALIZED and put on a restricted diet! And his reasoning? He wanted them to "go home to their husbands" after delivery looking just as they did before they were pregnant!
I mean.... Imagine the rage I felt, thinking of what all of those poor women and babies in the forties and fifties must have suffered from their incompetent, misogynistic doctors! Grrr.

nonsoccermom said...

Great rant! I completely agree. I gained 40 pounds when I was pregnant and lost it all within about 6 months postpartum. Your body knows what to do and there is no point fighting it, in my opinion. My husband and I are trying to get pregnant with our second, and I say bring on the weight gain!!

And I have to add that desparate housewife's grandmother-in-law story freaked me out. I really hope there aren't still doctors like that out there! Gah.

4andcounting said...

Good for you for unloading. I have always loved my weight gain. To me it felt like confirmation that my body was doing precisely what it was supposed to do. I will remember your thoughts on the subject when I am talking with pregnant friends. Pregnant women are beautiful--regardless of weight gain or lack of weight gain.

Emily said...

I'd like to give a giant AMEN! to your rant. Inspired by your words, I just walked in the other room and announced to my fiance, "If we decide to have biological children, I plan to get big as a house while I'm pregnant." His response? "It's good for the baby." No wonder we're getting married. :)

Anonymous said...

I went from 120 to 181 when I was pregnant. I'm back down to 125. I actually had to ask my doctor if I was gaining too much weight, but they only commented on it when I asked.

Erica said...

I'm one of those women who tried really hard not to gain weight when I was pregnant. I tried my best to eat healthy and ended up gaining 15 pounds. Seven weeks after my daughter was born, I weigh three pounds less than I did when I got pregnant.

Now, before you hate me or think I behaved recklessly, I need to tell you that I started out 100 lbs overweight. There are some doctors out there that would have advised me to loose all my extra weight before I got pregnant. They would have told me all kinds of scary statistics that are used to shame overweight women who dare to want a child. However, I had a wonderful doctor who never once shamed me. He advised that I gain between 15 and 20 lbs while pregnant, since I already had plenty of fat stores.

I did have complications with my pregnancy, but none of them were related to my weight. My blood pressure was good and I never got gestational diabetes (even though my doctor was convinced I was going to get it

I do think there are some women out there who use pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever they want and end up gaining 70 or 80 lbs. That's just not healthy and their doctors have a duty to talk to them about it.

Trena said...

I won't say how much I gained during pregnancy, despite the fact that I ate (healthily) like a house. However, I was slightly overweight to begin with and was constantly paranoid that my Dr's office would make some comment about the numbers where my weight was hovering. I finally brought it up and the response that I got (which is one of the many many reasons that I love their office) was that I really didn't need to worry about it as long as I was eating healthy and taking care of myself.
It just floors me the constant pressure even when pregnant that we as women are supposed to look a 'certain' way. Can I just say that being really honest, when I was hugely pregnant was the first time in a long time that I have honestly really liked my body and felt good about myself and the way that I look? It was so nice to be able to focus on growing this whole other person instead of obsessing about trying to look like something that would take many weeks of deprivation and starving to acheive.
Personally, I love looking at pregnant women (not in a creepy way) because I'm just so in awe. I can't wait to be able to appreciate my curves and my body again on the next go round.

Swistle said...

D.H.-- *breathing deeply to keep from exploding with rage* My mother-in-law says that her aunt was told by the OB not to gain more than 15 pounds because "the baby would get too big." My m-i-l says she remembers her aunt pacing in the kitchen and crying because she was so hungry. *back to the deep breathing*

Kelsey said...

Sigh. I almost can't even comment about this because weight is such an issue for me. Has been for a very long time. . . I managed not to get obsessive about it when I was pregnant, my doctor wasn't worried. I ate when I was hungry, didn't try or not try to gain. It was fine. Then I lost most of it pretty quickly after Harper was born. Now she's well over two and I have almost gained it back. . . without a baby! How embarrassing is that?

And yes, people who only gained 10 pounds when pregnant should never ever ever tell anyone else about it!

Amy said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting.

So far, I've only read one of your posts (this one), but it was enough to make me say "I love you".

penny said...

I am an ecological risk assessor (it's true, such a profession exists). In my profession, we have to estimate food intake for birds based on body weight.

The EPA model that I use to estimate intake assumes that the smaller the bird, the higher the metabolism. Thus, a tiny bird must eat great hordes of food. Never mind that tiny birds have tiny stomachs and that there are LIMITS to what they could possibly forage in the real world, much less time spent eating as opposed to breeding and migrating and so on.

Nevertheless, the EPA model is the only model that exists. So we risk assessors routinely report on robins eating 5 times their body weight to maintain normal metabolism, even though there wouldn't be enough earthworms on the planet to support the robin population based on what our model says.

This whole experience rang vaguely and uncomfortably familiar while going to my prenatal appointments. And this is because doctors have only one model: gain very little weight. There are no other variables to consider here, except maybe multiples = slight more weight, and heavyset = maybe a few pounds less.

Thus, in an ideal ob/gyn world, those women who are extremely short, fat and inactive even before getting pregnant will be the healthiest during their pregnancies because they will likely gain the least weight.

As a tall, thin runner who couldn't run during her pregnancy because her knees hurt too bad, this idiot piece of logic really annoyed me.

I can see that it annoys you as well.

penny said...

...and, because I can't edit my previous post, I just wanted to add that the point of the story was that the bird model and the pregnancy weight gain model defy logic, yet are routinely used because no other model seems to exist.


that's what I wanted to add.

Damn blog-without-edit-ability.

nowheymama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Dude, you ROCK. I don't know what you thought was wrong with this post. I loved every second of it!

el-e-e said...

best rant I ever read!

jen said...

I could have written erica's post! (minus the complications) endless glucose tests, surely I have diabetes, I'm FAT, duh.

This time I'm scared to gain more than 20 lbs which shouldn't be hard since I didn't gain much more than that with my other two.

With my first, I followed their diet plan, exercised, and took care of myself. I gained 30 lbs (but 10 of that was gained in one very hot day - it was all water) I lost it all and then some within 3 days of delivery.

With my 2nd, I ate orange soda and kraft macaroni and cheese a LOT more than I should have, and generally got into some bad eating-all-day habits. But I only gained 25 lbs and lost all of it plus 10, within a week.

But, it slowly crept back up and I don't even want to think about it anymore. I want to try not to gain more than 20 lbs but I will not go to extremes that might hurt the baby.

FWIW I have never had any doctors at my current practice say ANYTHING to me about my weight - pre or duruing pregnancy. Ever. They were all very nice and respectful to me. Never once did they utter anything starting with the words "because of your weight..."

Trina said...

I ended up with gestational diabetes so I was on a "diet" (aka NO SUGAR!!!) the last half of the pregnancy (which sucked because I was craving sour patch kids the whole time) to make sure the baby wouldn't have complications. Anyway I didn't gain too much because of it but I never, ever, ever tell a pregnant woman that she is HUGE and I want to slap people who do.

My MIL was told she could only gain 30 pounds when she was pregnant with the twins. Could you IMAGINE?!?!?!?! She told them to F off. :) She is awesome like that.

Sundry said...

Right ON. This is awesome, and I can't believe you thought anyone would find it tedious. AWE. SOME.

During my pregnancy I remember certain foods tasting so unbelievably *wonderful*, they were satisfying like they've never been before or since. And sometimes those foods were Cheetos. Clearly, the BABY NEEDED CHEETOS.

It was sort of an amazing stage for me in terms of self confidence, I felt healthy and good about my (rotund) body, almost for the first time in my adult life, even when I was the size of a narwhale towards the end.

As you know we're trying for a second child, while I'm also in the midst of Diet Hell trying to LOSE some weight. I hope that if we're successful, I'm able to put aside the body image stuff and just focus on a healthy, growing pregnancy. With Cheetos.

Sara said...

LOVED the rant! LOL! I had the opposite problem as nowheymama, at 6 months pregnant people were swearing I was either due any day, or carrying at least two babies. I gained about 50lbs with each pregnancy, and dropped (most of) it after each baby with nursing. I think that I gained almost exactly the same amount with each of 3 kids does show there is a specific tendancy for each person as far as natural weight gain goes.

Devan said...

have I told you I love you?

I gained 50 lbs the first time around and I'm about 34 weeks pg now and have gained 30-ish lbs so far. My MIL comments every.damn.time. I see her. She wants to know if my dr is concerned that I'm SO big and have gained SO much weight. (my dr has never commented at all...)

I can't say I feel beautiful when I'm up so many pounds, but it is what it is.

Michele said...

Great rant. No excuses necessary!

I think your body does what it needs to and any intervention, whether self-directed or MIL induced is going against what your body knows it needs.

I was 100+ overwight when I got pregnant with my twins. I asked the doctors in my practice how much they expected me to gain and they said all they cared about was that I felt good and that the babies grew appropriately. MY BP was good, I never had GD (despite three different glucose tests) and I ended up gaining only about 24 lbs by the end, and had a net loss of 25 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight a week after the boys were born. I felt great the entire pregnancy and my boys grew right on schedule and were 5 and 6 lbs at birth (36 weeks scheduled c-section)
I never worried about my weight.
I ate what I craved - and luckily for me, I craved grapefruits and tomatoes and yogurt and oatmeal and asparagus and baby spinach and chicken and milk. And Tastycakes, microwave popcorn and chips and salsa and a cheeseburger once a week too.
I think the only thing people should ever say to a pregnant woman is that they look great. And then give them Tastycakes and a foot massage.

Black Sheeped said...

I haven't had a kid yet, but my pregnant friends have heard all kinds of horrible "you're huge!" comments, from friends and family and strangers. It seems so awful. Hooray for Swistle's rant!

Shelly said...

When I got pg I decided to let my body be my guide and not worry about weight. My body apparently took that as a sign to go nutty. I gained 85 lbs - I went from 125 to 210. Thankfully everyone in my life was supportive and non-judgmental and no one in my OB's office ever said a word about my hugeness. Even though I was enormous, I didn't mind because I knew I was big for a reason. I certainly didn't feel graceful or beautiful, but it really wasn't that bad. As Devan said, it is what it is. Now I would not recommend the 85 lb weight gain b/c it's a bitch to get it all off (still working on that), but in all honestly I'm not sure I would have done it much differently.

Tessie said...

This was just...YES. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

I am embarassed to admit that I obsessed about my weight somewhat during my pregnancy and I regret that. It seems to me that the most common pregnancy regret is over-concern about weight, and that is just so sad. It is just so rarely an issue after the fact and yet it seems SO important at the time.

I join you in seething with rage at the generation who prides themselves on gaining little or nothing. I have a friend who got pregnant in college and didn't know until she was 6+mos.She went on a strict diet thinking she was just "fat". Her baby was born with severe birth defects and learning disabilities and she blames herself. Of course, there is no way to know if there is cause-and-effect there, but you have to wonder.

I know I would rather err on the side of "mom gets too much, baby gets enough" than the other way around.

theflyingmum said...

xxocoMy doctor was concerned about my weight gain, but when I told him what I was eating he suggested a little walking rather than no eating. I don't really like walking so I swam 3 times a week instead. The weight gain didn't stop - apparently that's just what my body needed to do - but I was in better shape than I had ever been in my whole life. I was greatly appreciative of the arm exercise alone when I was handed my 10 lb baby boy!
OK, my point is, that there is absolutely no way any doctor can definitively know what your body "should" be doing. And I really resent being made to feel inadequate when I am already feeling freaked out by the whole experince of growing another person inside of me, let alone what's gonna happen once he's BORN! If it's gonna help you cope, I say bring on the cookies.

Beth Fish said...

Amen. I gained about 30 pounds, and my MIL spent the entire time commenting on how fat I was and telling me she only gained 8 pounds when she was pregnant. She acted like it was a big joke, but it definitely was not. I finally told my husband that he could either tell her politely to cut it out or I would tell her exactly where she could shove it. I don't know what he said to her, but it shut her up for good.

gabby said...

So I agree with the whole it depends on your body thing. I didn't gain a lot (by great surprise), but I cannot lose what I did gain, either, 7 months after the fact. Something I'm most definitely bothered by.

However, I did want to slap the random guy who told me (I was about 30 weeks and hadn't gained a lot at that point) that I needed to slow down because I was "already bigger than my daughter days before she gave birth!". Ick. Just ick of varied degrees. No one's business. No comments except how beautiful the pregnant women is are acceptable.

Tessie said...

I also wanted to agree with the other commenters who said that absolutely the only thing you should EVER say EVER to a pregnant women re: her appearance is "you look great". I'm sure we're all preaching to the choir here, but this just seems like such a "duh" rule-yet it has CLEARLY not yet been embraced by the masses.

Blueberry and the Bean said...

i gained around 35 pounds (i was probably 20 pounds overweight when i got pregnant though so it seemed like even more to me). BUT i felt GREAT and i LOVED my belly. i had close friends tease me about my belly but i knew they were teasing so it never bothered me. what bothered me was something that no one else has mentioned yet- strangers comments that i "wasn't very big". i worked i retail and often customers would ask when my baby was due when i would tell them i often got this look of disbelief and some version of "well you don't look very big." it wasn't said in a nice way either- it always sounded accusing, like they felt i was doing something wrong. i could have been that i was just over sensitive because i was pregnant (hormones akkk!) but i always felt terrible after this type of encounter. why couldn't they have said "you look great!" or even better "you look beautiful"? my husband's explination for these comments did make me laugh though- he claimed that my brests had gotten so large that they made people percieve my belly as smaller than it actually was. what a hoot!
people just need to think before they open their mouth. end of story! :)

Jennifer said...

Spectacular post!!! The comment about the doctor not "allowing" their patients to gain more than 15 pounds....omg!

I haven't paid any attention to how much weight I've gained this time. I don't care, I just want a healthy baby.

Anonymous said...

i'm a long time lurker, finally delurking (and late for the post, at that!) to say i'm SO GLAD that people rant about things like this, because it helps me stop being such an asshole without meaning to. i've definitely told pregnant women "my god, you're huge!" but in my naive little head, was thinking only how in awe i was that they had a WHOLE HUMAN inside them, holy shit LOOK AT THAT. i will now shut my darn trap from now on :-)

JMH said...

YOU ROCK!! And I think your body will gain what it needs unless you do something drastic which can , in turn, hurt your baby. For baby #1 I gained 40 pounds. During that pregnancy, I exercised DAILY (step aerobics and yoga-type stretches) but I ate whatever I wanted (oh the FREEDOM to just eat and not care about weight gain!!:)

Baby #2: still exercised, but not daily. Ate a MUCH healthier diet..still gained 40 pounds.

Today, I have 2 healthy and happy kids and it really doesn't matter how much I gained...They are worth every pound :)

spryngtree said...

A viewpoint from the other side of the coin. When I was pregnant with my second child I lost forty pounds. I started out overweight and since I had been pregnant just a short three months earlier my body went haywire and I got GD when I was 4 weeks pregnant (basically as soon as I got a positive) Trying to eat low carb with morning sickness was not good, and then to top it off I got a stomach flu. Plus it seems to be my genetic lot to not be much of a pregnancy mom didn't gain much with me and even my first pregnancy I lost 15 pounds in the first trimester without the low carb thing.

My OB was very concerned and so was I, since the ketones I was producing by losing were not good for the baby or for the GD. For the rest of the pregnancy I struggled mightily to eat enough calories to stop losing, let alone gain. When I gave birth I was 40 pounds lighter than the day I got pregnant. I'd try to join the inevitable weight conversations at the moms group we joined explaining how miserable it had been having to obsess over everything I ate...was I getting enough calories while staying low carb? Instead of the sympathy I hoped for I got "oh I wish I had that problem" Umm, no, no you don't, it was awful.

Plus, you try to force yourself to eat eat eat for 5 months or so and then while you are lactating and starving all the time as a result try and go back to eating what your body normally can sustain. While other women were just magically going back to their prepregnancy weights and bragging about how nursing was getting them back into their jeans sooner than they hoped, I was steadily gaining despite my best efforts and ended up two years later 10 pounds heavier than I was when I got pregnant. It sucked.

I'm now back at my prepregnancy weight and slowly losing finally, but the two years of yo-yoing have turned the GD into Type II. None of that was fun and I think the hardest thing about it was the reaction of my fellow moms who seemed to feel I couldn't understand their concerns about their body image. The truth was I did though, despite having lost my body had totally changed shape and I thought I looked horrible despite everyone praising me about my unintended (and I was pretty sure it was temporary) weight loss.

I'm not ranting at you Swistle, I appreciate what you are saying, and I think its awful that people make pregnant women feel bad about gaining the weight that is normal to gain. But not everyone that mentions that they lost weight in their pregnancy is bragging, some of us just want to be included in the discussion.

Jen - Lance's Wife said...

I loved your rant! I have had 4 kids and with three of them I gained around 40 lbs. Then with my fourth I was so over weight I didn't gain a pound.

My niece is currently 7 months pregnant and all she ever hears from her doctor is to be careful not to gain too much weight! The poor girl is terrified to gain an ounce. I've tried to tell her to eat healthy and not to worry about the weight. I want to smack her doctor for her!

Emblita said...

Great rant Swistle!
I am one of those women who didn't gain much weight during my pregnancy- but not from being paranoid about food, I luuuurrrrvvve food, and candy... and hate dieting with a passion. I started by loosing almost 20 pounds during my first trimester, mostly because my appetite all but disappeared. My appetite remained low my entire pregnancy... and I didn't get any cravings... only disgust towards various things like(why! Oh Why!)ice cream... I mean ... me? Not like ice cream?!!! So weird- I was convinced that I was carrying a health freak child!
So now I've actually gained weight while strange as that may sound, you know because my appetite came back with a vengeance.
So there you go.... my midwife was lovely about the whole thing, she just said as long as I was healthy (and since I had a bit extra to use for creating a child) she wasn't worried.
Now, I am in general, whether we are pregnant or not, against the whole you-must-be-thin-as-a-rail-to -be-beautiful bull! So I say, eat what you need and like... as long as you feel good.

anatomist said...

delurking: i'm so glad you posted this and that i got to read it at this point in my pregnancy. i'm 4 months pregnant and just starting to show a bit. and i've realized those feelings that i have about weight gain aren't going to just go away simply because the gain is for a good cause. it is so good to hear all these perspectives and experiences. maybe i can keep these positive voices in my head while i make my way through the next few months, and maybe i can welcome this growing body instead of worrying about it. so thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Everyone is making me feel pressured NOT to gain, but my midwife wants me to. I eat as much as I want when I'm hungry. There is no way I'm starving myself or my baby. My boyfriend even said he'd like me if I got big. This is totally natural! I eat so crazily, but have only gained 1 pound over my pre-pregnancy weight. I know that it isn't my fault because I've been over eating to try to please my midwife.

Anonymous said...

I'm two years late but want to jump in on this. Love the rant. Well said comments, as well. I'm twenty four weeks along and at my last appointment had only gained five pounds - not because I'm trying to not gain, but because I was working on building a house and wasn't very hungry. Of course now that the busy life of building is over, I want to eat ALL THE TIME. And, I will. If my body is telling me it needs something, I'll do it. I had a lady tell me to be careful because she only gained any weight in the last few weeks of her pregnancy, so I better watch out or I'll over-gain. Um, no sweetie. My body will do what my body needs to do to have a healthy baby and I will let it.

Scarlett said...

So, I know this is ridiculously late in the game, but I love this post, and I think it needs to be added to the Swistle Reference List alongside the Postpartum and "The Facts" posts. This one is surely just as important.

Doing my best said...

As I have mentioned, and mentioned, and MENTIONED (sorry! I'm still traumatized!), I had hyperemesis gravidarum ( for 4 of my 5 pregnancies. This last time, the constant, severe, deathly nausea was so bad that I lost 30 pounds in 3 months! Before I had gotten pregnant, I had thought, "Surely I couldn't have been THAT sick the other times. SURELY I'll be able to 'choke down' (wink, wink) one pint of Ben and Jerry's everyday..." Um, NO. I really HAD BEEN that sick the other times. I could not eat the Ben and Jerry's or See's Butterscotch squares or toast or crackers or cheese or milk or water or anything I usually loved! And MY FRIENDS, people who SAW the IV port residing in my arm, and the bruises from previous IV's, and my gray skin, and me having to lay down all day or I would throw up, MY FRIENDS would actually say things like, "Wow, I wouldn't mind being that sick if I could lose that much weight!" or "Well, it's worth it if you can lose weight!" HOW MESSED UP IS THE WORLD WE LIVE IN THAT IT WOULD MAKE WOMEN FEEL LIKE THAT?! THANKFULLY, my doctor's office didn't have that attitude, even though I was 60 pounds overweight to start with, and when I was finally able to eat enough to gain the weight back the nurse would say happily, "Oh good! You gained again this week!"