A month after my first child was born, I was in a heap of tears & clothing after discovering that my pre-pregnancy “fat” jeans wouldn’t even go over my thighs. I started out at a healthy weight, though I was carrying a bit more than I would have liked. I had gained 50 pounds (much of it water weight since I lost 30 pounds within a few weeks) and I was determined to do better with my next pregnancy. Little did I know that alas, I was not one to gain 20 pounds during pregnancy.
Throughout my pregnancy, I saw many male OBs, and each one harped on my weight at every appointment. I scrutinized everything I ate, thinking that I shouldn’t have eaten that handful of potato chips or whatever “treat” I’d indulged in. When I went over everything I was eating, the OB suggested that I cut out my snack (an apple or nectarine one or two times per day) because “pregnant women’s bodies love fruit.” I was nervous every time I stepped on the scale, trying to make my appointments in the morning, choose the lightest clothing possible and not drinking anything before hand to avoid the “tsk tsk” I was bound to get. I didn’t know what to do. I was eating a balanced diet, drinking only water and my only craving was taco salads. When I had them I made sure to eat mostly veggies & only a bit of meat. I ended up losing all the weight and then some (another post on that is to come!) and was in the best shape of my life by the time I became pregnant with my second child. In fact, I had intentionally gained about 7 pounds at my (favorite, female) OB’s recommendation, just to see if my lower body fat was causing my infertility issues.
I was bound & determined not to gain as much weight this time, and literally tracked every morsel I ate. I looked back and thought maybe all my gain with my daughter was from my occasional treats, and after learning more about nutrition, I realized that the whole grain bread I ate for lunch every day was higher in calories than I thought at the time. I ate tons of salads (sans calorie laden dressings and toppings) and my one indulgence was steak. 4-6 oz of lean steak about twice per month. I was consuming the correct number of calories to maintain my weight and growing baby, and continued to stay active, running 4 miles several times per week into my 2nd trimester. Still, the pounds piled on. I mostly saw one of two female OBs that I really liked, but towards the end I wanted to make sure I’d seen all OBs who could potentially deliver my baby. Saw a male OB and again, the “tsk tsk” ing began and the paranoia renewed. At my next appointment I expressed my concern to the OB (who I love, who delivered my son, and who I continue to see for checkups) and she chuckled and said in not so many words that male OBs tend to be like that. That if I gained it “the right way” I would lose it, that she simply isn’t concerned unless there is a flag like a huge gain in a short amount of time, and that harping on weight only serves to make women upset.
I gave birth to my son after having gained about 45 pounds (the photo above of me in black was at 40w 6d in the hospital parking lot in labor, about 3ish hours before he was born.) The weight came off slowly but surely and when my son was 22 months old I was 2 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight (about 9 from the weight before I had intentionally gained pounds.) That’s when I became pregnant with his brother! As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I tend to hang on to weight as long as I am nursing. My milk dwindled and disappeared rather quickly, so I think that 5ish lb loss offset some of my gain with baby #3.
For baby #3 I did midwifery care and self-care and I was worried that at my 10ish week appointment (my first one) I had already gained 4 pounds! Thankfully, the midwife and assistant worked wonders to ease my mind, spending an hour or more going over my history. We concluded that this is just what I gain. I’m eating right and staying active, gaining the weight, and losing it easily. No worries. I’m not a “textbook” 15-35 pound gainer. Big whoop!
With baby #3 I again tracked my intake, and since I was going a more natural route this time, I paid extra attention to my diet. I ate TONS of veggies, dark leafy greens (vitamin K) and little to no “treats.” I had gained 40 pounds at the time of his birth. Within a year I had lost all but the last 5, and am still hanging on to 3-5 now that my son is 22 1/2 months (and still nurses 24/7!) I got down to my pre-pregnancy weight twice – once when I had the flu and again when I had food poisoning. No thanks. 😉 I am confident that I will lose the last 5 as my son gradually cuts back on nursing.
In hindsight, I am angry with myself that I let doctors give me a complex about my weight, and that I spent so much time worrying about it. Be active, eat a balanced, healthy diet and indulge your cravings in moderation. (and by moderation I mean a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s now & again, not a pint every night hee hee.)
Some women gain a lot, some women gain a little (I’ve had friends who were paranoid about the reverse – not gaining “enough.”) Some lose it quickly, some don’t. Restricting calories is not a good idea for a pregnant or nursing mama. Put it on “the right way” and it will come off!
Have you struggled with gaining “too much” or “not enough” weight during pregnancy?