I recently read another mom’s blog post on pregnancy weight gain (and loss) that got me quite upset. The gist was “if you take care of yourself during pregnancy, you won’t gain much weight and you’ll bounce right back after delivery.” I get so tired of statements like this one. It makes me mad when women complain about how “fat” and “big” they’re getting because they gained a whole 25 lbs. When I got pregnant with my first daughter, I was working as a personal trainer. I was in the best shape of my life. I worked out every day for the first 7 months of pregnancy and ate very healthfully. I delivered a week early, 63 lbs heavier. It hurt when fellow personal trainers told me I was getting “huge.” I was doing everything I could do to be healthy and my body just kept hoarding every calorie. The weight came off in about 3 mths with breastfeeding and training for a half marathon, which I ran 8 mths postpartum.
The second time I got pregnant, I decided to take a different approach. The only exercise I did was walking and I ate pretty much whatever I wanted. I gained 57 lbs before I delivered my second child at 38 weeks. The weight has come off much more slowly this time. It’s only been since I started eating mostly vegan this past month that the last few stubborn pounds came off, and my second baby is now 8 mths old.
My point is that your body gains the amount it feels is appropriate for you to nurture and deliver a healthy baby. For some women, that seems to be 15 lbs, but for others, they gain 80 lbs. For my body, that seems to be about 60 lbs, because my lifestyle was drastically different with my two pregnancies, but I gained the same amount each time. I envy women that fit back into their old jeans two weeks after delivery, but at the same time, I have very easy pregnancies (no morning sickness) and deliveries. We are all different and making blanket statements about women’s weight during and after pregnancy is not only callous, but ignorant. I’ll never forget the doctor that told me partway through my pregnancy that I needed to “slow down” my weight gain. I was so upset. The implication was that I must be eating bon-bons and sitting on my butt all day. Obviously if women had a say, they would gain as little weight as possible to have a healthy baby. I am just grateful that my body was able to produce two amazing and very healthy children. Keep the judgments to yourself and be supportive of women that are willing to put their bodies through these dramatic transformations to bring life into our world.