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Pregnancy & Weight Gain

Hi Friends 🙂

Around this time last year I wrote about Pregnancy & Weight Gain Worries. Now that I’ve got a bun in the oven (again) I thought I’d revisit the topic.

A few days ago I found myself feeling a little blue. It could easily be a combo of everything going on in my life right now, but as my belly (and heinie) continue to grow simultaneously, I couldn’t help but feel a little insecure. I remember writing this post last year and decided to reread it. Reading that post brought everything home for me. So much that I decided to repost it.

Here’s what I wrote last year about Pregnancy & Weight Gain:

I’ve gotten many many emails from readers about pregnancy, weight gain, and exercise. All from ladies who want to have a child some day… and from ladies who are pregnant themselves.

Having gone through this myself, I ‘d thought I’d shed some light on the topic.

One of the biggest fears I had when I wanted to get pregnant was how much weight I would gain. Obviously a healthy baby was the number one priority… but the question of wondering what it would do to my body was always there.

If a woman tells you they’re not worried about gaining too much weight… they’re lying.

Here are some common thoughts that can pop up in our head:

How much weight will I gain?

How big will my butt get?

Will I get my old body back?

I want a baby but I feel like I need to lose weight first…

Here’s the deal… pregnancy changes your body. It changes your body in ways that are out of your control. For Type-A control freaks like myself… this can be tough. What I came to realize was that pregnancy itself was preparing me for motherhood.

I remember the day I found out I was pregnant like it was yesterday. I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. We had been trying for so many months that I thought the test was wrong. I quickly drove to the drug store and purchased four more pregnancy tests all different brands. I then proceeded to take test after test. After four positive results… I knew it was true 🙂

One of the things I was concerned about was exercise. I practiced Bikram yoga three times per week and ran an average of 30 miles per week. After talking with my doctor… we both decided that practicing yoga in a 110 degree room was not a good idea. So… I gave my beloved Bikram yoga up for the pregnancy. Next was my running. I’ve been running long distance since I was 17 years old. My doc said if my body was already use to it, it was okay. As long as my heart rate didn’t get too high.

I cut my 6 mile runs to 4 miles and I walked any hills that were in my route. As my body changed, so did my exercise routine. I started doing the elliptical more and found my runs turning into runs/walks. I exercised an average of 4 days per week. As my workouts changed, so did my body. My butt did get bigger… and yes… it bothered me. Let’s be real here… what woman would be screaming for joy that their butt got bigger?!?

I took all the changes in stride. What opened my eyes was a little scare we call pre-term labor. At 5 1/2 months, they put me in the high-risk category due to my small frame. I was given orders. The only exercise I was to do was walking. No more than 30 minutes at a time. All I cared about was having a healthy baby. I remember telling my husband that I didn’t care how big my butt got… or how much weight I gained… All I wanted was give birth to a healthy baby.

This is what I mean when I say pregnancy was preparing me for motherhood. I was putting my needs aside for my unborn child.

I learned so much about body image when I was pregnant.

I realized that having a positive body image of myself is not about what I looked like, but how I felt about myself. This was crucial in my pregnancy since there are body changes that were out of my control. It was also helpful to understand why my body was going through these changes.

In today’s weight obsessed society it is so easy for us to fall into the trap of feeling negative about our body image during pregnancy. Self esteem and respect during pregnancy are as much the result of our feelings toward ourself as they are the way our body looks.

Here are some tips that I found helpful for body image during pregnancy:

  1. Remember that you are carrying the miracle of life within you. No matter how much weight you gain, whether you have acne or not and regardless of the stretch marks pregnancy brings, your body is changing in a remarkable way because you are helping nurture and welcome a new life into the world.
  2. No matter what you think of your body, your baby absolutely adores you. Your baby is nestled deep inside your warm womb. Nothing could make a person happier than that close, intense feeling.
  3. Your body is changing to provide your baby the support he or she needs to grow into a healthy newborn. If your body wasn’t capable of changing and expanding there is no way you could support the life within.
  4. Pregnancy weight gain is a normal and natural process. Your weight gain is as much the result of your increasing metabolism and caloric needs as it is your expanding uterus. As you put on weight you help shield your baby from disease and provide a warm and nurturing home.
  5. Exercise during pregnancy can help improve your body image and help you feel better about your changing shape.
  6. Most women’s breasts grow and expand in addition to their bellies. Enjoy this newfound fertility symptom and revel in your womanly shape.
  7. Most women give off a unique glow during pregnancy. This is the one time in life people will remark on your beauty regardless of how much effort you put into your appearance.

I always made sure to take time to pamper myself during my pregnancy. I got several relaxing pregnancy massages, indulged in some super cute maternity outfits, and got regular pedicures & manicures.

It the end… I gained just the right amount of weight for my body frame and gave birth to a very healthy baby girl.
After she was born, I slowly incorporated exercise back into my life. My body did change… my body is different. I weigh what I did pre-pregnancy… but the funny part is my clothes fit differently. So, my body did change. I’m the same weight, but my body changed shape. The thing is… I’m totally okay with that. My body grew another human being inside of me. The miracle of life was worth every change 🙂

Being pregnant this second time has been very different from the first. I still feel some insecurities, but nowhere near the fist pregnancy. I learned so much the first time around and am so grateful for that!

Question of the Day?
What are your thoughts on gaining weight during pregnancy?

20 Responses

  1. Nicole @ Making Good Choices said on March 3, 2011 at 6:53 am

    Great post! I’m sure I will be dealing with many of these things when I’m lucky to get pregnant and I will be rereading this! 🙂

  2. Jen @ keepitsimplefoods said on March 3, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Great post! Very informative for us who don’t yet have kiddos.

  3. Amanda said on March 3, 2011 at 7:57 am

    This is such a great post. Pregnant women all around should consider you a role model because your heart is in a good place. All that matters is a healthy mommy and baby…and weight gain is healthy. Stay motivated because you are amazing!

  4. Blog is the New Black said on March 3, 2011 at 8:02 am

    I’m certainly not pregnant, but hope to have children some day. This is a great post about keeping things in perspective. Love your candidness! You are a role model of a great mom and a picture of healthy living!

  5. Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) said on March 3, 2011 at 8:53 am

    This was a great post Estela! I second all of it. It is hard mentally and physically, but you have to keep your eye on the prize. Hang in there…remember it is just a small part of your life. You can do anything for a little bit, right?

  6. C@TheGiacobbeDiaries said on March 3, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Later this year the hubbs and I are hoping to get pregnant. Right now my focus is on losing wait in preparation for a baby. (I swear marriage caused me to gain 30lbs!) But I am nervous of how much I will gain when I am pregnant. I would to gain just what my body needs for a healthy baby but not too much that I will hate the way I look. I love this post and hope you post more on the topic especially for us hopeful moms-to-be who haven’t had the experience yet!

  7. Lauren at Keep It Sweet said on March 3, 2011 at 9:13 am

    I am still a few years away from having a baby, but this is already something I have thought about. I am so glad you posted this and it is a great reminder of what the most important part of being pregnant is really about.

  8. Allison said on March 3, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Oddly enough, for all of my many, many body and weight issues, it just wasn’t something I worried about when I was pregnant. I think the hormones just made me more relaxed. With both of my kids, I lost weight in the first trimester with both kids, so when I started gaining, I just felt like I was getting back to where I should be. I had a much harder time loosing the weight with the second pregnancy though and definitely felt bad about it. I was pregnant over the holidays and definitely used that as an excuse to over indulge. With my first pregancy, I did body pump until I was 8 months pregnant, but after my son born I didn’t get back into the weights, which made it harder for the second go round.

  9. Liz @ IHeartVegetables said on March 3, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Someday… very far down the road… I’ll remember this and it will come in handy 😉 but I hope that day is not for many years! hahaha

  10. cassie said on March 3, 2011 at 10:36 am

    i love this post.. i just had a baby in January and i have to say that while i am super obsessed about my weight (i’m not the skinniest girl :-), when i was pregnant i didn’t worry to much about weight gain. it took my husband and i so long to get pregnant that i just wanted to focus on having a healthy baby. i did watch what i eat, but i tried really hard to not let myself focus on weight gain. congrats on your bundle of joy.. wish you all the best..

  11. Erin said on March 3, 2011 at 10:41 am

    Great post. I have a small frame too (5 ft, 112lbs pre-pregnancy) and am pregnant with twins! This is my second pregnancy, and I too feel a little more comfortable about gaining weight this time around. You just have to keep your eye on the prize and put your babies’ needs above your own. Good luck with everything!

  12. Elizabeth @cucinagirl said on March 3, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Beautiful post. I’m not pregnant now, but we’re moving that direction in the next year or two. Strangely enough this issue has been on my mind the past week or so…Thanks!

  13. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman said on March 3, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    I’m so far from being pregnant anytime soon but when I thought I was ready, and before my health took a turn for the worse, I was definitely freaked out about this. I remember this post and loved it just as much now as I did the first time.

  14. emily (a nutritionist eats) said on March 3, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Love the truth in this post! I’m sure everyone feels that way, but feels bad about feeling bad about gaining weight since they are pregnant!

  15. Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} said on March 3, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    You’re so right–every woman worries on some level about weight gain during pregnancy. My biggest fear was that I wouldn’t stay within the “normal” guidelines the doctor gives you. Turns out I gained exactly 35 pounds. Right at the top of the guidelines, but at least I wasn’t over! 🙂 Not that I think it’s terrible to gain more than 35 pounds, I just wanted to stay within the 25-35 pounds my doctor suggested.

  16. Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} said on March 3, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Oh, and as a flat-chested mama I wanted to add that #6 was the best perk ever! Totally made up for the big butt. 🙂

  17. Marci said on March 3, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    That is a great post to remember for me, the never been pregnant but hopefully one day soon, reader. I’m worried about all of it.

  18. Joanna Sutter (Fitness & Spice) said on March 4, 2011 at 5:40 am

    I’ve never had a baby but I can imagine I’d feel the same range of emotions that you’ve experienced…joy, insecurity, acceptance, and when he/she arrived…Bliss!