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Pregnancy & Weight Gain Worries


Hi There 🙂

Did you have a good weekend? Mine was great! Pretty low key, which is nice.

For my post today I wanted to talk about pregnancy and body image….

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

25 Responses

  1. megan said on March 29, 2010 at 9:33 am

    What a beautiful post! I’ve never been pregnant, but it’s something we’re thinking about in the near future. I’m going to bookmark this and come back and read it again. Thank you for being so open and I love your thoughts on caring for your unborn child 🙂

  2. Jessica @ How Sweet said on March 29, 2010 at 10:17 am

    This is awesome. Will definitely need to be reading this again someday when I’m pregnant!

  3. Kat said on March 29, 2010 at 10:22 am

    I am terrified of gaining weight. My sister gained weight from her pregnancy (obviously) and my mom had nothing nice to say about it. I am so worried of what my mother will say to me. I do want a healthy child, so so so bad. I would gladly gain weight for my child to be healthy, but along the way I will start to dislike my appearance more and more each day. Great post

  4. Danielle (Coffee Run) said on March 29, 2010 at 10:31 am

    I loved this post! I’ve heard college girls talk about never having a baby because they don’t want to get “big” (it’s crazy!!) It’s part of the cycle of life 😀

  5. Anna@ Newlywed, Newly Veg said on March 29, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Wonderful post!!! My husband and I are right on the brink of getting ready to start trying…not quite yet, but probably in the next six months or so. I have to admit, the thought of body changes and weight gain has been weighing heavily (haha) on my mind. You’re absolutely right– the important thing to remember is the miracle that is happening INSIDE your body, as opposed to fixating on the changes that are going on outside of it.

  6. Gelareh @ Nutritious Foodie said on March 29, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Great post, very informative. I have to admit the thought of gaining weight and getting back to my current size freaks me out a bit.. but at the same time it is not by any means a reason for my not to have a baby (eventually :))

  7. Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries said on March 29, 2010 at 10:53 am

    FANTASTIC post!

  8. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman said on March 29, 2010 at 11:18 am

    This was awesome. As much as I hate to admit it, the weight gain/body change aspect of getting pregnant scares me. I think it has a lot to do with celebrities and their post-baby bodies. I’m not one who usually feeds into the hype around celebrity weight loss, but that one really gets to me because you’re going to gain weight when you’re pregnant. And you see these women who have had babies that look just as skinny as before. Did their hips not widen? I worry about that—the change in body shape or whatnot—more so than the weight gain. And I fear I’ll compare myself to celebrities after having a baby. I’m so relieve to hear you love your body just as much now as before.

  9. Nicole, RD said on March 29, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    So sweet 🙂 I definitely worry about getting pregnant and gaining too much weight. Or worse yet, failing my glucose tolerance test (there’s the diabetes professional coming out!)!! I worry about stretch marks and further damaging my already loose skin. I’ll never have a bikini body, but I’d sure love to see single digit clothing sizes forever!! Great post, Estela! It’s wonderful to hear all the positive sides of baby weight and body changes… and becoming a mommy.

  10. Ameena said on March 29, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I was totally terrified to gain weight and I seriously cried each time I had to go up a size. But all my worries were really for nothing because I only gained 19 pounds, I barely showed, and literally the day after Maya was born I was back in my regular clothes.

    So glad to hear your story too Estela!

  11. lynn @ the actors diet said on March 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    i can’t wait to be pregnant. i plan to embrace it all.

  12. Kalli@fitandfortysomething said on March 29, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    first of all i wanted to tell you i made you cookies from your last post and loved them. my hubby had just gotten back from a 5 hour bike ride and he loves to eat healthy but i knew he needed something fun and satisfying. thanks for a great recipe!
    about pregnancy, i have not had kids and am not planning any. you were very thorough in your post though and hit on a lot of good points 🙂

  13. Emily (A Nutritionist Eats) said on March 29, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Love this post and can’t wait to have a baby someday!!!

  14. Heather (Heather's Dish) said on March 29, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    this was just what i needed to read – but i think you knew that already 😉 I’m definitely scared of changing, but I agree that it’s a miracle of life and such an amazing phenomenon. i shouldn’t be scared! 🙂

  15. katie said on March 29, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    WOW you are awesome!! i can not wait to have kids-so thankful you wrote this and addressed this topic..thank you!

  16. Jess (Fit Chick in the City) said on March 29, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. I’m not planning on having kids in the very near future, but hope to some day.

  17. Mo@MommyRD said on March 29, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Great post! It just goes to show, that we need to love and trust our bodies. Thanks Estela!

  18. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said on March 29, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Estella, beautiful post.
    “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.”

    pretty much everything you said, i could say an amen to. I read your commetns and it’s sad that women on here without babies are scared to gain weight. I was too, but the desire to have a baby outweighed all of that. And not to sound like a brat, but look at me now, my body is totally fine. If you dont eat everything in sight and gain 80lbs or something crazy, your body will mostly, very likely, snap back to something pretty close it was before. Take care of yourself and youll be fine is my .02

    And you just grew a life in your body. So if it’s not perfect, oh well. Your baby is perfect!

    And nursing, that’s my hot button. I am a lactation educator and am so passionate about nursing and women tell me they wont nurse b/c they dont want to mess up their breasts…hello, i nursed skylar for 3 years! and mine are not messed up. Nature takes care of itself.


  19. The Candid RD said on March 30, 2010 at 7:29 am

    This is such a touchy subject. You handled it well. I have run into some overweight pregnant women who act like it’s their duty to eat for two. I find it hard to tell them that’s just not the case, for anyone, especially if you are already overweight and/or obese! They get offended sometimes but it’s such a serious issue. If oyu gain too much you can put your child at risk for so many problems down the road, it’s just not worth it.
    When I was anorexic I could never imagine getting pregnant and gaining weight. Now that I am better, I can’t wait to become pregnant! When the time is right, I would take full advantage of pregnancy and will love my body, not matter what. I’m ready to have a big butt! Bring it on 🙂

  20. Shannon said on March 30, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Thank you for this post! I agree with everything you said. I am 13 weeks pregnant and just blogged about my first belly pictures yesterday. It is a strange feeling to feel bigger in a place that has never been big before. But I am at peace with gaining weight. I just want a healthy baby. I’m still exercising and running. My doctor gave me the green light and physically, I can still do it. It helps a lot. Thanks for such a timely post!

  21. said on March 30, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Great post! I am smallish too, only 5’3. I gained over 50 lbs when I was preggo, I was huge. But you know what? I didn’t eat like crazy and I worked out 4 times a week, so it was what my body needed. AND I lost all the weight and a few more lbs within 6 months. It is scary to get so big, but you are right, you just don’t care after awhile, you just want a healthy baby.

    I too was distance running and I ran a half marathon when I was 4 months pregnant, then scaled my long run down to 6 and eventually, by about my 7th month of pregnancy I was just using the elliptical, mostly b/c it was cold out and I hate the treadmill. Most docs agree that you can work out as hard as you were before as long as your body temp doesn’t rise too high.

    I miss my big ol preggo belly sometimes. I don’t miss my big ol preggo butt though, lol.

  22. Courtney said on March 30, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I love being pregnant, but I tend to stress about wondering if I am gaining too much. I feel good about myself, but the numbers I see on the scale scare me. This is my third so you think I wouldn’t stress over it, but I do. Thanks again! This was much needed right now.

  23. Ashley said on March 30, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    We are newly engaged and hence years away from even trying, but I will admit that the weight gain is a concern of mine, especially since I’ve lost 120 pounds — I don’t want an ounce of it back! What a great post!

  24. cassie said on March 30, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    hi.. i just discovered your blog and really like.. this post is so timely and relevant for me as my husband and i are trying now and i’m definitely nervous about weight gain, as i’m not the smallest girl… thanks so much for all the great advice and overall inspiriation

  25. Malia said on April 1, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks for this post!!!! I haven’t had a baby yet, but I definitely have baby fever.