We are all told when we are pregnant that it’s good to gain weight. This means that you are growing a healthy, well nourished baby. We are also told not to gain too much weight because it can put us at risk for certain ailments such as gestational diabetes. Some studies even suggest that women who gain an excessive amount of weight experience much longer labor than their more trim pregnant counterparts.
As someone who has struggled with my weight my whole life, it’s no surprise that with each pregnancy I gained an exorbitant amount of weight. With my first two pregnancies, I ate whatever I wanted. I knew I could get the weight off and I willingly gave in to each craving I had. The number on the scale got up to the same number with each of those pregnancies.
With this third pregnancy, I was surprised that I put on weight the same way. I am much more educated about nutrition and follow a plant based diet. I did incorporate some meat back in the first trimester because I couldn’t kick the craving. I took iron supplements, ate loads of spinach, and I still couldn’t shake it. I still feel guilty about it, but ate some steaks and the insatiable craving for it went away. I guess she needed something that my vegan diet wasn’t giving her, and I’d rather her be healthy than be a righteous vegan. I ate generally healthy throughout my pregnancy, even tallying calories each day in an attempt to not gain too much. It didn’t work.
Much to the dismay of my midwife, the number on the scale got right back up to the number it did with the subsequent pregnancies. I will be honest here. I felt fat shamed by her. I chose to go the home birth route this time to escape the judgements I experienced at the hospital. She would consistently make comments about needing to use the “extra large cuff” to take my blood pressure each visit. She would grill me on what I was eating and how much exercise I was getting. I would pull up my food log and tell her what she wanted to know. She seemed to not believe that some people, regardless of what they do, are predisposed to weight gain. Also, I never presented any physical issues at all. My blood pressure remained consistently perfect throughout my pregnancy. Baby Ruby’s heartbeat was always healthy. I didn’t experience crazy swelling in my ankles or anywhere else other than the weight gain. She just couldn’t understand it, and I felt picked on.
I ended up having a conversation with the midwife about a month before I delivered. I was dreading my appointments at that point because of her comments, although in hindsight I think that’s just her way. I truly believe she was speaking out of concern but it came off in a negative way. I knew if I didn’t speak with her about how I was feeling it would be hard for me to invite her into my home and truly be at ease during the home birth.
It worked. She was unaware of the way she was coming off to me, and quickly adjusted her dialogue with me. I ended up loving her so much during the home birth. She is amazing at what she does.
For anyone who is reading this, I hope your take away from this post is to be nice to pregnant women. Avoid at all costs any comments about her weight. Pregnant women are dealing with enough as it is, and most of us know better than you that we are as big as a house. We don’t need the reminder. A woman’s body is an amazing creation that can do amazing things, like building babies and then nourishing those babies. Let’s focus on the absolute beauty that embodies all pregnant women, and all women for that matter.
I was 25 weeks pregnant in the picture above.
Body pillows are a must for me when I am pregnant. Here is the one I love the most!
QUEEN ROSE Full Pregnancy Body Pillow Originally with Washable Pillow Outer Cover（Sweet B&P）
Edited to add: I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s the summer after I had Ruby. Apparently I’ve had it my entire life, but finally found a practitioner that listens and does the correct tests. At least I have an explanation for my crazy weight gain while preggers!