Worried about pregnancy weight gain? Don't be. You'll be just fine.
When I became pregnant with my first baby almost 12 years ago, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I was in the middle of my Dietetic Internship and very consumed with all things nutrition. I wanted to nourish my body the best way that I could. And a big part of that meant gaining what I was “supposed to”. I quickly learned that it wasn’t that simple.
The amount of weight I gained was very much on my mind every single day. In fact, it was suffocating. I gained much more than the “recommended” amount and I beat myself up over it. Every time I stepped on the scale at my appointments, I waited for my doctor to lecture me. But, he didn’t. He was awesome. It was my disordered thoughts about pregnancy weight gain that made me feel horrible about myself. I was a Dietitian after all, I should stay within the “healthy” weight range.
When I became pregnant with my second child, I swore I wouldn’t gain that amount again. Despite staying active and aiming to “eat better” - I gained the same amount. My third and fourth pregnancies were the same too. Except, my nausea was worse. I was only able to keep down one food group – carbohydrates. My sickness lasted deep into my third trimester and I felt miserable. I had absolutely no control over my body. Hindsight is always 20/20. But, if I could go back to that first pregnancy – I would savor it. I wouldn’t spend so much time worrying about my weight.
Pregnancy is a unique and precious time of life. Not everyone gets to experience it. I know firsthand how awful one can feel, it’s tough. But, it isn’t a time to feel horrible about because of a number on the scale. I had an amazing doctor who always reminded me that I was “eating to survive”. He never made a comment about my weight. Even though I was feeling bad about gaining above what was recommended, he did his best to convince me that I was going to be just fine.
Our culture has made us believe that we need to stay within a set range to be healthy. It is important to make sure that pregnant women are gaining enough which allows for an infant to grow and thrive. However, there shouldn’t be such a strict guideline for every single pregnant woman to fit in. Healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Each one responds differently to pregnancy.
If you find yourself worried about pregnancy weight gain, don’t be. Concentrate on staying active enough so that you feel good. Honor your cravings, choose foods that sound good to you, and eat the amount that feels right for your body. Doing so will result in a rewarding and peaceful gestational experience.
Devrie Pettit MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Intutive Eating Group Coaching
Private Nutrition Therapy