Pregnancy and Weight

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I so rarely post an entire article here, but I thought this was too valuable.  The article came from a site called www.EssentialBaby.com. When we are currently seeing images of women in skinny jeans showing no weight gain other than the bump that their baby is…or post-baby when they are back to their usual size in 3 weeks, I think it is inevitable that these expectations will leak into the general consciousness. It really is disheartening. Pregnancy is a lush time of learning to love and appreciate your body. I loved gaining weight with Birch. My father even accused me of walking around with my tummy pushed out so I looked bigger. It is hard to not worry about weight gain during pregnancy. No one wants to look "fat", but what is really so appealing about looking skinny during pregnancy either?

Is the pressure on to be thin during pregnancy?

pregnantonscalesTHERE’S
a time in every woman’s life when it’s OK to look fat. Now, I’m not
talking grossly overweight – just pleasingly plump and rounded, a bit
like a ripe and juicy peach.

When I was
pregnant with my two boys, I snatched this time greedily, surrendering
my girlier figure and celebrating my ever-expanding breasts and
Rubenesque curves. My gym membership on hold, I felt liberated at last
from the never-ending quest for the perfect body.

But now
everywhere I turn I see skinny – really skinny – pregnant women. For
these women pregnancy looks very much like the enemy – an invasive
force that threatens the one thing they treasure and revere most: their
skinny bodies.

Far from surrendering to the joy that is pregnancy
and motherhood, these women are determined to keep the fat at bay. You
often see them obsessively exercising in public places. At first you
can’t tell they’re pregnant as they run and pump, sweat, squeeze and
stretch. But then you notice the bump – a small, discreet curve
reluctantly protruding from the latest gym apparel.

The sight of
these women makes my heart cry: "Don’t you know your lives and bodies
are about to change irretrievably and that no amount of jumping and
pumping is going to change that?" Sure, it’s a great idea to exercise
and keep healthy while you’re pregnant, but these skinny women are
taking it too far. Why can’t they just accept the beauty within and
embrace this life-changing period?

Where once-pregnant women
obsessed about the impending birth and which colour to paint the
nursery, today’s very skinny pregnant women are consumed with how much
weight they’ve gained, strategically planning their postnatal
work-outs. With a competitive streak that surprises even their
partners, they boast about the fact they haven’t bought any maternity
clothes and that they’re still wearing that size six pair of designer
jeans.

pregnantfoodIt’s
not surprising, really, considering our size-zero dominated world,
where babies miraculously pop out during commercial breaks and
supermodel mothers squeeze back into their g-strings faster than an
emergency caesar.

Ordinary pregnant women don’t stand a chance – but
we shouldn’t give up. Pregnant women everywhere need to know that
womanly curves are natural and sexy. Remember those iconic sex symbols
of the past? I can’t think of a single stick insect among them. Surely
it’s time to savour the sweet pregnant moment and enjoy the fruits of
our labour – and who the hell gives a damn if we look a littler fatter
while we do it?

Author: Ellie Carew
Date: 02/07/2007
Source: SMH

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6 Comments

  1. I totally agree that it’s dumb to try to stay skinny during pregnancy through not eating enough and over-exercising, but going in the other direction can be dangerous too. Overweight moms have higher rates of problems in pregnancy and complications at birth than those who are a ‘normal’ weight, and losing weight with a newborn is pretty hard so you’re stuck with all that excess weight for a long time. It’s also incredibly bad for you not to do any exercise whilst pregnant – it makes pregnancy harder and can make labour more difficult and increase the need for interventions. I’m not saying you need to do an hour-long workout every day, but using pregnancy as an excuse to eat too much and do very little, as the article seems to be suggesting, is plain unhealthy.

  2. Thanks for that post. I have always been overweight despite working out, eating and being healthy. Getting pregnant was such joyous moment, but I do continue to struggle with obsessively worrying about what I look like, not showing too early, and gaining more/too much weight, then losing it after the baby is born. This article helped me to relax a bit. My joke has been that my curves have been waiting for this moment all my life. Why else would I have been blessed with my already existing curvaceous body? I do wish though that we didn’t all compare ourselves to others and that even those thinner moms didn’t get the opposite comments that thicker people like me get. It’s like you can’t win unless you are the right in the middle, not too thin, not too thick. Ugh! Thanks again!

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  4. This is an old article, but I felt I had to comment.

    I am 21 weeks pregnant (first pregnancy, 26yo) and have gained 17lbs so far. I am constantly being told how skinny I am, even by complete strangers, and that I need to gain weight if I want to have a healthy baby.

    I have been underweight since the age of 14, when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Gaining weight has always been a struggle for me, since most of my life I’ve been ill.

    I agree that the current “skinny pregnancy” trend is ridiculous and unhealthy, but perhaps we should not be so quick to judge people we do not know. I, for one, would certainly appreciate it.

  5. I just want to say that I may be one of those “skinny” pregnant women that you see. I started showing at about 8 weeks, but I’m thin everywhere else. This is not because I am anorexic, work out crazy, averse to weight gain, or anything like that. Unfortunately, I am unable to keep food down due to nausea and, rather than those fun cravings that so many women get, I am only having aversions and heart burn. You are correct in noting, with sadness, the pressure that women put on themselves to be “attractive” or “thin” or “girlish”, but please, don’t judge a book by its cover. Some of us are actually unable to enjoy our pregnancies as much as you are.

  6. Thank you for posting this article. I am pregnant with twins and am showing at 14 weeks. People keep telling me how they never had to wear maternity clothes and just the other day as I was about to eat dinner, a family friend asked me if there were any “weight guidelines” I should be following. I don’t know if she was genuinely interested or inferring something, but seriously people need to understand that Nicole Richie isn’t a typical pregnancy weight and should be reminded that little Kate Hudson and Selma Hyack are more toward the edge of normal. Enjoy it, so long as you’re healthy!!!

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