Gaining weight in pregnancy need not be the head f**ck that many people like to make it out to be.
If you are pregnant, or have been pregnant in the past, you will know too well how the patience wears slightly thin, when the first comment of almost every person you greet becomes fixated on how you look, and how you are ‘sizing up’, to societal norms. I have to admit there are days I find this less irritating than others, pending how tired I am. Only last week I had someone ask me to turn around, and subsequently question whether I was a size 6 or a size 8. I mean, WTF world do we live in, where this is an acceptable comment to make to someone trying their best to grow a human life, It speaks volumes about the values of person asking such questions ........
I am naturally a more introverted person, and very much try and go under the radar ‘most of the time’. I struggle with the overwhelming external analysis and judgment of the size of my body, whether this is meant as a compliment or not. I’d just much rather someone ask me how I am feeling, or credit my capabilities, than to tell me I look a certain way as a priority. Don't get me wrong everyone loves a compliment, but I kind of feel it just has a bit more depth to enquire a little more about the persons feelings, than aesthetic,s from the outset of when you speak to someone..…
That said, I also take account that using social media in the way I do, and working in the fitness industry, makes me a bit more of an open target for this sort of thing. I also know that for the majority of the time, regardless of how people phrase things, ‘most’ mean well with their intentions, despite their lack of boundaries or perhaps ill considered comments. I am realistic- we live in a world where external looks kind of trump the internal soul a lot of the time....sad but true.....
So if you can relate to this- currently struggling with pregnancy weight gain- heres a few musings to any nearly mums out there, in how to manage the constant ‘sizing up’ of your pregnancy.
Ditch the Comparisons and leave that to everyone else.
Every female differs in how their bumps are ‘displayed’ on their body, and how big their baby is, and how they hold other extra fluids, and the growth of their organs. Some people will have longer torsos so their bump may appear smaller. Other smaller people may hold their bump’s in a different way. It may protrude out to the front a little more, or to the side. Just like life, everyone is different.
Comparing your bump with another female who has completely different proportions to you is futile, and unhelpful. If someone comments on this, and it makes you feel uncomfortable a great response is to make the point that ‘other women are likely to also have a very different sized uterus to you….’ ****** this is a particularly helpful comment to say to men (as soon as a female organ is mentioned they usually back off). Truth be told thought, bump size is only a 1/3rd baby. See next point below.
Keep Weight Gain in Perspective. My advice ditch the scales (unless a medical practitioner advises you not to)
The reality of pregnancy is you will gain weight.
But remember the size of the baby accounts for only around 1/3’rd of the weight you will put on (and this includes the placenta + amniotic fluid).
The other 2/3 rds of any weight gain, accounts for the wide and wondrous bodily changes, which help grow and sustain life.
-The muscle layer of the womb (uterus) grows dramatically and can weigh around an extra 2 lbs.
-Blood Volume increases, and can weight around 2-3 lbs.
-Extra Fluid can account for around 2-3 lbs
-Breast growth can increase by up to on average 0.9lbs
-Finally YES, fat gain will also account for some increased weight. This stored fat is aimed at giving you energy for breastfeeding, and of course looking after your baby.
This is why pregnant people can still look pregnant after baby is born- until the body adapts!
When you look at figures here, you can see why the numbers on scales will not give you a breakdown of what is going on inside you. I have not weighed myself throughout my entire pregnancy. A nurse weighed me at the beginning and to be honest as my babies growth has been spot on throughout, they have never bothered weighing me since. I honestly couldn't give a sh*t about a number on a scale which gives me no real information regarding the above. What I do give a sh*t about is that my baby is growing and I feel well and as strong and relaxed as I can. Pregnant or not, I find anyone who focuses on ‘figures’ excessively regarding their physique, usually has some issues around the way they view health.
Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable, and hold the bump in the best position.
Now this isn't about hiding the bump away, Its about getting the right support for the increased load on your posture. I have tried a number of bands supports with varying success.
I have found these leggings by Fitta Mamma A M A Z I N G for exercise.
I also tried physio tape too (which was a god send when I had bad sciatica- be warned though whatever tape you put on has to come off…..I made the mistake of basically taping a whole outfit onto myself overlooking this…and yes ouch)
If there is one thing you want to look after with any extra gain in weight its your posture. Also If you hold yourself well you will feel more confidence.
I have exercised throughout my entire pregnancy (I stopped documenting it so publicly as much, as to be honest, I began to feel overwhelmed with the negative attention I was receiving) - I get comments in the gym almost every time I go in. I get stared at , and I get told how uncomfortable i make other people feel. What people don’t usually ask, and in fact what I would always welcome is a discussion over the methods I choose to train myself in, what I am doing, and why. Every exercise I do is chosen specifically for my body, and my pregnancy. I exercise for blood flow, and to keep my posture as strong, and stable as I can. This is now a huge focus of my training as this counters other negative effects of pregnancy which I have suffered badly with, (pelvic pain and sciatica).
I wont offer generic pregnancy fitness advice as it is a whole world of opinions, which I am not willing to engage in - but if there is one area I would recommend you focus on during pregnancy exercise- its your posture. This isn't about fat loss. This is about allowing yourself to stand tall, with confidence, pain free, and move around as comfortably as you can, holding the new life inside you safely, and providing them with the benefits of being as strong and as mobile as you can.
Know that your bump will change throughout the day.
The size of my bump looks entirely different throughout the course of a day. So much so, I can be told I am ‘tiny and don’t look pregnant’ at lunch, swiftly followed by ‘are you having twins’, by dinner. Feed me some carbs and my tummy expands. Dehydration - yup -you’re gonna swell. Knowing this can help keep things in perspective that changes are temporary.
To combat swelling (common in third tri)- keep hydration up (if you aren't a fan of water herbal teas-watery veggies - SuperSlaws (of course)- juices etc etc)— try a little Magnesium (I take a supplement and sometimes use the lotion on my legs at night- check this with your medical adviser first)- Massage can help- Also light gentle cardio- I use cardio now purely to combat water retention, (and a great space to listen to my hypnobirth app too, I find long periods of cardio dull, so it adds a little zen …..)
Hope you find this helpful- if you are pregnant or know someone who is - tag- share the preggo love- And know that whatever you are doing- you are doing a GREAT JOB- of growing a whole human being- that is a feat not to be scoffed at (whatever the size of your bump….)