Want to know something about pregnancy that no one tells you? It’s a world of judgment. We put so much emphasis on how celebrities look when they’re pregnant, so is it any wonder that we would also fall under such scrutiny?
Most women are chided for gaining too much weight during pregnancy. Remarks like, “Wow, are those twins?” or “Gee, you look like you’re about to pop!” are rude, not to mention hurtful. But what about women on the skinny end of the spectrum? Believe me, they get it too.
Some women are ultra-thin before getting pregnant. Others are terrified of gaining weight during their pregnancy because of the judgment, only to find that people have other snide things to say when they don’t “look” pregnant ” even after three months. You really can’t win, can you?
How much weight gain is right?
The amount of weight you should gain during your pregnancy depends on you. Always listen to what your OB/GYN tells you. He or she will tell you whether you’re gaining too much or not enough. The rest of what you hear is noise and should be blocked out. The weight you were before becoming pregnant should be used as a general barometer for how much you should gain.
Generally speaking, if you’re underweight before pregnancy, your doctor is going to tell you to try to gain a bit more. If you’re at your ideal weight when you get the good news, your doctor will tell you what is the normal range for your weight. For those that are overweight, they’ll be told to watch how much they gain.
Don’t be fooled by myths
Many women believe that the weight they gain during pregnancy should be only in the belly. That’s not true at all, though. Just as you can’t spot-train to trim down areas you’re displeased with, you can’t just add weight to your belly. Most women find that the weight goes all over. As long as your doctor says your weight and the rest of your stats are healthy, there’s nothing to worry about.
But there is one thing to look out for. If you don’t gain enough weight, you run a greater risk of delivering a baby with low birth weight. It might also be more difficult for you to breastfeed successfully.
Why we’re pushed to thinness?
If you’re skinny and pregnant, you likely didn’t get this way by accident. We’ve all been pre-programmed by society to think that if we don’t look like Victoria’s Secret models, then we’re doing something wrong. It’s a distorted view that has been perpetuated for far too long.
Add to this the long roster of famous women who seemingly stay tiny during their pregnancies, only growing in their bellies, and that intense pressure erodes at us to stay thin at all costs.
But what most of us don’t see is that these women have personal trainers and nutritionists in their corner, controlling their every move and calorie. Some of them are doing it healthfully, ensuring they eat all their vegetables, take in enough protein, and keep moving properly to stay healthy and keep weight under control.
But others are doing what we’re doing too, and that’s a hazardous game to play.
It’s one thing if you want to be thin, but at the cost of your baby’s health, it’s not worth it.
I don’t want to be fat!
Settle down, sister. You don’t need to get fat during your pregnancy, either. You just need to remember that you’re eating for two with nutrients. A proper skinny pregnancy is one where you do not deprive yourself of what you need to eat to keep your baby healthy, and your doctor says your weight gain is on track, and you’re not shoveling down donuts at every opportunity.
On the opposite end of this are those who try to eat everything in sight to gain weight without success. That would be my friend, Liz, who threw up constantly during her first trimester. For both of her children. She couldn’t keep anything down and had to go to her doctor every week to be sure her daughters were born healthy. Thankfully they were.
She wasn’t afraid of weight gain. She just couldn’t make it happen. And that happens to quite a few women, as it turns out.
When should I be concerned?
Whether your concern is for yourself, a friend, or a loved one, the first trimester can be hard for women to gain weight, especially if they enter the pregnancy as skinny people. But when the second trimester rolls around and morning sickness abates, women tend to gain some weight.
Again, if the doctor says the baby’s health is great and your health is, too, there’s nothing to worry about. If you’re avoiding eating or purposely throwing up to stay slim, you must take care of yourself for your baby’s sake. We urge you to get help immediately.
Suppose you’re doing everything to gain the weight your doctor wants you to gain. In that case, you can try a few tricks like adding butter to bread or your plate of veggies, eating peanut butter on whole wheat toast, eating more beans, having avocado toast, or even enjoying a big bowl of ice cream.
Skinny or fat, the baby comes first
As long as you care for yourself and work with your doctor regarding your and the baby’s health, being skinny pregnant isn’t a big deal. It may bother others, though, so get ready for nosy comments. And if you wind up gaining more weight than you wanted while still being a healthy pregnancy weight, don’t stress. Baby comes first, and weight can always be lost.
Leslie Berry lives with her husband and two young daughters in Los Altos, California, where she loves helping other moms get comfortable with motherhood and embracing the insanity with facts peppered with laughs.
She loves eating too much sushi, exercising, and jamming out on her Fender. Read more about Leslie here.