It Happened Again
Yes ladies, once again, I had a complete stranger ask me not just my due date, but if I am carrying twins! I personally don't know what would inspire somebody to say this to a pregnant woman, or more, why it would ever seem appropriate. Like most pregnant women, I feel huge. I may or may not be bigger than average, but I sure feel like I am. It of course does not make me feel better to be told, that I, in fact am larger than life.
So, now that I am good and angry, (or hurt and emotional) let me get to my point. I would like to offer research and all that jazz to back up my point, but I am just too tired. However, the point is, what is up with all this pregnancy weight gain stuff! I just recently read a new article on new guidelines for pregnancy weight gain in this country. And, you guessed it- I am over!
Focus on Pounds
Check out the above article to see the new guidelines for appropriate weight gain.
What irritates me about this (besides the fact that I am gaining from 5 to 20 pounds too much) is that there is not one mention of proper pregnancy nutrition. It is all about pounds and calories. You only need 300 extra calories, or you should gain no more than 20 pounds, etc.
What about health? What about greens, vegetables, fats and protein? What about how what we eat affects the health of mom and baby. No No No, we don't want to talk about that! Just tell women they are too fat.
I agree, many Americans are too overweight, but I am afraid the intended message, that it is best to get pregnant when at a healthy weight, is lost when we start giving all women stiff guidelines about what they should be doing!
This is one of my main gripes about medicine in this country right now, the one size fits all idea. You must fall within these parameters or we will have to do xyz to you. You have your babies at 43 weeks? Holy crap! That is dangerous and unacceptable! Who cares about the fact that your mother and all your sisters did the same and had healthy babies. No- you must fit in our box!
I have to say that I once sat in a group of women (they were all Bradley instructors and so ate similar diets during pregnancy, the Brewer Diet to be specific) and we charted on a graph our various pregnancy weight gains. One woman lost weight (about 5 pounds) and then another gained 65 pounds. The rest of us fell somewhere in the middle gaining from 20 to 40 pounds with the average being about 35 or so. All had healthy unmedicated births. Was the average the same as what is recommended? Yes, about, but to get that average there was a wide variety all with good outcomes. And yes, thinner women often gained more weight and heavier women often gained less.
Does it matter though how much weight we gained though? I don't really think so, as long as the weight gained or lost was done while eating the best food for that baby.
Negative Side Effects
It goes without saying that there is a huge culture of fear surrounding childbirth and pregnancy. I recently talked to somebody who was virtually starving herself (and feeling like hell to boot, surprise, surprise) while pregnant because she felt like she was too heavy to begin with. She was happy with the fact that she "hadn't gained any weight" though.
This makes me so sad. I sincerely believe that when we feel sick when pregnant our body is desperately trying to tell us something, like we should eat! When the information put out there by the experts is simply "You are allowed this many pounds based on your BMI" instead of well researched information on nutrition and what a baby needs, we get sick mom's and sick babies.
This is a national tragedy! There is plenty to eat in this country, but we are sick when we are pregnant, often do to the fact because the focus is on pounds rather than health and nutrition.
How to Eat When Pregnant
I use the Brewer diet as my guideline when eating while pregnant. There is a link on my blog or you can go to www.blueribbonbaby.org to check it out.
Basically it comes down to a healthy, well rounded diet. There should be little or now white flour and sugars. There should be about 100 grams of protein a day from healthy sources. You should get fruit, vegetables, greens, vitamin c foods, and healthy whole grains every day. You should eat eggs every day and a baked potato a few times a week. (Yes, eggs and potatoes are actually good for you). You should get healthy fat from butter or olive oil. You should also get dairy if acceptable to your lifestyle. You can salt your food! You can drink lots of water! It is awesome.
What I love about this diet is that I feel great when I do it, it makes for nice sized healthy babies, and it never mentions calories or weight gain. Instead the focus is on getting adequate nutrition. If your body loses weight when you eat like this, that is fine. And if your body gains 60 pounds when eating like this, that is alright too. You are you and your body will do what it needs to do to grow a baby if given the right ingredients.
Confessions of a Fat Pregnant Gal
I admit! I ate chocolate cake today for lunch! I don't eat perfect, and I know I let it go a little when I am pregnant, still I think I'm right about this! Eat well, listen to your body and feed that baby what it needs. Who cares if you are above or below the "experts" guidelines! Who cares if total strangers tell you you look like your having twins, or say "I bet you'll have it sooner than that." What do they know!
I gain 40 + pounds when pregnant. So did my mother, and I have gained the same amount walking three miles a day or drinking milkshakes. It is just what my body does. And I am OK with it, even though it is hard when I walk past a full length mirror.
It is high time we started listening to our bodies and our babies and giving them what they need. We will be better off!