Pregnancy is one of the most challenging milestones that a woman goes through. From carrying the fetus in the body for nine long months to the painful labor and childbirth, the female body has to suffer hardships beyond one can imagine. In many ways the struggles of pregnancy and childbirth are life-changing for most women. And one of such challenges is gaining weight. Though weight gain during pregnancy is part of a normal process, there are limits to how much one should gain. But no matter what, when you see your body gain all that extra weight and you see yourself undergo a sudden change, you are bound to panic and be concerned about it.
Even though weight gain during pregnancy is entirely normal, several women experience anxiety and suffer from depression. There is even a specific term for worrying excessively over pregnancy weight gain and trying to control it, and that’s called pregorexia (1). The behavioral patterns associated with this can be detrimental to your health and your baby’s.
Staying Within The Safe Limit
It is important that you ask your doctor how much weight you need to gain or lose. As a general rule, women who are overweight are required to gain around 15 to 25 pounds. On the other hand, women who are underweight before getting pregnant will have to gain about 28 to 40 pounds during their pregnancy. Women who had an average weight reading before pregnancy will have to gain around 25 to 35 pounds. However, it is essential to know that all of this weight should not be gained at once (2).
In the first three months of pregnancy, you should gain around 2 to 4 pounds. After this, you should gain about 1 pound each week throughout your pregnancy. This will be different in case you are expecting twins or triplets. Consult your doctor to be sure about it (2).
To avoid complications for you or your child, it is best to stay within the safe limit of how much weight you are required to gain. In some cases, if you are overweight and have gained excessive weight, the doctor might suggest healthy ways to lose the extra weight for the benefit of you and your baby.
Why Weight Gain Is Necessary
It might seem like all the weight you gained is going into your belly and buttocks, but here’s the thing — all the weight you gain is going into the development of your little one. In fact, not gaining the necessary weight can put you at risk of having a preterm baby, or your baby might end up being underweight. Of all the weight you have gained, the baby is accountable for about 8 pounds. The rest goes towards the larger uterus, placenta, breast tissue, and fat accumulated for breastfeeding, blood supply, amniotic fluid, and fat stored for the time of delivery (3).
How To Deal With Depression Associated With Pregnancy Weight Gain
Your body is going through a lot of changes, and these changes can be extremely overwhelming. Know that the weight you have gained is not permanent. After delivery, you are bound to lose half your baby weight (4).
Over the next few weeks, your hormones will slowly get back to functioning the way they did before pregnancy. It is essential to talk to your doctor about your worries. This can also help the doctor figure out if you are suffering from prenatal depression. If yes, your doctor can help you out through this difficult time. Talk to your family and friends about how you feel and seek their support. Do not cut back on food, as both you and the baby require nutrition. It is good to incorporate a good workout routine, so ask your doctor about a few exercises that can work for you.
Rising Above Body Image
It is quite natural that we identify with our looks and appearance and for many, how we groom ourselves. So when there is a sudden change in the very way our bodies look, our level of confidence can take a hit. The clothes that always fit us perfectly now all of a sudden would be rendered useless and we’ll have to switch to bigger sized clothes which we probably never related with. It’s totally possible that you might have to move on to an entirely different fashion and way of dressing compared to what you have been doing all your life. All these would only further add to our woes.
But during such trying times we should never forget one thing. It is mostly our own selves rather than other people who put ourselves through such pressure. In our minds the thought of “What would people think?” keeps running when no one is judging us other than ourselves. So, if you have the notion that people would judge you for carrying some extra weight that too when you are an expecting mother, better get rid of it. It would definitely take a while before you get comfortable with such a sudden change, but be patient and try to love this amazing plus extraordinary moment of your life. And not to forget all the good things that accompany pregnancy. Though the hardships of pregnancy can be many, you can also expect certain plus points. Some of these are good blood circulation, glowing skin, supple breasts to name a few. And add to this, the joy of bringing a part of you into this world and getting the opportunity to be a parent.
You should remember that you are a strong woman who is about to bring a new life to this world. Weight gain during pregnancy is a given, but that does not mean you have to feel bad about yourself. The weight you gain is not going to stay forever, and with the proper diet and exercise after delivery, you can get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. Have you been facing the same challenges during your pregnancy? Comment below and let us know how you’ve been dealing with it!
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