Copyright © 1996-1997 Kmom@Vireday.Com. All rights reserved.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. Consult your health provider.
"I'm going to look like the Good Year Blimp! How can I possibly add so much weight to my present frame?"
Most large women do not gain weight in pregnancy like an average-sized woman, barring complications and recent dieting. Part of a smaller woman's weight gain is to have fat reserves for energy during labor and for nursing. Since large women already have these reserves, they tend not to gain as much, although there are no guarantees. Doctors and pregnancy books usually recommend a weight gain of 15-25 pounds for women who are 'overweight' to start with, but many supersize (or larger mid-size) women gain less (5-15 lbs.) and still have healthy pregnancies. Your health provider will probably not worry about your weight if your baby's growth seems to be adequate. (Some health providers, however, may not know about the patterns of larger women.)
In general, the larger you start, the less weight you tend to gain, though you must be careful to eat properly, exercise reasonably, and consult your health provider to let him/her decide if your weight patterns are adequate. Sometimes a small temporary drop in weight may occur naturally in the first trimester which will return slowly over the next two trimesters, but dieting during pregnancy should never be attempted. Any sudden change in weight, plus or minus, should be reported immediately to your health provider, as it can indicate complications. Regular weigh-ins are a very important part of your prenatal check-ups. If they bother you, take charge of the process by doing it yourself with the nurse watching, or if you are really bothered by it, turn your back to the scale and have the nurse write it down without telling you what it is. Though hopefully this will not be necessary, it is important that each person find her own way to be at peace with this process.
Large women at greatest risk for large weight gains include those who start out only marginally large (within 40 lbs. or so of their 'ideal weight'), those with special complications like pre-eclampsia or significant edema, and those who use pregnancy as an excuse to 'eat for two.' Some larger women who have dieted chronically or lost weight recently may gain extreme amounts during pregnancy, which probably means the 'rebound' phase that often occurs after dieting may be intensified by the pregnancy's need to have adequate fat reserves for later (i.e., if it feels 'starved' after dieting, it may overcompensate during the pregnancy). One mom lost over a hundred pounds before pregnancy, only to gain 80 of them back during the subsequent pregnancy. This can be very dangerous. In addition, diet drugs such as 'fen/phen' and 'redux' are NOT compatible with pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Size-wise, large women gain differently in pregnancy. Some are very obvious early on, but many do not look pregnant even late in the pregnancy. 'Pears' and 'hourglasses' tend to show less than 'apples' but individuals vary a great deal. Many large women do find that they do not look pregnant for a long time, which can be distressing. Be sure to mention loudly to others that you are pregnant, wear obvious maternity styles if desired, and explain to the curious that larger women don't gain in the same way that smaller women do. If you treat it as no big deal, they won't either. Don't worry too much about adding huge amounts to your belly; large women don't gain as markedly there either. You probably won't have trouble with things like seat belts, but remember, late pregnancy is awkward for all women. Be accepting of whatever size you are during pregnancy, and don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it; your smaller counterparts do.
All in all, nature will most likely keep your pregnancy weight gain to a minimum, and may help some (though not all) to drop some additional weight post-partum, especially if breastfeeding. However, the best course is not to aim for any particular range of weight gain, but to eat healthily, exercise, and let nature take care of the rest.
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