Some Background Information
Since I am very superstitious and a bit of a worrier (ok, maybe an understatement?), my husband and I decided to wait the full three months to share our news with most of our family and friends. That is also why I waited to start this blog, so now I have to catch you up and fill you in.
I will start by explaining that yes, this pregnancy was planned. Yes, I am a Nutritionist, in the medical field, and I specialize in Pediatric and Pre- and Post-Natal Nutrition. I have studied pregnancy and child-rearing for years. I have counseled numerous Moms and Dads-to-be, new parents, and children on improving their diets to best meet their needs. I have experienced pregnancy attempts, pregnancy, birth, and child rearing right beside many of my close friends who already have kids. I do know, however, that nothing compares to ME going through this miracle myself and watching and feeling my changing body every day. I am excited and nervous all at the same time, with every day presenting itself as a new adventure. I do know that this will make me a better Nutritionist, as I can truly say I understand what my clients are feeling as they embark on their journeys.
Let me share a bit about my personal concern with my weight and my body image. I started taking dance lessons at age 7 and continued through sophomore year in college. Taking tap, jazz, ballet, modern, and pointe along with student teaching sometimes had me at the studio for over seven hours per week. Then there were the weekend competitions, performances, and recitals. So I basically grew up in front of a mirror, constantly aware of my body and those of my classmates. My Mom’s house had tons of mirrors too: all around the kitchen under the cabinets, on the closets, and even the refrigerator was mirrored. This was great for checking out the back of my hair and outfits and perfect for rehearsing my dance routines. In the summer I traded in my tights and leotards for bathing suits. When I wasn’t taking dance lessons, I was at day camp, then a camp counselor, swim instructor, and lifeguard. I was constantly in body-hugging gear. I noticed all changes as I grew up and out and all over, but I was always in good shape and always ate well. A few curves came, and I got used to them. A couple extra pounds would come on, but then I would eat better, and they would come off. I was always very aware of my own body. Yes, there were a few times in my life when I gained a bit of extra weight, for example freshman year of college and my first year at grad school in NYC. But, as I adjusted to new surroundings and situations, my weight always went back to normal.
So, this is the very first time in my life that I will see the numbers on the scale go as high as they will. I am totally okay with the weight gain, because I am fully aware that the baby plus the placenta and all the extra tissue and fluids together add up to the excess pounds. Here is the breakdown:
- Baby: 7-8 pounds
- Placenta: 1-2 pounds
- Uterus: 2 pounds
- Amniotic Fluid: 2 pounds
- Breast Tissue: 2 pounds
- Increased Blood Volume: 4 pounds
- Maternal Tissue Fluid: 4 pounds
- Maternal Nutrient Stores and Fat Tissue: 7 pounds
This all adds up to 29-31 pounds. For an overall general guide, you can use your pre-pregnancy weight to determine your recommended amount of weight gain.
- 25-35 pounds if you are at a normal, healthy weight, BMI 18.5-24.9
- 28-40 pounds if you are underweight, BMI less than 18.5
- 15-25 pounds if you are overweight, BMI 25-29.9
- 11-20 pounds if you are obese, BMI over 30
(To determine your BMI, take your weight in pounds, divide by your height in inches squared, then multiply by 703. For example, if we take someone who is 5’5” (65”) and 130#, BMI = 130/(65×65) x 703, this equals 21.6, putting BMI in the normal range, with a recommended weight gain of 25-35 pounds.)
REMEMBER: Every woman and each pregnancy is VERY different. These are recommendations and guidelines only. Your doctor will help in determining if your weight gain is appropriate.
Yes, I have had the above facts memorized for years, and answered those questions on many exams. I get that I have to gain for the health of my baby and me. That doesn’t mean however, that it doesn’t feel strange or weird because it really does! My body started to feel off immediately.
I have to admit, one of my major concerns was my professional image as a Nutritionist and Trainer. I am a huge believer in practicing what I preach, so I did not want my clients to think that I was NOT following my own advice, and I was gaining weight! But there was no way I was going to announce my news before I got through my first trimester. I started doing the best I could to dress in order to hide my extra weight…that included holding my bag and other objects in front of my stomach on a regular basis (which I later would find out did NOT go unnoticed).