Photo from the 2014 Ice Age Trail 50 Miler by Ali Engin. Permission to use header photo must be obtained through Ali Elgin.

"It's better to feel pain than nothing at all. The opposite of love's indifference." - The Lumineers

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Pregnancy weight gain

Thanks to Coty, run forrest and gnome517 for the advice and encouragement in terms of weight gain during pregnancy.

This is a really interesting and difficult topic, I think, because there are just no studies to show a correlation between amount of weight gained and healthiness of the baby. (Other than there is certainly an upper limit). Though, it has been shown that what you eat affects the health of your baby.

It just isn't about you right now, it's about the little person inside you who is depending on you to get it right. 300-500 extra calories a day isn't that much. -run forrest

If I thought that gaining weight at the recommended rate was going to make my baby healthier, I would absolutely do it. But there is NOTHING that I have found to support those recommendations.

My grandmother, who always seemed quite similar to me physically and mentally gained 12 lbs with my dad. He turned out pretty well, though he did have a mustache for like 25 years (but I don't think that was because of lack of weight gain on my grandma's part). Anyway, I have had the perhaps silly goal in my head of 12 lbs the whole time, just based on her. And the fact that I don't want to deal with trying to lose weight while I am trying to learn to be a good mom.

I gotta be honest that I felt like complete crap when I gained 5 lbs the first month of pregnancy. And I feel much better now, though more frequently hypoglycemic. I actually felt like I had diabetes that first month and it was yucky.

Again, I want to consult the medical literature and see if I can find what, if anything, those guidelines for weight gain are based on.

Honestly, I don't understand what your fear is. You can get through pregnancy, gain 20-30 lbs and lose it within months of giving birth. - run forrest

Yes, great point! The fear is probably a bit irrational, but in my mind, most moms are fat and out of shape. Ever since I was a little kid, I just associated pregnancy with becoming fat. And it scared me to think that pregnancy meant saying good-bye to my young, thin body. So I ask the question: Is it really necessary or more healthy to gain that recommended weight? Certainly it has been disproved that any amount of exercise is bad in pregnancy. It was dogma in the 50's and 60's and later that women not exercise at all during pregnancy, and now there are articles coming out all over the world that show the opposite. Could it be the same for weight gain?

A 15-20 pound weight gain isn't really too much. You know you (with baby in jog stroller) will run it all off afterwards. - Coty

You will lose any weight you gain afterwards. - run forrest

In theory, I should be able to lose the weight afterwards. But I know from experience and from looking at women around me that it is not easy. Though I am impressed that for both of you, Coty and Run Forrest, losing the weight was relatively easy. My true goal is to give birth to the baby and be below my starting weight that first week. I honestly don't think it will in any way harm the baby to do that.

Thanks for the interesting debate. I think it's time for a run :).

Running Song of the Day: Baby Doll by Dan Wilson

6 comments:

runrunrunrunrun said...

I don't know you at all but was just following links in peoples' blogs and came across this.

If you look you will find an earlier post (YOURS) where you state that adding up weight from the baby itself, placenta, blood, breast tissue etc. you can expect to gain 20-25 pounds (or something). How did you get 12? It's too bad you can't step back and see how disordered you seem to be right now in your thinking.

"My true goal is to give birth to the baby and be below my starting weight that first week."

This just sounds so disordered to me. Maybe I'm out of line here, but I encourage you to try to step back and think about this -- or talk to someone you trust and view as objective.

Run Forrest said...

I agree with runrunrun. There are, in fact, studies that have been done with regards to low weight gain during pregnancy. Insufficient nutrition and weight gain can lead to a low birth weight baby and pre-term labor. I can't help but feel that you are playing a dangerous game for the sake of your own vanity.

sea legs girl said...

Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'll gain more than the arbitary 12 lbs I had in my mind. And that's fine. I started out thinner than my grandma anyway. If I don't set goals like that, though, and stay disciplined, I know I'll gain quite a bit more.
I actually just saw a patient who was 1 week ahead of me in pregnancy and had gained about twice as much weight. She was having terrible back problems. Weight gain is a pain, no matter how you look at it, and as long as you have good nutrition, the baby WILL get what it needs. I don't think there is any reason to be concerned about our baby's health.
Anyway, I'll see what studies I can find so we can be objective about this. See upcoming posts :).

gnome517 said...

you baby WILL get what it needs...but possibly at your expense, since it will be taking away from you. if you don't eat enough for both of you, YOU will also suffer and not have enough nutritionally, making it harder to exercise.

I have 2 kids and I gained 30 pounds with each and lost it. yes, many americans are fat and out of shape, not just moms. you don't want to be, you won't be.

however, i do have to wonder.....how do you think you will find time to keep up this running after baby? do you know how many times you will have to stop and nurse during a 3 hour run?

it's not all this talk about weight gain and nutrition that worries me, it's the attitude that it's all about you, you, you.

sea legs girl said...

dear gnome517,
Gosh, I don't know what to say other than that I am very excited about the idea of taking care of our little boy once he arrives. Life is about adjusting to changes. I am just so happy we will get to experience the miracle of having our own child (assuming things go well from here on). Other things like running and weight gain seem unimportant when I think of becoming a mother. And I've been fortunate to experience that role already in a certain way with SR's kids.
Anyway, I am sure we will have a good time and that I'll enjoy the new challenge of motherhood and breastfeeding, etc. And whether I like it or not, SR will have me out running a 50k mixed relay in March that he's hoping we'll win.

Michelle said...

Quote from your blog:

"The fear is probably a bit irrational, but in my mind, most moms are fat and out of shape. Ever since I was a little kid, I just associated pregnancy with becoming fat."

Way to insult and alienate every mother in the world. Just because YOU have a psychological issue, that doesn't mean it's OK to lump every women who has ever birthed a child as being fat, out-of-shape.

That's part of the reason I took up running almost a year ago; to lose some of the baby weight. And it has worked for me, but I will never be as skinny, or as fast, as you. And that's fine with me. I am in much better shape than I was before and I feel better about myself, and that's really what matters. Not what the scale says.

Maybe you should seek some outside counseling for this. Heck, it sounds like your man is even worried about you. Consider his feelings, too.