Weight gain during pregnancy is a difficult concept to process for many women. It doesn’t help when models, influencers, and actresses on TV share images of thin bodies with tiny, perfectly proportioned baby bumps. While this might be the case for some women, it’s not for many. Whether you are thin with a huge baby bump, curvy with a small baby bump, or anything in between, you are normal. Don’t believe me? Read on to discover where all the weight goes during pregnancy and how variable that is for all women.
Flaws of the Pregnancy Weight Gain Recommendations
Many healthcare providers will tell you how much weight you should gain during pregnancy based on your pre-gestational BMI. But did you know that the BMI formula was created in the early 1800s by a male mathematician? This formula does not take into account muscle mass, bone mass, race or ethnicity, level of physical activity, various disease states, access to food, or any other factor that might influence weight.
Okay, so we’re told that we are normal or not normal based on a 200-year-old formula designed by some guy who wasn’t a physician or expert in the human body?
We’re told that we should eat less, exercise more, avoid sugar, and so many other diet-culture-influenced things based on this formula!
As someone who is an expert in nutrition science and the human body, and understands the origins of BMI, I would encourage you to challenge and question these recommendations.
RATHER THAN THINKING ABOUT HOW MUCH WEIGHT YOU WILL GAIN, TRY TO CHANNEL THAT FOCUS ON NOURISHING YOUR BODY ADEQUATELY.
Practice intuitive eating by honoring your hunger and fullness cues. Our bodies were created to be different shapes and sizes. We were designed to have different nutritional needs. Check out the Intuitive Eating Book written by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch on Amazon to learn more. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)
Pregnancy will take every woman’s body to a new and different weight. You must trust your body, listen to your body, and allow it to grow to the appropriate size for you during your pregnancy. For many women, that means gaining more weight than recommended.
It may be beneficial for you to request a blind weight at your prenatal visits. With a trusted provider, your weight will be carefully monitored along with other important tests such as urine samples, blood work, and measurements to ensure that you and your baby remain healthy throughout your pregnancy.
So, in short, continue to take care of your body by eating consistent meals and snacks, staying hydrated, taking your prenatal vitamins, and attending each prenatal visit. But know that there is no accurate method to determine exactly how much weight you should gain during your pregnancy.
And if you are told a specific amount of weight to gain, please take that number with a grain of salt.
I hope this is encouraging and empowering to you! If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy 7 Tips for Navigating Body Image During Pregnancy.
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Written by Sheridan Glaske, MS, RDN, LD