I saw my midwife this morning, and all is well. She said I “aced” my glucose tolerance testing, scoring on the lower end of the desired range at every blood draw. My hemoglobin (checks for iron/anemia) was right smack dab in the desired range as well.
I’m now entering my 30th week of pregnancy, and the changes are becoming more and more obvious as the weeks tick away. Hard to miss, actually! My feet are getting puffy, and my shoes are tight. My chest has increased a full cup size, if not more, and I can no longer see a divide down the center of my abdomen. I see a dark line now! I’m trying to avoid high sodium foods and get a healthy amount of water in, but telling a pregnant woman to stay hydrated is a cruel joke with the amount of trips we are already making to the bathroom.
Doctors recommend an ideal weight gain of 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. Of course, this varies based on the individual—they recommend less weight gain for women who are already overweight and a little more if you are underweight. But, don’t worry—this isn’t all fat that you have to work off after the baby is born. Ideally your body fat wouldn’t increase much, but let’s be realistic: Pregnancy is not a time to deprive your self of calories. A healthy diet with a few treats will be just fine and help keep you sane while you go through the roller coaster of emotions and changes being hurled your way.
So what exactly does pregnancy weight gain consist of? On average, the weight gained during pregnancy can be accounted for by following:
• Your baby: 6-8 pounds (by the end of the pregnancy)
• The placenta: 1.5 pounds
• Increased fluid volume: 2-3 pounds
• Uterus: 2 pounds
• Increased storage of maternal fats, proteins and other nutrients: 4-6 pounds
• Breast enlargement: 1-2 pounds
• Blood volume: 3-4 pounds (this is an average increase of 50% of your total blood volume!)
• Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds
If you add all this up, it totals between 21.5 and 28.5 pounds. Add a few pounds of body fat to that number, and there you have it. I set out with a goal of gaining 30 lbs. I am neither underweight nor overweight, so right in the middle seemed fitting for me. As of this morning’s doctor’s appointment, I am up 16 pounds according to my chart. At the rate I am going, I’m likely to hit right around 30 lbs by the end of my pregnancy, give or take.
I’m definitely starting to feel pregnant now. For the longest time I didn’t feel pregnant at all, and body changes were slow to show. Now though, it seems as if my belly has really popped out, and I have developed the Linea Nigra (dark line) down the belly that some women get. Along with the puffy feet and increased blood volume comes visible veins. Some are varicose, some can be spider…you never know what you’re gonna get! Sexy, huh?
I’ve gained a couple pounds of body fat too, which could probably have been avoided if I tried a little harder, but I haven’t. My weight gain is within the ideal range thus far, baby is healthy and my midwife is happy. I’m a little impressed with my ability not to go overboard, so I’m not too worried. I’ve given into cravings here and there, but I feel good and am enjoying being pregnant for the most part.
Although, it is hard in some ways to see your body growing these new, rounder kinds of curves. When you are used to being super active, having a lot of energy and being in good shape, a little extra fat in the legs, butt and arms can mess with your head if you let it. There are some days I just want to sleep on my stomach again, see my abs, and not feel tightness in my ribs from an expanding belly pushing up into them. I would like to able to rock a bikini. But, I know those days will come back to me soon enough. I have the rest of my life to get back in shape, but not the rest of my life for growing this little guy.
It helps to hear friends and coworkers tell me I look good, or that I’m doing great according to my doc. There are definitely days that I don’t feel like it. It’s becoming a chore to shave, put on shoes, get up and down off the floor/couch, etc. There are days I just feel downright frumpy. I keep telling myself to remember that I’m carrying another life inside me: One that is relying on me for nutrients, protection and safe passage into this world. All my actions affect him. A few pounds of body fat seems like such a trivial thing to gripe about when I look at it that way. Building a little human is important work. I guess you could officially call me a bodybuilder now.
Thanks for following along, and please, feel free to leave me a question or comment below!
Also, I found this article at American Pregnancy Association to be helpful and to the point when it comes to your body image while pregnant: http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/bodyimage.html
Epigee Women’s Health – Pregnancy and Weight Gain – How much is too much?: http://www.epigee.org/pregnancy/weight.html