Taming Fears About Body Changes & Weight Gain During Pregnancy

When you find out that you’re pregnant, a mixture of emotions flood your system.

Sure, you’ll likely be excited about bringing a child into the world, but maybe also afraid of what will happen to your body.

All women have this fear; it’s a common emotional process.

The important thing is to realize that you are not alone and you have nothing to fear. In this post we will discuss how to deal with body changes and weight gain during pregnancy.

 

Changes in Body

Body changes during pregnancy are natural and obviously necessary to prepare your body for forming a new life.

Here are some common things you should expect to happen during pregnancy1:
  • You will experience an increased frequency in urination
  • Have an influx of emotional ups and downs
  • Become dizzy or lightheaded from your body producing extra blood
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation
  • Veins will become more visible
  • Skin will change and become more radiant or “glowing”
  • Your breasts will change in size and tenderness
  • Vaginal changes
  • A growing belly and inevitable weight gain

Being educated is the first step to overcoming any fear.

All of these pregnancy related changes are normal and knowing what to expect will help keep your fears at bay. Pregnancy will leave you in awe, as you discover what your body is capable of doing.

Don’t fear it… embrace it!

 

Changes in Weight2

Even more than changes to your body, weight gain and a growing belly are often the hardest change for women to deal with. In a society that focuses on health and beauty, it is hard be comfortable with gaining weight.

What a lot of women don’t realize is their weight gain isn’t just fat deposits.

You are growing a new life and your body is continually developing over the course of 9 months.

The following attributes contribute to weight gain while pregnant:

  • 4lbs from your body producing more blood for the development of your baby
  • 2lbs from your breasts growing in preparation for feeding your newborn
  • 4lbs from water weight gain associated with an increase in fluid intake needed for a well hydrated mother-to-be
  • 2lbs from the uterus enlarging and expanding to house your fetus
  • 2lbs from amniotic fluid produced to protect your growing baby
  • 5lbs from your placenta, once fully grown and developed
  • 8lbs from your baby’s weights at the end of development (on average)
  • 8-10lbs from the average increased fat and protein mass an expecting mother gains (to protect and nourish her child)

So what does all that add up to?

It means about 25-35lbs of weight gain is completely normal and healthy for expecting mothers!

Knowing these numbers and what they mean will help you tame your fears about weight gain during pregnancy. It should also help to increase excitement during development.

Your doctor will tell you that weight gain is actually recommended for people with a normal BMI.

If you want to calculate your BMI to see what weight gain is recommended for you, you can look at the helpful chart in this article from ‘What to Expect’. Just always remember to talk to your physician before making any changes. This article is meant to be merely a guide, not medical advice.

 

How to Keep Fears About Weight Gain at Bay

 

  1. Educate Yourself

Fear of the unknown is real.

Knowing what to expect, as it pertains to bodily changes during pregnancy, will help you realize that it is an amazing process that you should celebrate rather than fear.

You already took the first step by reading this post.

There are tons of other resources out there to take it one step further, like the CDC’s guide for weight gain during pregnancy.

They also have a great PDF for those women who like to keep track of everything!

Your weight gain during pregnancy should be gradual, so keeping track of things will help keep at bay your fears about that extra pound or two.

 

  1. Focus on Health

Most women justify extra helpings at dinner or snacks because they believe they are eating for two.

This is a myth! Your baby is very small during development – you don’t have a full-size adult inside of you.

During your first trimester, your body doesn’t need any additional calories3.

It isn’t until your 2nd and 3rd trimester that you need to increase calories – and even then – only by 400 each day3.

This doesn’t mean you can’t satisfy your cravings.

Just be mindful and focus on how you feel, rather than binge eating an entire bag of popcorn, just because you’re pregnant.

For the majority of your food intake, try and eat nutritious and energizing food.

Healthy fats, fruits and vegetables, and a lean protein is a great way to have a balanced diet that nourishes you and your growing baby.

Some ideas for healthy and satisfying pregnancy snacks are5:
  • Hummus, raw veggies and pita
  • Baked potato with yogurt
  • Mixed berry smoothies
  • Banana and peanut butter
  • Cottage cheese with fresh fruit
  • Dried fruits and nuts
  • Hard boiled egg with crackers

You can find more ideas on Pinterest!

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  1. Give Yourself a Break

If you’re craving Indian food… go ahead and live a little!

Cravings are real and if you can’t keep down healthy food, the baby still needs something to eat. Give yourself a break and focus on feeling good rather than adhering to a strict diet.

 

  1. Talk to Someone

A lot of women have said that during pregnancy, they feel “foreign” in their own bodies4.

It’s hard to deal with external and internal changes by yourself, so having a support system is essential.

You should not be ashamed if you need to talk to a professional or join a support group.

It will be liberating and helpful to speak to someone who is going through (or gone through) the same thing.

Talking to your partner about your fears will also help. Most women worry that their partner won’t find them sexy or attractive anymore, but the opposite is usually true.

Men are excited that you are carrying their child and are more likely to embrace your growing belly than you are! You will also find that by being open with your partner, they may share fears of their own. Use this as a bonding experience and do not isolate.

 

  1. Have a Plan

Having a plan for weight gain during pregnancy (and weight loss after pregnancy) will help expecting mothers feel more in control.

If you were active before, talk to doctor about continuing with your exercise regimen. Just make sure it is light exercise and not too strenuous.

If you weren’t, take a look at some of these great pregnancy exercise resources to help get you moving.

Simply having a plan of action will make you feel more empowered and less afraid of body changes or gaining weight during pregnancy.

 

Post-Baby Weight Loss Tips

The most effective way to keep your fears about weight gain at bay is to know how to lose it once you deliver. Sure, every woman’s body responds in its own unique way, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still have a plan.

Understanding that gaining weight during pregnancy isn’t permanent will help you accept the process more openly.

It also holds true that, if you stay within the normal weight gain for pregnancy, you are more likely to lose it postpartum6.

Research shows that breastfeeding increases your metabolism and helps a lot of mothers lose their baby weight6.

Opting to breastfeed not only saves you money, but also helps you drop extra pounds faster than those who use formula.

Not to mention that your breast milk is ripe with nutrients critical to your baby’s growth.

Take the Breastfeeding IQ Quiz and See How You Stack Up Against Your Fellow-Moms

Light exercise mixed with a healthy diet is always recommended, but many new moms can’t find the time (or energy).

Try attending fun ‘mommy and me’ classes, where you will get exercise while simultaneously bonding with your newborn. It’s also a great way to meet new people and socialize with other moms who know exactly what you are going through!

Being patient is crucial.

Weight gain during pregnancy is a gradual process over 9 months; so don’t except it to come off over night.

 

Conclusion

It can be hard to tame your fears about body changes and weight gain during pregnancy, but this list is a great place to start.

If you have any tips for expecting mothers, comment below or post on our Facebook page! It is a great way to give new mothers-to-be a support system and the confidence they need.

Lastly, to aid in your breastfeeding needs, remember that you are eligible to receive an insurance covered breast pump at no cost from leading manufacturers.

 

 

 

 

SOURCES: 

1https://familydoctor.org/changes-in-your-body-during-pregnancy-first-trimester/

2http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/weight-gain/

3https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pregnancy-weight-gain.htm

4http://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/weight-gain/pregnancy-body-image/

5https://www.thebump.com/a/healthy-low-calorie-snacks

6http://www.parents.com/pregnancy/complications/health-and-safety-issues/top-pregnancy-fears/

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