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Training for Baby: Scaling back

Posted July 24, 2012

I had originally intended to write this week’s blogpost about our birthing classes, which we just wrapped up. But then I stepped on the scale and saw that I had reached a monumental point in my pregnancy. I had gained 20 pounds.

I saw a number I had hoped to never seen again after shedding 40 pounds nearly two years ago.

At first, I was filled with horror – berating myself for eating that Gigi’s cupcake the other day. (Oh the buttercream and its magical properties!) I thought about how I just needed to eat more fruit and maybe hit the gym for longer walks. I needed to cut out fried foods and maybe avoid eating sweets at all. I was going to have to crack down on myself.

Don’t get me wrong. I knew I’d gain weight while pregnant, but I just didn’t mentally prepare myself to see the number on the scale. I immediately went into panic-mode.

Then, my wise mother talked me off the ledge by reminding me that I was eight months pregnant. Eight months - and throughout that entire time, I only gained 20 pounds – mostly in my belly and boobs. (I am seriously front heavy now.) And even when I am not gaining weight, the baby is. He has to plump up sometime before he makes his debut.

I guess working so hard for so long to lose weight, I am having a problem turning off the “scale phobia.” I asked my doctors last month about my weight gain, and they seem to be thrilled. Only one of the docs suggested that I gain less than 3 pounds a month for the remaining months.

I think that is what set me off this week. I had gained 4 or 5 pounds this month and I figured this is the moment I start blowing up - the moment pregnant friends told me about when you just pack on the weight.

I have responded to my fears by eating more fruit and veggies and even squeezing in more time on the treadmill. But the thing that helped me the most was seeing a breakdown on the Similac website that shows where the weight is actually going.

Here is their breakdown:

Baby: 6.5-9 pounds
Placenta: 1-1.5 pounds
Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds
Uterus: 2 pounds
Boobs: 2 to 3 pounds
More blood volume: 3 to 4 pounds
More fluids: 3 to 4 pounds
Fat storage: 6 to 8 pounds

All of that amounts to the average 25 to 35 pound gain that doctors suggest, according to Similac.

So, I have decided to throw some caution to the wind and not hop on that scale once a week. In fact, I am telling the nurses I don’t want to see the number. I know I am trying to eat healthy with the baby and if I slip up and indulge in a craving, I am entitled. I am eight months pregnant – my back hurts and I got a future bongo player in my stomach!

What other time in my life will I be able to eat a cupcake at my desk in the middle of the afternoon and not feel guilty? Bring on the buttercream!

Did any of you struggle with pregnancy weight gain issues? Was it hard to lose the weight after the baby? What tips do you have for me in this final trimester? I feel like I want to eat everything all the time!

Kathy is editor of's Out & About section. Learn more about Kathy on her website. Last year, here on Go Ask Mom, Kathy chronicled her efforts to lose weight before she and her husband started a family. Now, due with her first baby this fall, she's writing about her pregnancy. Find her here on Wednesdays twice a month on Go Ask Mom.


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  • JAT Jul 25, 2012

    And she asked for tips in the 3rd trimester:

    Don't buy shoes because they won't fit you after the baby comes; don't volunteer to feed your spouse's family of 20; get rest; get a pedicure; make sure you get your hair color updated about a week before delivery; shave your legs before you go to the hospital.

  • JAT Jul 25, 2012

    macharsam - that's what you got from my post? She's obviously very worried about weight gain but eats a 15,000 calorie Gigi's cupcake; she still seeing herself as needing to lose weight even though the primary thing on her mind should be to grow a healthy baby. I didn't gain weight BECAUSE I cared less. That would make no sense. I ate reasonable well and made sure that what I was putting in my mouth would be OK for the baby even if it meant me gaining weight.

    I wish WW hadn't paid Jessica Simpson. The girl is chubby-proned and she should be happy with it. We don't need to be 95 pounds of solid bone. Now, granted, as big as JS's baby was, I wonder if she didn't eat a bit too much and not worry whether what she was eating was healthy for the baby but all turned out well so she shouldn't worry either about how much weight she gained.

    I just hate to see women so obsessed with a tiny waist when what they need to be focused on is healthy living.

  • snowl Jul 25, 2012

    @JAT - You gained almost 60 pds because- as you said, "could care less." It is okay for Kathy to care about her pregnancy weight gain. She is not being paid 4 Million dollars $$ by W.W. to lose it...winkwink.

  • JAT Jul 25, 2012

    Get over it! Are you more concerned with a healthy baby or staying small? I gained almost 60 and could care less. My concern would be more that the cupcake would cause my blood sugar (and thereby the baby's) to go up too quickly. The first rule of motherhood: it ain't all about YOU anymore. You have to start realizing you're a MOM first and a skinny, hip chic second.

  • snowl Jul 25, 2012

    You're doing great. I gained 35 pds. during a winter pregnancy (and with pre-eclampsia complications) with my first, then only gained 25 pds. with my second, a summer pregnancy.
    I ate better the second time around and got more exercise chasing my 4 year old!

  • missparrothead Jul 25, 2012

    I continued my workouts during both pregnancies, watched what I ate- "moderation", and gained approx.32 lbs. with each. I easily lost all of the weight especially through breastfeeding and the same "moderation" approach, + exercise. I will admit, with my son, I said I'd only gain 25lbs, and when I reached 27 lbs, was "disgusted", and told the nurses that I do not want to know my weight at ea. visit. When I delivered, the nurses asked me the wt at my prior dr visit and they were surprised that I didn't know. Didn't want to; I was doing everything I could that was right. I understand. Don't be so hard on yourself. Enjoy the cupcake, just don't eat three of them. Enjoy some cookies, just don't eat 1/2 the bag in 1 sitting, etc.

  • croaswife Jul 25, 2012

    Breastfeeding is great for getting rid of pregnancy weight quickly. Just be careful as you transition the baby to solid food. That is when I really struggled. As the baby required less breast milk I started to gain weight again. I had become too accustomed to the the extra calories that breast feeding allowed me to eat.

  • justbcauz Jul 25, 2012

    I also gained over 50 pounds with my first. I had always struggled with my weight, so I was thrilled to lose nearly all of that within 12 weeks of giving birth, only to end up gaining it back over the course of the next 7 years (did I mention I've always struggled with my weight?). With my second, I gained less than 20 pounds and ended up having a 10lb, 9oz baby. Again, this time, I lost tons of weight within the few months after giving birth, but I find myself struggling yet again. But, it seems like you've conquered the weight beast before getting pregnant, so you should be fine. Just remember that you'll need to eat enough after he's born to provide nourishment if you breastfeed.

  • kpeele Jul 24, 2012

    Weight gain varies from month to month when you are pregnant so some months (weeks, even) are heavier. I got the "you gained too much this month" talk from my midwife last month. But I have learned that even your healthcare provider's opinion about your weight gain can vary from provider to provider. I try to go with the philosophy that if I am eating healthy most of the time and being as active as I can be then I am not going to worry about my weight gain. And yes, toward the end of your pregnancy is when your baby puts on almost all of his weight!

    Like righthere said, breastfeeding really helps me lose weight after my children are born. However, that doesn't work out the same for every woman so don't be too disappointed if the pounds don't instantly come off. You can burn up to 500 calories a day while nursing, though, so that's a pretty good deal!

  • righthere1234 Jul 24, 2012

    I gained over 50 pounds with my first child, but most of that was water weight. My entire body was swollen, and I couldn't wear most of my shoes for the last 2 months. I hated stepping on the scale, but after my son was born the weight just melted off because I was breastfeeding. When I had my 2nd baby, I lost a lot of weight at first because of all the nausea. I gained it back and then some but nowhere near like the first time. My daughter was huge so most of that weight that I gained towards the end was all her! Again, with breastfeeding most of that weight melted off and I was below my pre-pregnancy weight in no time. :) The moral? Breastfeed! If you eat healthy and excercise while breastfeeding those extra pregnancy pounds will be a thing of the past in no time. :)