Do you like being pregnant?
I find this a weird question. But yet it’s asked all the time. Do you like being pregnant?
I certainly don’t hate being pregnant. I have had an “easy” pregnancy when it comes to symptoms, feeling good and not having to change much about my routine. But do I like it? My answer is that it’s fine.
I miss things I shouldn’t have in pregnancy. I’ve been pretty strict about following the guidelines. This list includes but is not limited to: coffee, alcohol (summer beers and Pimms cups), lox, raw feta and goat cheese, sushi and soft ice cream (omg the Mister Softee truck taunts me on our block and on the way home from work).
Midwife note: Guidelines for safe eating during pregnancy vary from place to place. For example, women in Japan eat sushi in pregnancy. People in some cultures drink wine and eat soft cheese. Caffeine up to 200mg is considered a safe amount, but it does cross the placenta so some people give it up completely or drink significantly less.
Avoiding soft ice cream is not really a standard recommendation in the US. It is in the UK and Australia. The reason is that machines are not always properly cleaned and can grow bacteria such as listeria. A truck (like Mister Softee) is more likely to have improperly cleaned machines than a place like McDonalds.
I suggest doing your research and deciding what makes the most sense to you, and of course talking to your healthcare provider.
US guidelines, UK guidelines and Australian guidelines.
I miss having more than 4 outfits. This is an exaggeration - I have more than 4 outfits. But I don’t have a lot of maternity clothes, nor do I care to buy a bunch, so my options are limited. I have started accessorizing with belts, scarves and jewelry.
I very much dislike that no bras fit and I have to keep buying more. Maybe some people like that their breasts change and get bigger, I am not one of those people. It frustrates me and I’m constantly annoyed with bras.
I don’t like gaining weight. But we knew this already from my prior post. I have come to terms with this, but it’s still not my favorite thing, obviously.
I like getting seats on the subway (sometimes). There are actually times I’d rather stand because sitting is uncomfortable but then someone gets up for you and so you kind of have no choice….this is a love/hate thing.
I like the fact that my body is growing a person. This is really, really cool. No one told my body what to do, it is just doing it. There is an organ that was grown specifically for this purpose, the amazing placenta.
I like that I am never alone. This is actually my favorite thing and something I’ll definitely miss when I’m no longer pregnant. You are literally NEVER alone. There is always this little fetus with you. A client of mine recently said, “It’s like you always have a friend.” I find this to be so true and something I never, ever thought I’d be so sentimental about. I actually think about the fact that this won’t always be and get sad about it. Of course I’m excited to see my baby on the outside, but I will miss the feeling of this person being inside me. I like feeling the kicks and movements. I like being able to talk and sing to Embers and to be able to push on my belly and have Embers push back. I’m getting teary just writing about it.
So do I like being pregnant? It’s fine. I don't hate it. There are good parts, there are annoying parts. But I am so happy that I am pregnant because I’m going to have a baby! Fred and I are adding to our family and we couldn’t be happier about meeting this kid and raising a human. It's truly amazing.
This is a hard entry for me to write, but I think I need to address it and talk about it for myself. But also I think it’s important to share for anyone else who may be experiencing similar issues.
Eleven years ago, I lost 40 pounds. I was overweight and kept gaining throughout college. Finally, during nursing school, in the winter of 2007, I decided to lose the weight and joined Weight Watchers. About seven months later, I had lost about 40 pounds. It was such a great feeling and accomplishment.
I’m currently at/approaching that starting weight.
To be clear, I haven’t gained 40 pounds during my pregnancy. I have fluctuated over the years and started out at about 20 pounds more than that lowest weight. Only for small amounts of time (twice, to be exact, when I first made goal weight for about a year and again later for our wedding) was I actually maintaining that lowest weight.
I had always told myself I’d try not to be bigger than my highest weight if/when I got pregnant. Even at the beginning of the pregnancy, I thought maybe I could do it (which would mean about a 20 pound gain total). I was happy - I didn’t gain much weight until about 22 weeks. Then I started gaining a pound a week, no matter what I did. And that goal to not gain to the highest weight was looking less and less likely.
Midwife note: Depending on BMI, weight gain during pregnancy varies. For women of normal BMI, 25-35 pounds is recommended. For BMI under 18 (underweight) it’s 28-40 pounds. For BMI 25-29, it’s 15-25 pounds. For BMI over 30, 11 to 20 pounds.
These are, of course, guidelines, not strict rules. Everyone gains at a different rate, everyone is different and anything above the guidelines is not necessarily unhealthy. Your healthcare provider can give guidance on weight gain that’s right for you.
I have definitely been struggling with the scale for at least a month. I’m watching the gain, but actually feeling not so different. I know (in my head) that this gain is for a good reason! I’m growing a baby! The baby is about 3-3.5 pounds now, plus all the extra weight for other important things!
Midwife note: Weight gain in pregnancy is because of a variety of things, not just the fetus. There is extra blood volume, amniotic fluid, increased body fluid, placenta, breast tissue, uterus and extra pounds in other areas too.
Being a midwife, I KNOW this is normal. Being a person who has always struggled with weight, it’s hard. It’s really hard. I find myself obsessing about the weight. Do I look big or small? Am I going to have a giant baby? Do I look giant? Fred is definitely being driven nuts with my weight and body image issues (which I talk about a lot). My midwives have reassured me that things are fine.
I’m trying to be positive. I’m trying to tell myself what I would tell the clients in my practice. I’m trying to reassure myself.
On the other end of things, I am definitely NOT starving myself, nor am I eating perfectly (ice cream, anyone?). I AM still exercising regularly, 5-6 days a week. I am even still running (in the third trimester) which makes me very happy and proud of myself and I will continue as long as I can. I could eat better, but I’m not obsessing about that and trying not to deprive myself and enjoy some of the cravings!
Just for comparison, I made a side by side picture grid of myself. The picture on the left is me 11 years ago, before I started the weight loss journey. The second is me a week ago. Besides having aged, I notice a difference in the way my face is shaped and looks. Looking at this picture reminds me that weight isn’t the only indicator of health.
I will continue to keep doing the best that I can and trying to be positive and healthy. A woman’s body changes SO much when she’s pregnant, in more than just the belly. It’s hard for me, as it is for many women. I think it’s important for me to recognize this, acknowledge my feelings and keep doing the best I can. Afterall, I am doing something amazing - I’m growing a person inside of me. That’s pretty damn awesome.
March 26, 2017 - Cravings
Pregnancy cravings - truth or myth? I say truth! I have been craving oranges and orange juice like mad. I also am eating a lot of cold cereal - for breakfast, lunch and snacks.
My last Fresh Direct order included ten oranges of different varieties and orange juice. I am eating them like it’s my job. I have always liked oranges, but not like this! When I’m not pregnant, I’m pretty strict with myself not to drink juice due to the sugar/empty calories. But now I can’t get enough juice.
Fred thought maybe my body was just craving vitamin C, but I actually take a vitamin C supplement and I’m still having these mad cravings.
Outside of pregnancy, I do eat a little bit of cold cereal occasionally, but it kind of goes in waves. I’m really craving cereal now. My cereals of choice include Cheerios (original), Rice Krispies and Corn Flakes and I usually add some banana.
Everyone thinks pregnant women also eat weird combinations of things. My weird combination is pickles and cheese. The combination just works! Last week, I melted cheddar on a hot dog bun (didn’t have bread haha) and added some pickle. The pickle kind of acted like the hot dog would. Anyway, it was delicious! I would totally eat it again.
Finally, there are other things I’m eating a lot of, but I wouldn’t say I’m craving them. I am eating a ton of eggs. I probably eat 6 eggs a week, at least. I eat a lot of nuts - my favorite are the unsalted mixes from Trader Joe’s. I really like cheese curls and have found this off brand at the local grocery store that is sooooo good. I’m trying to limit my cheese curl intake though, as this is obviously the least healthy thing on the list. To try to keep it more natural, I bought the Whole Foods brand last week and it was not good. I really love the Barbara’s brand, but I can’t find it anywhere so for now, I’ll have to stick to my occasional off brand cheese curl.
A pregnant midwife living and working in New York City