Pregnancy is supposed to be an amazing experience. Pregnant women shouldn’t be made to feel like there is something wrong with them or the way they look. And more often than not, average sized pregnant women aren’t made to feel too different, at least not in the way that plus-sized pregnant women are.
Being plus-sized always seems like an uphill battle. People have so much to say about everything they are and do. Whether it be about their lifestyle choices or the way that they look, plus-sized women are often made to feel like they’re an abomination and it can only get worse with pregnancy.
The fact is that most women in America tend to be plus sized, yet the stigma surrounding plus sized women is that they are unhealthy, unattractive and prone to diseases. Some people tend to look down on plus-sized moms because they feel that there is no way for them to have a healthy pregnancy or a healthy child due to their size. All of these things are untrue.
While plus-sized pregnant women may be more prone to experience certain complications during pregnancy, it does not mean that they cannot have a healthy pregnancy or a healthy baby. Regardless of how people feel about plus-sized pregnant women, nothing can be harder than taking a walk in their shoes. People may treat a plus sized mom differently, she may struggle to find the proper clothes or even getting much-needed support from her family and friends. Below is a list of 15 ways that being plus sized and pregnant is so much harder.
15 Support System May Be Unsympathetic
Gaining weight during pregnancy is inevitable, and trying not to is like asking the sky not to be blue anymore. But, this weight gain is due to the growing baby; there has to be room for them, right? It can be hard to deal with all of the physical changes, including weight gain, when you may already be struggling with weight and body image. This is why it is important to have a healthy support system in place.
Plus-sized pregnant women need people in place just as any other woman does during her pregnancy journey. But, it is important that the people in their support group are truly being supportive and understanding of the woman’s needs, not just as a pregnant woman but as a plus-sized woman, too. It can be hard for people to know what you’re going through if they haven’t experienced it themselves, but hurtful comments towards a woman’s weight and looks aren’t healthy and aren’t helpful either. Plus-sized women should make sure that they have people around them that will make them feel better and not worse about themselves during pregnancy.
14 Worrying About A Healthy Pregnancy
Being plus-sized, many women already worry about their health and health issues that they may face. This fear can be compounded when you add pregnancy to the mix. There are a lot of naysayers when it comes to the terms “healthy” and “plus-sized pregnancy.” It seems that the two terms can’t possibly be synonymous. It’s a worry that pregnant women put on themselves and that is compounded by the worries of others.
There are a lot of different illnesses that pregnant women can face including issues with hypertension and gestational diabetes. And, if you are plus sized and pregnant, the risk of developing these issues can be increased, but that does not mean that it will happen. Doctors may make matters worse by expressing their concern over weight and the risks associated with being pregnant and plus-sized, but that absolutely does not mean that a healthy pregnancy is not possible.
13 Worrying About A Healthy Baby
On top of worrying about their ability to have a normal, healthy pregnancy, plus sized women may also worry about their ability to have a healthy baby. It is natural to be concerned, especially if there is an increased risk of something happening. However, being plus-sized doesn’t mean that a woman can’t have a healthy baby and a healthy pregnancy.
Some of the risks associated with plus-sized pregnancy are listed above, and a big one that may affect the baby is gestational diabetes. This impacts the mother's ability to create insulin, and it could lead to problems for the baby like increased weight if it is not addressed properly. Luckily, a healthy diet can usually prevent and help treat gestational diabetes during pregnancy. As long as a woman is taking care of herself and eating a good diet, there is no reason why she couldn’t have a healthy baby, regardless of if she is plus sized or not.
12 Struggling With Self Esteem
Extra weight can carry emotional baggage as well. We live in a society where plus-sized women aren’t always valued. And this can obviously take a toll on a woman’s mental health. There are many women who struggle with their body image and with their self-esteem, but pregnancy can only add to these esteem issues.
For a woman who is already struggling with her self-image, pregnancy can add in a whirlwind of emotions. The body changes so much during pregnancy that it is impossible to wrap your head around everything all at once. Pregnant women, especially plus-sized pregnant women, deserve to feel special and to feel beautiful even in the midst of the ugliest parts of pregnancy. Sometimes people can be rude, and they can say hurtful things both knowingly and unknowingly. But this is why it is important to have a good support system to help along the pregnancy journey and support both mentally and physically.
11 Feeling Uncertain About Her Pregnant Body
Pregnant women also experience a variety of ups and downs about their body as changes occur. Again, it’s completely natural. It can be pretty hard to adjust to the sight of your new body, especially as a pregnant woman who is also plus sized. Some days you might feel absolutely gorgeous and other days, you might not feel as beautiful.
Plus sized women may especially struggle with their body image because they are dealing with carrying extra weight on top of carrying a baby. Some women might feel like they don’t look like they are expecting one day, and the next day they might feel that it is pretty obvious that they are pregnant. It can be hard, because no one ever knows how people will respond. Will they think that you are pregnant? Will they be hesitant about touching your belly because you are plus-sized? Will they make snide comments? These are all worries based in emotion and not in fact. The truth is that people are probably pretty happy for you and the baby. They probably won’t make rude comments, at least not to your face, and you might even snag a couple of compliments.
10 Worrying About Losing The Weight After
This is a real concern for a lot of plus sized pregnant women. How am I going to lose this baby weight when I already had so much weight to lose in the first place? It can be daunting just to think about losing weight postpartum, let alone actively trying to lose it. Women who are plus-sized may or may not be struggling to lose weight before pregnancy, and since they are bound to gain weight during, it can be hard both physically and emotionally to try to lose the weight.
Most women, regardless of their size, may be worried about losing the baby weight postpartum. If this is not a woman’s first child, it can be even harder to lose the weight the second or third go-round. But, hard work is not without its rewards. As long as a woman dedicates her time and effort to losing the weight and gets the help of a healthcare professional, she should have no problem losing the baby weight and then some. It is absolutely possible to lose weight after pregnancy, but it takes discipline and teamwork with the doctor and other members of the woman’s support group.
9 Trying To Lose Weight During Pregnancy
Earlier in this article, we described trying to avoid weight gain like trying to keep the sky from being blue. This is true. It is inevitable that a woman will gain some form of weight. She is carrying another human being after all. This is why it is really hard to try to lose weight while pregnant. The temptation may be there, and a woman may even be encouraged by others to try. However, she shouldn’t stress herself out trying to lose weight while she is pregnant because that could prove harder and more stressful than she originally thought.
As the baby grows, the scale can grow. This can be hard to watch as a woman who already carries a few extra pounds. Trying to lose weight might not be completely impossible during pregnancy, but it can be dangerous. If a woman is starving herself or overexerting herself with exercise, she could be putting herself as well as her baby at serious risk. Instead of focusing on losing the weight, she should focus on a healthy diet with nonstrenuous exercise to maintain a healthy baby and weight during pregnancy. These habits can follow you well past pregnancy and even contribute to weight loss, postpartum.
8 Feeling Like A Target By Social Media
It’s no secret that social media can be a cruel place for anyone who is different or lies outside of the standard of beauty that society has. Plus-sized women are no exception to that rule, and in some cases, they are targets of extremely hurtful posts and comments. This could make it even harder for a plus-sized woman to want to share or celebrate her pregnancy with social media.
The fear of backlash and negative comments is real. People have no filter when it comes to social media, because they feel that they can get away with saying and doing whatever they want online. But, most of us are only friends with people on social media that will support us and be happy for us. A pregnant woman shouldn’t feel shamed out of posting about her pregnancy because she is plus-sized. The reality is that many people will be supportive and very happy to see a plus-sized woman enjoying the miracles of pregnancy. And the people that have negative things to say are usually trolls who are unhappy with their own lives.
7 Worrying About Doctor's Honesty
This can be a tough one. On one hand, doctors are tasked with the very important job of keeping a woman’s pregnancy on track, making sure she is functioning properly, and doing what is best for the baby. On the other hand, doctors can seem extremely critical at times, and it can be hard to listen to, or accept a doctor’s cringe-worthy assessment, especially as a plus-sized woman.
It is important to decipher when a doctor is coming from a good place and when their comments are causing more stress than helping ease it. Most doctors absolutely want to help a woman have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. The topic of a woman’s weight may be bound to come up during a doctor’s visit, and it is important that the expecting mother listens to her doctor’s advice, but she doesn’t have to be afraid of what he or she will say. As long as she follows the advice and takes care of herself, the doctor should have no reason to complain. If a woman feels that a doctor is being too hard on her about her weight, she can always seek the help of another provider.
6 Blaming The Genes
Babycenter.com did a survey of its readers and found some shocking results when it came to weight and health. Among these results, their study found that many of the women had underlying health conditions that had not been diagnosed and could have contributed to weight gain prior to pregnancy. Issues like depression, anxiety and eating disorders weren’t diagnosed or treated before and during pregnancy.
Sometimes, the weight gain is hereditary. There can be a number of underlying issues with weight gain. No one can possibly know just what the cause is without a proper diagnosis. It isn’t always just about eating the wrong foods and living an unhealthy lifestyle. Sometimes, there are other issues. Often times, the best advice a plus-sized woman will get is to lose weight by exercising and eating right. The how and why of a woman gaining weight is not explored when it should be. If a woman suffers from some sort of chronic illness like hypothyroidism, it can have serious implications for the baby.
5 Doctors Making Her Feel Self-Conscious
Being plus sized comes with a lot of struggles, including trying to fit into a world where everything is made for smaller people. Chairs, clothing, cars etc...it can be very discouraging trying to find things that fit you just right. When it comes to the doctor’s offices, which can already be intimidating, they have to make sure that they have items to accommodate bigger people. Whether it’s a hospital gown, a blood pressure cuff or other equipment, it’s important that doctors come prepared to deal with every kind of patient.
This can be reassuring for some plus sized women, as it is already hard enough to find items that fit and doesn’t make them uncomfortable. But, it can still be pretty humiliating too knowing that someone has to make special arrangements for you because of your size. This can be super tough to deal with, and it can make some women feel more self-conscious. But, they shouldn’t let these special arrangements deter them. Instead, they can take solace in the fact that the doctor isn’t ill-prepared and has the ability to care for anyone regardless of their size. Imagine if a woman wasn’t able to get the medical care she needed, because of her size? That’s even worse than feeling self-conscious.
4 Finding Flattering Maternity Clothes
If finding a doctor who has proper-fitting equipment wasn’t daunting enough, try finding nice maternity clothes for plus-sized women that you would actually wear. It can be hard to find nice maternity clothes sometimes, but it can be even harder if you are plus sized and pregnant. Nothing seems to be stylish enough or fit right. Either you look pregnant or you feel super uncomfortable. It can be pretty discouraging, but there is always a way to find nice maternity clothes for plus-sized women.
Gone are the days where women are restricted to the limited selection of maternity clothing at a department store. The beauty of the internet is that people can buy things and have it shipped to their house. There is always something for everyone, and even though it might take some searching, every woman should be able to find at least a few items that they feel will fit them well during pregnancy. There’s no need to leave the house and spend an absurd amount of time thumbing through the same ill-fitting clothing items. It can seem hard and even annoying, but with the help of someone you trust, finding pretty, flattering plus sized maternity items can be easy and even fun.
3 Not Looking Pregnant Until Later
If there’s one question any plus-sized woman hates to be asked is if she is expecting. Unless, she actually is, and in that case, it can be a little annoying not to be asked or not to even be showing until much later in the pregnancy. It can be frustrating being plus-sized and pregnant, because while some women start to show during the first trimester, plus sized women may not begin to show signs of pregnancy until much later.
It can be hard, because people may make assumptions about weight gain and pregnancy symptoms. They may brush it off as a woman just getting even bigger or sick because of her weight. It can be hard to cope, because people may not start to treat you like a pregnant woman until you start to show unless you tell them first. It doesn’t matter how other people respond to the weight gain or even to the announcement of the pregnancy. As long as the mother is happy and healthy and the baby is fine, it doesn’t matter if she is showing or not.
2 Uncontrollable Weight Gain During Pregnancy
It can be extremely hard to control weight gain during pregnancy even if you are considered within the “normal” body weight range. It can be even harder if you’re plus-sized, and harder still if you’re plus-sized with some sort of chronic illness like diabetes, hypothyroidism, and hypertension.
Some women who suffer from chronic illnesses may experience flare ups where their chronic illness seems uncontrollable. It can lead to fluctuations in blood sugar and pressure, pregnancy complications, and even rapid weight gain. If this happens, it can be hard just to resort to diet and exercise, as these things may or may not be enough to slow weight gain and get the body back under control. If a woman is experiencing unexplained flare-ups with an illness, uncontrollable weight gain and issues with high blood pressure, she may need to consult her doctor because there could be a more serious issue at hand.
1 Struggling More With Overall Feeling Of Well-Being
When you are pregnant, it is important that you take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. The task of parenthood is not an easy one and it is certainly not for the faint of heart. Moms have to take care of themselves for themselves and their babies. However, pregnancy can be quite overwhelming, especially when a woman is also plus sized.
If she does not have proper guidance from her medical team or proper physical and emotional support from loved ones, friends and even her doctors, it can be pretty difficult for her to feel good about herself and take care of herself properly. If a woman starts to feel depressed or lacks the ability to care for herself, she should seek the help of a professional immediately. All women need to feel in control and cared for during pregnancy. Especially as they gear up to care for another human being. If a woman doesn’t feel like she can take care of herself, it could impact her ability to care for her baby in the long run as well.
Sources: PlusSizeBirth.com, BabyCenter.com, YourPlusSizePregnancy.com, TenderBabyCare.com