If nothing else, pregnancy should be the one time in Mom's life when she doesn't have to worry about counting calories. She's eating for two, right? Well, modern science has busted that old myth and research doctors have advised that Mom only needs to eat more during her second and third trimesters. Bad news for all those crazy cravings. They are irresistible and usually don't include fruits and vegetables. Pair your new eating habits with a non-existent or decreased exercise regimen and you are bound to have rising numbers on the scale. Right?
But what if you don’t fall in that general category? What if you are already seven months and you look like your friend when she was only three months?
Nowadays, the health and fitness world has pushed for smart eating and more activity for expectant moms. Being preggo isn't an excuse anymore. The agenda takes the form of workout classes and DVDs that include abbreviated exercises specifically tailored to woman with the bump. And what are you guaranteed to do at your prenatal doctor appointments? Step on the scale. Doctors and health professionals are using patterns in weight gain to predict pregnancy complications and the gauge the overall health of mom and baby. Your weight becomes a talking point or, sometimes, a stern talking-to.
Isn't it possible to take it too far, though? Especially in a time when everyone has an M.D. from Google University, you have to be careful not to fall for all the criticisms about your pregnancy weight gain or lack thereof.
Here are 15 ways the people in your life may come at you with pressures to plump up.
15 "Are You Eating Enough?"
You have announced your pregnancy and your family is over the moon. Awesome-sauce! But now your mom, Grandma, and even your sister is serving you extra portions. passing you snacks, and always seem to ask the infamous, "Are you eating enough?" The judging looks from head to toe can cut like a knife in butter. And it can be near offensive for people to think you are intentionally not eating enough and therefore depriving your growing baby.
According to researchers, pregnant women just need to gain 25 to 35 pounds. That means just about 300 extra calories a day in your second trimester or about the same as a banana and a bowl of cereal and milk. Comfort foods, like French fries, ice cream, and chocolate chip cookies, are a no-no, as doctors say pregnancy is the time to try your hardest to eat a balanced diet from all the food groups. You are indeed eating for two, but not two portions. You are eating for the health of you and your baby.
All that said, if you are following the recommended guidelines and taking a firm hand with the pregnancy cravings, you probably won't be picking up a lot of extra pounds. Does that mean you are not eating enough? Absolutely not. Your body is getting the vitamins and minerals that it needs and gaining just the right amount.
14 "It's All Belly!"
Let's face it. All women aren't created equal. The same for pregnant women. They come in all shapes and sizes. Your pregnant physique won't be like your friend or even your cousin. Friends, family, and yes, even strangers, may say you look like you swallowed a basketball or that you are all baby. Translation: All the weight you are gaining seems to be going to your belly and you look the same aside from your mid-section.
Being “all belly,” isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The risks with excess weight include diabetes and anemia. Who has time for that while tending to a newborn? Now, don’t get it wrong fat is not the enemy. Research shows that your baby does need fat to properly develop and grow. Fats are a source of energy.
And just because extra fat is not seen, it does not mean that it is not there. You can have it and just the right amounts of it without it showing up as visible excess weight elsewhere on your body.
13 "The Baby Isn't Healthy"
Nothing may be as hurtful as this one. It comes with a look of disgust that you are intentionally hurting this precious little life growing inside of you by not giving him everything he needs to thrive. What’s worse is people may think it is all for the sake of keeping your own girlish figure.
Unfortunately, it really happens, though. It is called pregorexia, a new term that combines pregnancy and anorexia. This kind of mom doesn't eat so she doesn't gain weight. It allows her to show off her ability to be pregnant and stay thin. But this is extremely dangerous, lining the baby up to be malnourished, low birth weight, and several other health problems.
Even if you are surfing the slender side of pregnancy, your little baby bear is very likely getting what she needs. Better believe it. Your body is so protective of the growing baby that it will draw the vitamins and minerals from you in order to provide for the baby. Baby gets first dibs on everything. More the reason not to skip your prenatal vitamins!
12 "Moms Are Supposed To Gain A Lot Of Weight"
When you have made it through nine - 10 months, really - it can be like a load off, in more ways than one. While you have a little bundle of joy to take care of, you don't have trouble getting on and off the couch or sliding through the aisles at the grocery store. And you've said a long-awaited "Buh-bye, now," to the pregnant waddle. Aside from all those successes, you may also be back in all your pre-pregnancy clothes, a feat that may make others raise a questionable brow.
Pregnant women carry around a post-pregnancy pooch or “baby weight,” for at least a year, right? And it's just normal for your body to never be the same after having a baby. Nope and not necessarily. While it takes some women a while shed the pounds, some women drop the weight like that. Called the "snapback," on social media, it refers to relatively quick weight loss from a woman who has recently delivered. Women have coveted the snapback after seeing a few high-profile celebrities do it.
But there are several reasons that come into play, like post-pregnancy diet, exercise, and even breastfeeding, believe it or not. Plus, babies are funny little critters. They can move and grow and lodge themselves inside their mommies in all sorts of ways. Weird to us, but just right for them.
11 "You Won't Be Able To Breastfeed"
Yep. Your girls are not excluded from public judgment. When you're expecting, nothing is off limits.
Feeding your baby your breastmilk or formula is a personal choice, obviously. But people automatically write off your ability to breastfeed based on your cup size. The two are absolutely not related. Your body will produce enough, even more than enough, with small breasts. No need to stuff your face in order to stuff your bra.
A bigger chest just means more fatty tissue and fatty tissue is not needed to make breastmilk. It involves a unique combination made in your body and transported from your milk ducts to your baby. Bigger-breasted women may just be able to store more milk than a small woman, but they have the same ability to produce.
Your supply largely depends on how often you nurse your newborn. Plus, there are little tricks of the trade you can do to boost your milk supply, like drinking tons of water and making sure the baby empties your breast at each feeding. It signals your body to get in gear and make more milk.
10 "Are You Still Working Out?"
There's a school of thought that pregnancy is a ticket to cancel your gym membership and get cozy with the couch. Go anywhere sporting your bump and people will tell you to "Take it easy," and "You can't carry that!" But exercise is now encouraged. So, if you are doing it, you’re doing the right thing.
For those who were active pre-pregnancy, you may not be able to do everything you did before pregnancy, so take it slow. If you haven’t broken a sweat before, it is suggested to talk with your doctor before getting into an exercise regimen.
Getting at least the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day helps ready your body for a delivery and help relieve body aches and that pesky pregnancy fatigue.
So, ignore the nay-sayers. Keep going to your yoga class or moving to your favorite workout DVD. Exercise is one of the best things a pregnant mama-to-be can do.
9 "Are You Sure There's A Baby In There?"
That's a tough one. How is it even a question? But it happens.
Granted, we all hear of those stories of women who did not know they were pregnant until delivery. But if you have announced your pregnancy, there should not be a second thought from people, no matter how you look.
While you may be sporting a junior bump today, your bump may decide to balloon at eight months. There's just no telling. On the flip side, if start off your pregnancy fit or naturally thin, don't expect much to change.
Still, it is a little insulting for people to think you don’t know if you are pregnant or not. Some women have waited a long time to conceive. Even if you didn’t, your pregnancy and growing baby is special to you. You shouldn’t have to prove your pregnancy if someone does not want to just take your word for it.
8 "Listen To Those Cravings"
Who wouldn't? But you have to ask yourself, "is it OK to eat a half a dozen of donuts every morning just because I'm craving it?"
Strong food cravings are just another bullet point on the long list of mysterious things that happen while carrying. It joins the ranks of a super sensitive sense of smell and crazy dreams. But it is much more fun. The cravings are endless. You could dream of Willy Wonka type of world of sweets or kill for a bag of salty chips. But just because you are craving a sushi roll from your favorite spot does not mean you can have it. Some think that cravings are your body's signal that it needs a particular food, vitamin, or mineral. But really, who really needs a slice of strawberry cheesecake?
You can't just eat anything and everything when you're expecting. Some foods are off limits or significantly reduced because of the risk food-borne illnesses.
7 "You Can Drop All The Weight After The Delivery."
Wait a minute. Are there people who think all that weight just disappears after delivery? Yes. Yes, there are. And they are using it as an excuse to pack on the weight during pregnancy. Not only that, but they expect you to do the same. But that couldn't be any further than the truth. Don't be fooled and don't feel bad for staying away from extra pounds.
Remember what pregnancy weight really is. It's not just fat and your little bambino making the scales tip. Pregnancy weight comes from things like your growing placenta and uterus, increasing amniotic fluid, and more blood and tissue. It all adds up over the near year your body is shifting and changing.
While some of that all goes away when baby vacates its cocoon, some of it stays. Stuff like extra fat does not. So, certainly, don't think it is easy on and easy off. Not the case. Better to get a handle on it on the front-end instead of trying to figure it out after-baby.
6 "You Must Be Having A Boy"
It's the oldest of old wives’ tales and it could be debated if it is skinny-shaming. But if you hear it often enough, it might just get to you.
The background "science," behind it is that boy babies are larger than girls, so mom would have a more pronounced belly. Lighter weight girls would make their mothers have wider hips and smaller bellies, according to the tradition. But there are exceptions to every rule and there are plenty of women who fit the bill but find out there are having a girl.
Bouncing baby boy or giggly girl you are bound to be over the moon. Your baby is much more than boy or girl. Your womb is home to a little life. And anyone’s disappointment from being wrong about your baby’s gender could make you feel just as disappointed.
You shouldn’t be. Your pregnancy is a time to enjoy and look forward to meeting your precious little one.
5 "That Has To Be A Beer Belly Or Food Baby"
C'mon. We can all take a joke, right, especially a little harmless jab at the baby bump. Well, not so fast. This is still considered skinny-shaming. #sorrynotsorry
If nothing else, the non-pregnant population should understand that pregnant women are going through a major life change. And it's not just one day or a few weeks, like starting a new job. It is daily. Every. Single. Day. For 10 months. There are body changes, of course, but also emotional and mental shifts, especially for the new mommies. Not only are they going through the emotional roller coaster called pregnancy, but their lives post-pregnancy is about to change. No more late-night runs with friends or sleeping in, at least not without thinking of their little first.
Pregnant women may take on a more serious demeanor as they are contemplating a lot of big decisions and facing several changing realities.
Hormones are in full effect for mamas, too, and it would just be in good taste and great consideration not to poke fun of their changing bodies.
4 "Those Clothes Are Too Tight."
The clothes closet is a territory being invaded now, too. Watch out.
Your waistline may be expanding faster than you notice or than you can get maternity clothes. On top of that, you just may like your clothes with a little hug to show off your new shape. It's up to you. But it is not without some comment from the peanut gallery.
Somehow, some think form-fitting clothes for pregnant women have become a mother's low-key, homemade Spanx or girdle. As if it were possible, some people think you can keep off the extra weight by keeping your clothing tight. Uh, no.
Extreme small and tight clothing is just going to make a mom miserable, on top of everything else she is going through. But a pair of fashion-forward skinny jeans or a fun bodysuit don't have to be a distant memory. Pregnant women can look cute, too. And if women want to wear something, they can wear it. Pregnant or not or otherwise. Period.
3 "Talk To The Doctor About Morning Sickness."
This one is another sly way for people to say that they think you are not eating enough. They try to figure out why and say, “A-ha! I heard of Princess Kate and her troubles with extreme morning sickness, also known as hyperemesis gravidarum. Maybe this pregnant woman in my life has that. That explains her lack of weight gain.”
Grrr. Not all smaller pregnant women are going through extreme morning sickness. But it’s true that most women will have some sort of noticeable nausea spells during their first trimester, researchers say. It varies with every woman, from just nausea to dry heaving to full vomiting where mommy-to-be can’t keep any food down at all. They aren’t entirely sure, but doctors think it comes from the new hormones that have skyrocketed and your body’s attempts to cope.
The royal went through a period of public scrutiny for her small pregnancy frame. Never mind the fact that she was an athletic, slender woman before pregnancy. It was not until the news come out that she had a real medical condition that the skinny-shaming subsided.
You may get all the home remedies in the book, from saltine crackers to ginger. But unless you have a doctor’s diagnosis, there is no reason to think pregnancy nausea is keeping you from gaining. It may just be how it’s supposed to be.
2 "You Can't Expect To Look Like A Model."
Thin does not equal model or attempts to be a model. But for expectant moms with a baby baby bump, it can look like they are trying to stay small.
Several supermodels have posted photos of their pregnant bodies in all their glamour on social media only to be met with condemning comments about the size of their belly. But these models have defended themselves and their little buns in the oven by saying doctors have called them healthy.
Pregnancy does not mean you must don a paper bag. You can look beautiful during your entire pregnancy, no matter if you can fit your jeans or not. Heard of the pregnancy glow? It’s natural and no maintenance.
Thanks to all those fun hormones a lot of moms notice a ridiculous increase in the length and health of their hair. Take full advantage.
And don’t shy away from the camera. Consider professional maternity photos and make sure your bump is seen in pics with friends and family. They will eventually become fond memories. Some days may seem like it, but you aren’t going to be pregnant forever.
1 "That's Not Normal."
First off, who is to say what is and what is not normal? There are guidelines that medical professionals advise, but even they recognize that every woman is not the same. As long as you are going to your doctor appointments and getting the thumbs-up, there is absolutely no reason to think there is something abnormal with you.
That's the overall result of comments, online or in real life, that make it skinny-shaming. It puts you in the dumps. Those Debbie, or Danny, Downers are doing their jobs and making you question yourself.
But, chin up, mama. You're doing great. You're growing a little human. And guess what? He or she is going to be just as unique as you. So, your baby’s development is not going to be like the next one.
And trust your body. It is practically running on auto-pilot. As long as you are keeping it fueled and maintained, it will do exactly what it needs to do.