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Off the Charts

bigstock-Young-Pregnant-Woman-Outdoors--75605332I’ve been lucky. Through staying active, eating healthy foods (for the most part) and good genes, I’ve maintained a stable weight for most of my adult life. On any given day, my weight could fluctuate ±4 pounds, but for the most part, I knew the number I’d be seeing when I stepped on the scale. I’ve had a couple of spikes—freshman year in college and after moving to California (too many tasty restaurants to try!)—but once I’d hit a certain number (and notice my sluggishness and too-tight pants), I’d evaluate my eating habits and exercise habits and figure out how to get back on track.

During pregnancy, however, there’s no dialing it down. There’s no cutting calories. You see the numbers creep up, and you know that they’re just going to keep creeping for the near future.

I didn’t really know how I’d feel when my weight hit numbers I’d never seen before. And although it’s a little weird to hit new milestones with such frequency, I’ve been very accepting of my weight gain. That is, until I went to an online pregnancy weight tracker that told me I was a few pounds over the recommended weight gain for that week of pregnancy.

I, of course, panicked. Not really, but I’m the girl who always follows the rules. Who always draws inside the lines. Who cried when I got in trouble in third grade until my teacher pulled me aside to tell me it wasn’t the end of the world and to stop worrying about being so damn perfect. So I naturally want to be well within the 25- to 35-pound weight gain guidelines, right? Obviously.

As the next weeks went by, I’d get on the scale, fully expecting my weight to skyrocket. But it didn’t. It stabilized for almost three weeks, barely ticking up. And my doctor didn’t give me a slap on the wrist; instead, she predicted I had another good 8 to 10 pounds of weight yet to gain. Which meant that I’d be well within my target weight-gain range.

This made me draw several conclusions. One, that pregnancy weight gain comes in fits and starts. You may have a big jump one week and gain nothing for the next few. And this is totally fine. Everyone—and every pregnancy—is different. Two, even if I am to go over the “perfect weight gain,” do I really care? It’ll come off, and as long as I’m not eating cheesecake at every meal, I shouldn’t worry about it. Three: Online trackers can suck it. And maybe four: I need to start watching my language once the little one is here. —Erin

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