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Off the Charts

pregnantwomanatdoctor

Listen to your doctor—and only your doctor—when it comes to pregnancy weight gain. (Credit: Daquella manera)

I’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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4 Comments
  1. Amber K says:

    I having been trying to get pregnant for a few years now and I have worried about how I will feel about the weight gain. I have lost over 90 pounds and been keeping it off, so I do have some anxiety about it.

    But hopefully I can remember this blog, because it makes a lot of sense!

  2. katrina m says:

    i’m in week 15 and i’ve gained a bit more than i was hoping to at this point. memorial week (yeah, the whole week, not just one day) was rough for me with an out of town guest staying with us, i think i gained 5 pounds alone that week from eating out nearly every meal! haha…. but since that week i haven’t gained any more and have been trying to get my eating in check. it can be scary though to see the numbers go up, up, UP when we are so trained to demand the opposite.

    i’m glad your pregnancy is going so well!!

  3. Sagan says:

    Giggling. You take everything in stride! I love it.

    And yes: it’s important to listen to the doctor and to our bodies. Gotta keep healthy for the little one!

  4. Allison says:

    I went through the same exact thing — with that calculator. I am always a few pounds over the high range, but I’m 33 weeks now and still at the low end of the recommended range. I totally agree that the weight gain seems to balance out, but it’s hard not to compare yourself to the “norm”.