Posted by: Ingrid | February 17, 2009

Pregnancy weight gain for the novice

For those who have never been pregnant, this is a general idea of why we pregnant women outgrow every article of clothing we own except for our socks.


  • Baby: 7-8 pounds
  • Placenta: 1-2 pounds
  • Amniotic fluid: 2 pounds
  • Uterus: 2 pounds
  • Maternal breast tissue: 2 pounds
  • Maternal blood : 4 pounds
  • Fluids in maternal tissue: 4 pounds
  • Maternal fat and nutrient stores: 7 pounds
  • It is suggested that this be gained something like this:

    First trimester: 3-5 pounds
    Second trimester: 1-2 pounds per week
    Third trimester: 1-2 pounds per week

    This all seems so… reasonable when I look at the numbers. Just not in real life. In real life, I step on the scale, see it jump 1.6 pounds over night and dissolve into tears in front of my husband.

    Pregnancy feels like being on the worst diet ever, especially since I am monitoring my weight, everything I eat, and the amount that I exercise very closely. It is one of the most uncomfortable feelings to eat well, to definitely not eat over what I burn and not add the extra 300 calories that I supposedly burn because I’m pregnant, to put in time cross training and running 30 miles a week, and to see the numbers on the scale go up. It’s one of the most discouraging feelings to watch that and know that I can’t do anything about it. Have I gained 4 pounds? 5 pounds? Doesn’t matter since I can’t lose any of it right now anyway.

    Nothing in life prepares women for this. I don’t care what I read about pregnancy being such a fabulous time, that the curves look great, that you should embrace how wonderful the pregnant body is. That everyone loves how beautiful pregnant women look.

    Frankly it looks fat to me. It feels fat to me. It doesn’t matter that countless people have told me that they were pregnant and lost all the weight, ended up thinner, etc. I want my old body back. I don’t want the extra weight I’m carrying around. I don’t want to take up the extra space.

    Nothing gives you any preparation for the fact that having dieted for X many years the scale is just going to go up no matter what you do. Nothing prepares you for the fact that you’re going to out grow all of your clothes and that things that fit when you used to gain a few pounds will no longer fit because your shape is changing along too. No one tells you how hard it will be to not have any fitness goals, to not be able to push harder, to not be allowed to run faster.

    I miss my body.

    And I wish I’d waited to get pregnant until after we had some decent uterine replicators lying around.



    1. Thank you for the post. I thought you made a great point that nobody really prepares you for dealing with the weight gain and the trama that can come with out growing all your clothes.

    2. I don’t know why exactly this comes to mind, but do you read Conversion Diary? Something about this post reminds me of her story of “childbirth, Tupac and offering it up”:

      Not that I really understand (or am sure I agree with) the Catholic doctrine of offering it up. But she has some interesting things to say there about accepting pain on behalf of someone else, for their benefit. And this pregnancy is so obviously painful to you.

      fwiw, I’ve found that pregnancy and nursing and having-small-children-everywhere have been, when I’ve accepted it (and sometimes when I haven’t), great tools for sanctification. Having your very physical self made over to someone else’s specifications forces you to understand verses like “you are not your own”, even though that was talking about being God’s, not your baby’s. But talk about object lessons . . .

      Okay, I’m rambling, and obviously not everything from my spiritual journey will apply to yours, so toss what doesn’t fit. But I couldn’t read and not respond. I hit my limit with my introversion, generally, and not my weight, but I understand the utter frustration of being asked to do something that I don’t think I have the resources to do, and being asked to use my very self in a way that my self doesn’t seem made to be used. I still don’t handle it very well, but somehow, when you have to go on, you do. And you do because you have to. And you do it for love. And He goes with you.

      Again, I know I’m rambling. But when I’ve had to make the sacrifice anyway, I’ve found great grace in offering it up willingly. I didn’t think something compelled could also be freewill, but it’s seemed to work that way.

      Anyway, stop reading me and go read Jen! 🙂

    3. Good points, Jess. I’m worried about the introversion bit too. Now, off to read Jen…

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