Posted by: Ingrid | August 8, 2009

Stats, Numbers, and Body Image at the Pinnacle of Pregnancy

Seriously, I think I’m in a great place to look back at the last 40 weeks, since I have in fact made it all the way and what am I going to do instead of reflecting?  Pack boxes?  No thanks!

I have to say that with all of the fears I entered pregnancy with regarding weight gain and body image and how I would cope with all of the changes over the course of 9 months I am very happy to report that the actual experience of it was  much different and better than I thought it would be.  What a happy surprise!

And those annoying people who said that my body would do what it wanted to despite what I did and planned… well, they were right.

I sort of wish I could have gone through this same experience in an alternate universe without thinking at all about caloric intake or exercise or anything remotely close to that and seen what the outcome would have been.  I don’t regret how I went through this pregnancy but I definitely stressed out more than was necessary.  Sure, there were parts that felt very scary and out of control but really, how many of us are actually prepared to deal with what seem like very random changes to our bodies on a daily basis?  I don’t know that there’s anything that can prepare a woman for how strange that can feel, especially if she’s already hyper-sensitive to how her body feels in general.

So, from beginning to end, here are the stats.

Weight: 129 (BMI 20.8) to 151-ish (BMI 24.4)  Surprisingly, accepting 150 was much easier than seeing 148.

Chest: 35.5 to 38.5

Waist: 26 to 37

Hips: 35.5 to 37.5

Thigh: 21 to 22

I think I expected something much more dramatic and, despite being up 22 pounds, it really doesn’t seem to have made that much of a difference on the rest of my body.

I expected at this point to experience lots of swelling, to no longer be able to wear my wedding rings, and to possibly have grown out of my shoes.  I am happy to report that none of those things have happened.  Apparently I’ve found a good enough balance drinking enough water, exercising, and salting my food (I love salt!) resulting in no remarkable swelling issues.

I think I am most surprised by the body image issues that pregnancy raised.  I would have guessed, going through the three trimesters that things would go from hard to harder to hardest.  Instead, I found that it went hard, hardest, hey, this isn’t so bad after all!  The first trimester is so weird because you feel sort of the same, but you’re bloated, and you wonder if you’re showing yet but know that you’re not and it’s just strange to be almost normal but not quite.  That’s followed by a whole new level of weirdness in the second trimester when you’re sort of showing, maybe, on certain days and in the right clothes but it doesn’t necessarily look like you’re consistently pregnant and you don’t know what to do with yourself or your wardrobe.  Then I hit the third trimester and found it amazingly relieving to look pregnant all the time.  There’s no hiding the belly, you have a place to rest your hands, and it’s always sticking out there.  It’s almost a relief to finally arrive at some sort of stability.  Even though the third trimester has had moments where I’ve felt big, body wise it’s been much more comfortable being in my own skin.  I’ve got a pregnant belly that sticks out and looks funny sometimes and that’s totally fine!  I would take how I feel about my 40+ weeks pregnant body than how I felt at 18 weeks any day.

When it came to the weight gain (and I have excel spread sheets that attest to the fact that I actually thought I could manage to gain only 15 pounds or so – oh boy, does that make me laugh now) I had no idea how uncontrollable that would actually be.  I was afraid, on those weeks when my weight would jump up a few pounds that my body would insist on doing that every single week and nothing that I could do would make a difference.  Instead, as I look back over the nine months, I gained most of the weight in the second trimester.  It’s like I managed to gain 1 pound the first 14 weeks and then suddenly gained a pound a week for the next 14.  Ironically, that was the point I was most calorie conscious and frustrated that my body seemed to be doing what it wanted and not listening to me.  But then in the third trimester it all leveled off and I’ve jumped around the same 2 pound range for over a month now.  Very odd to me, especially with not caring as much about what I eat and exercising less and at a lower intensity than before.

Even though there have been moments of panic, I have to say that overall it’s been a good journey through pregnancy.  It has not been a horrible all-the-time-out-of-control experience.  Just thought I’d let you know that if you’re out there reading this and have wondered and worried about pregnancy weight gain and body changes.

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Responses

  1. 22 pounds is nothing, especially for someone who is tall like you (I’m envious…)! I’ll bet you will be very surprised at how quickly it comes off. I certainly should have fretted less about weight, but you know… hindsight. Soon you will have your baby in your arms and be back to setting PRs and looking amazing in a bikini! Be prepared for lots of compliments on how great you look, you’ll get them!

  2. I am definitely envious of your 22 lbs! I know I will do better next time around (I say that now…) I enjoyed reading this entry because it sums up almost exactly how I felt about my body during my pregnancy….and you’re a much better writer than me 🙂

  3. yay! hopefully I’ll be starting this journey soon – greatly appreciate all you have blogged, stats, exercise etc. Good luck for the next phase – sleeping, breastfeeding and running!!


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