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Depressed Over Pregnancy Weight Gain

Depressed Over Pregnancy Weight Gain

By Amalah

Dear Amalah,

I’ve been following your advice on alphamom.com and it’s been wonderful.

I’m 30 and having my first child. I’m over the moon and so excited to meet him or her. But I am so so unhappy with how I look and how much weight I have gained.

I am only 15 weeks pregnant and have already gained 11 pounds ~ I didn’t have morning sickness and so started packing on the pounds from day one.

I’m worried as I estimate at this rate by the time I’m 30 weeks it will be 22 pounds if not more, and by 40 weeks I’ll probably be up to 33 or more as they the last few weeks is when you put on the most weight.

I’m having nightmares, crying about it during the day, I haven’t left the house in over a week and I have given up socializing because I feel so uncomfortable. I’m at a loss of what to do.

I will not starve my baby…
I exercise a minimum of 30 minutes 5/6 times a week (easy cycling)
I am also very conscious of what I eat, keeping it healthy and natural.
I really try to limit my unhealthy snacks!

I cannot see where I am going wrong or why my body is failing me.

Any advice you have for me would be so much appreciated. I’m feeling extremely lost and overwhelmed with this all.

Kind regards,
T

Oh, pregnancy weight gain. It’s a tough topic. You need to gain weight, yes. But not too much, or too quickly, and God forbid you gain any of it in your ass as opposed to that perfect little “I’ve swallowed a watermelon or maybe just ate a big sandwich” all-in-front baby bump shape society has weirdly come to idealize. And God forbid you feel sad or self-conscious about your changing shape, pregnancy isn’t a time for vanity, you selfish monster.

All that said: I am far less concerned about your weight gain than I am about your feelings about your weight gain. Nightmares and crying and avoiding social situations are the real issues here, not the number on the scale. Saying your body is “failing” you with an otherwise healthy pregnancy is very, very worrisome language.

Eleven pounds in the first 15 weeks could be simple water weight and bloat — especially if you’ve been craving salty foods and snacks. It could be that you were underweight before and your body is simply making sure you get caught up and into a more healthy weight range as quickly as possible. And never in my experience (pregnancy x 3), was the first trimester weight gain any sort of reliable number I could use to figure out how much weight I’d put on by week 40. It just doesn’t really work out that way — it’s not always a steady march week by week or month by month.

And look, some women just gain more weight than others, even with virtually identical diets/exercise plans. It can be genetic (like how much your mother gained) or just tied to your pre-pregnancy weight and body type. And the weight gain recommendations are all over the freaking place. Even your worst-case scenario of 33 pounds at 40 weeks is hardly a shocking number. A woman in a healthy weight range pre-pregnancy should expect to gain between 25 and 35 pounds. And no, ending up in the low end of that range is not automatically “better” or means you win an award for Most Virtuous Pregnancy Eater.

Here’s what I want you to do. Put the scale AWAY. Stop weighing yourself at home. The next time you get on the scale it’ll be at your doctor’s office, at your prenatal appointment, when you can then have a reasonable, informed discussion with your OB about your weight and estimated calorie intake. Rapid weight gain (like 3 pounds in a single week) in the second and third trimester can indicate preeclampsia, but 11 pounds put on fairly steadily over 15 weeks doesn’t sound like that’s what’s going on. Your doctor might recommend checking the sodium content in your food more closely, or try a few food swaps to ensure your getting optimal nutrition rather than empty calories.

But I actually don’t want you to wait until your next prenatal appointment to have that conversation with your doctor. I want you to call your doctor today, like NOW. And not about your weight, but the fact that you are very likely struggling with prenatal depression. Tell him or her about the crying, the nightmares, the fact that you won’t leave the house and have developed a serious obsession with weight and how much weight you’ll gain as your pregnancy progresses — these are the symptoms I suspect will concern your doctor MUCH MORE.

Weight gain is an inevitable, normal part of pregnancy. Your emotions about it right now, not so much, and you don’t have to go through your pregnancy feeling like this.

In addition, here is  a list of other resources on prenatal/antenatal depression and anxiety:

Depression in Pregnancy (American Pregnancy Association)
Depression During Pregnancy (postpartum.net)
Depression During Pregnancy (Baby Center)
Pre/Antenatal Depression (PANDAS)
Depression During Pregnancy (Postpartum Progress)
The Truth About Prenatal Depression (SheKnows)

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Comments

  • LMo

    So many hugs to you, mama-to-be. Pregnancy is really tough, and for some reason, nobody talks about that! I was pregnant at the same time as several friends, and had a hard time not comparing my weight gain to theirs, or the way my body looked. I also felt oddly guilty about wearing maternity clothes before I was “showing,” even though I was so bloated and gassy that my normal clothes felt super uncomfortable. All this to say that you’re not alone, and I hope you find the help you need through the resources that Amy has offered. But don’t feel guilty if you don’t love every second of pregnancy, or feel like a glowing goddess–some of us don’t ever feel sexy and perfect during pregnancy, and that’s ok!

  • Caroline

    Oh bless you, you sound so worried and anxious, and just as Amy has said, getting fixated on the numbers on prenatal weight gain ”guides” (hint; rough estimates!) is totally a sign of general anxiety fixating on one, supposedly controllable factor. I got good and fat with son number 2. He was my smallest baby (still huge). Son number 3 was truly, record-breakingly enormous. Me? Sure, I was big, but totally within guidelines for weight gain… first child, textbook weight gain, took forever to lose after. My dear friend looked like a lump of lard, with a fat face and everything, left hospital in her pre-pregnancy jeans, hello water weight! It’s a total crapshoot. These guides do more harm than good and remember, your OB is the one to heed. He or she knows you properly and what is about right in terms of weight for YOU and what isn’t. If he or she says you’re fine, you are FINE… with your weight, which by the way sounds totally normal. Loads of people get super-big super-fast (hi…), then it slows down completely. My babies were all giants. I had no room for lungs, let alone food so I ate like a bird during the last month or so and gained very little actual weight.
    But Amy is right that you absolutely need to get some informed, trained counselling because you’re heading into depression territory. Remember, when this little one arrives, he or she will not have read the books about how much she or he is meant to weigh, and by when, nor will he or she do what is expected at the right moment. Get the ” go with the flow” thing going now, and save yourself so much needless anxiety and heartache later. It’s not a silly thing, it’s very serious. Us type A’s need to get our requirement to be In Control under control (see what I did there?) because where babies are concerned, letting go and doing what you need to is paramount. Best of luck, I bet you look amazing!

  • Holly W.

    Oh, friend, please follow Amalah’s advice asap. And while depression will take more intensive steps to work through, know that there are those of us here who have had the exact same thoughts. I’m on my third pregnancy right now (24 weeks with twins!) and sometimes I feel like punching my doctor when they talk about weight gain like it’s no big deal. It IS a big deal, yo, its not like it just falls off later in life. And like you, I am/was a very fitness and healthy-eating focused woman – only fruit and veggie snacks, only drink water, CrossFit-style workouts 5 days/week, etc. But with both my previous pregnancies, I put on 40 pounds. And you know what? totally fine. It wasn’t because I was underweight before, although I was always toned and slender. It was just…water weight and huge boobs and gah the bloating and just…everything. I even worked out somewhat intensively until at least 36 weeks with both of my other pregnancies, and it didn’t seem to make a difference (except in labor. I had great stamina for contractions and pushing, even though I have a very low pain tolerance). This time around, I put on ten pounds in the first EIGHT weeks and I was like what. the. F. there cannot possibly be a reason for that. But I was even more bloated than in previous pregnancies, which was awful. I felt much more sick all the time, so I have no idea how I put on that much weight so quickly. and then it kind of evened out and slowed for a couple of months. All that to say – pregnancy weight gain can make NO sense. And as someone who is also conscious about feeling and looking good, it can be super frustrating. In the end – usually much, much later – you realize that it was all as it should have been. and you have a baby. and you’re a rock star!

  • ali

    My pregnancy weight gain pattern was to gain basically all the weight in the 2nd trimester.  I can remember being 24 or 25 weeks and panicking that if I continued my weight gain pattern I’d gain something insane…but I always ended up right within the recommended range.  I say that to say—this may level off and your body’s pattern could just be to gain weight early on.  I  I am really convinced your body is just going to gain what it gains when pregnant (barring extreme action like starvation diets or completely losing your mind eating).  Try not to do the math on where you will wind up—let eating healthy and exercising a reasonable amount be your guide.  Bets wishes to you!

  • Amanda

    As a nutritionist, reformed disordered eater, and mom of 2 littles, I can attest to the shock of adjusting to your new body throughout pregnancy. Even though I thought I’d fought the food demons long ago, pregnancy is a time they can come charging back. That said, know that 1) you are currently on a fine track for weight gain 2) the projected gain charts are not always accurate! I was VERY hungry and gained most of my weight from 3-4 1/2 mo. After that, baby got bigger and I physically was not as hungry and resumed more normal eating patterns. I gained in the beginning and not in the end, and that’s just the way my body did it to get my 2 healthy babies. Keep exercising as long as it feels good, keep eating well, and talk to your doc for some reassurance!

  • Elisabeth

    Agree that real problem here is not about your weight.  Gaining 33 pounds during pregnancy is totally fine and normal and healthy!  I gained more than that (over 40) and 20 months later everything is back to basically normal. 

    But yes, speak to your doctor about your thought pattern.  There is no need to continue to feel this way.  

  • Tiffany

    Oh honey! That’s the worst part of pregnancy for feeling overweight (at least it was for me) I think especially if you’ve never had weight issues or felt overweight before, or if you have & are afraid of struggling with it again. You’ve gained some weight, but don’t have enough of a pregnant belly to make it clear that it’s pregnancy, not just fat. It’ll get better! Amy’s advice was great! Don’t let this ruin your pregnancy for you!

  • April

    I gained more weight than the recommended amount (way more!) but I was talking to my doctor throughout. I was eating well the majority of the time and exercised throughout my entire pregnancy. My doctor just kept telling me that our bodies mostly do what they want when we’re pregnant and that he would tell me if I got to where I needed to worry (I didn’t). Baby was born totally healthy and big and I dropped nearly half my weight within several weeks.
    Please seek help for the anxious thoughts and nightmares. That’s no way to live.. get as healthy as you can for you and baby!

  • Jamie

    I want to echo that weight gain is definitely not consistent throughout for  a lot of people.  I had a snarky nurse practitioner comment on my weight gain at one of my check ups early on, basically saying that I obviously wasn’t “that” nauseous if I was able to gain so much in 2 weeks, but it was because I was starving in the beginning, and felt nauseous if I didn’t eat frequently.  By the end the baby took up so much room, I wasn’t able to eat as much plus my boobs stopped growing (they went up 4 sizes), and I don’t think I gained more than 2 pounds during my entire 3rd trimester.  So while 30 lbs would definitely be fine, everything changes constantly in pregnancy.

  • Stephanie

    I am also concerned about how this is affecting you. You should definitely talk to your doctor about this.
    Avoiding social situations is not normal.
    To make you feel better, I gained a LOT of weight with both of my pregnancies. I gained 55 pounds with my first. I had so much water weight that I had lost 30 pounds within a week of giving birth (my baby was 9 1/2 pounds, so that didn’t help either). I didn’t eat crazy amounts of food, my body just gained weight. I lost all of the weight I’d gained within a year (I held on to 5 pounds until I stopped breastfeeding). The same thing essentially happened the second time around. I didn’t have the water weight, but I still gained 45 pounds, and that baby was 8 1/2 pounds. Again, it took some time, but I lost all of the weight I gained. It’s just how my body is programmed.

    • KO

      YES!!! Same exact thing with me! 55 pounds gained, 9lb 9oz baby, and a good 30 pounds of it fell off within the first week. The rest of it took WORK—I had blood pressure issues on top of everything, so a few months post-partum I began walking regularly and watching my sodium intake (NOT eliminating it, because that can wreak havoc), which naturally meant I was eating more fruits/veggies/simple food and less cheese/bread/sweets/processed stuff. It took a while, but the weight did come off. 

      • SLV

        I’m also in the big-gainers camp. I gained 45 and 50 pounds with my pregnancies. My OB never even mentioned my weight gain, but I was baffled and dismayed because I ate well and exercised. It turned out that a lot of it was water weight. I lost 30 pounds in the ten days after giving birth (complete with soaking night sweats), 5-10 more in the weeks that followed, and the rest within six months. Due to breastfeeding, I actually ended up below my pre-pregnancy weight and then eventually normalized when I weaned. So everyone is different when it comes to weight gain. But I echo everyone else’s comments that it’s a good idea to let your OB know about your mental state, and see a good therapist to talk about your anxiety. It really helps.

  • Alyssa

    I just want to echo amy’s advice. Talk to your doctor asap about prenatal depression. I had it with baby number 2 and it made my pregnancy a terrible time for me. Even while getting help, it was still hard, but at least I wasn’t locking myself in my house crying anymore. You may have PPD after or it may go away when baby is born, but trust me, you need help getting through this. You deserve to enjoy your pregnancy. 

  • MJH

    LW, sometimes something normal that a lot of women worry about a little bit becomes a major, looming, enormous crisis in our brains. For me, it was baby sleep. It got to the point where I could not sleep even when my baby was sleeping because I was so obsessed with sleeping!

    But to my eye, everyone worried about sleep! I could read 1 million articles on the web or Amalah advice columns. So I was just normal, right? But when I stopped sleeping I knew something was wrong. I got some anti-depressants and a therapist and after a few months it all fell suddenly into perspective. I could see how I was obsessing and worrying and completely consumed with this topic in a way that regular, non-depressed people weren’t. 

    That’s what it sounds like is happening to you with pregnancy weight. Add in all the general diet and negative body talk we’re surrounded by daily, even when we’re not pregnant, and you’ve got a recipe for trouble. Please, please talk to your doctor and a feelings professional about this. You don’t have to worry to the point of obsession. There is absolutely nothing unusual about your situation except your reaction.

  • Anon

    Remember, weight gain varies during the pregnancy, and your projection of 33 pounds is still within the 25-35 pound guidelines…and some women just go over that limit, and have healthy babies, and slowly over time lose the weight (or most of it anyway). I’m here to tell you that I gained 40 lbs with both of my pregnancies, and the world hasn’t ended. In fact, a year and a half out I had lost it all after my first. I doubt that will be true this time around, but I’m ok with it.

    That emotional stuff, though, that is a problem. Go tell your OB what you told us, print it out if you have to. This sounds like anxiety to me. And you know what? You can treat that. You can get help, and you can feel better, with therapy, self-care, and maybe meds. I recommend cognitive behavioral therapy to help give you the tools you need to help address this issue. I had CBT for anxiety, and when I finally realized I was dealing with a bout of post-partum depression several months after my daughter was born, those CBT skills really came back to help.

  • Lindsay

    Oh, hugs to you! Yes, please please PLEASE call your doctor right this minute. Your anxiety is the only part of this I am concerned about. Your weight gain? Not an issue. I fall into the tall and thin category, gained *60* pounds while pregnant (LOTS of water weight), gave birth to a completely healthy baby, and was back to normal (with no real effort) in well under a year. Pregnancy is a HUGE hormonal shift and everyone’s body handles it differently. Yours has shoveled the hormones into an anxiety issue. You’re going to be ok, mama! Talk to your doctor!!

  • Ellyn

    I hope you talk to your doctor soon.
    I gained 10 pounds in the first 10 weeks. I was a little freaked, but the only way I could make it through the work day without puking or focusing solely on not puking and therefore being a terrible emplyee, was eating tiny snacks all day, no major meals. This also helped a lot with my heartburn, which was horrendous. 
    It did not help with the weight gain.
    I gained 50 pounds with my little. I worked out, I walked a lot, a barely ate at the end, but there it is.
    My mom gained 50 with both her pregnancies. My aunt gained around 50 for both hers. My cousin, 5 months behind me, a pilates instructor, CNA at an eating disorder clinic, and all around slim and healthy girl, gained (you guessed it!) 50 pounds. None of us were overweight before, none of us are overweight after (giving ourselves a reasonable amount of rebound time!)
    I’m a firm believer in your body will gain what it needs to gain, unless you starve yourself or spend all day and night in bed eating.
    Take some deep breaths, and then get on the phone with your doctor, as your thoughts and actions are the only thing not normal here. Take care of yourself!

    • Hillary

      Same here – a family of women who were slim to begin with, slim within a year afterward, but gained 45-50lbs with each pregnancy. It is not fun to watch your shoe size go up but its just what some bodies do. Both my babies were big and squishy!

  • Becky

    Yes to dealing with the depression. I sank into prenatal dep wih both my pregnancies, and it got worse and worse as the preg went on. Please speak to someone. I had my baby 2 weeks ago and literally feel like a new person. My husband said it is like getting his wife back. I hadn’t realised how low I had gone until I could look bck and say “woah, it isn’t normal to want to die every second of the day and not smile for 9 months”. I just assumed everyone felt like that.

    PleSe please get help. If nothing else the skills you learn now to cope with it will help either in subsequent press or if the ppd lingers (which it did for my first)

    Xxx

    Ps sorry for crumby typing… Middle f of he night, feeding and trying not to drop phone on baby!

  • Ratih

    Weight gain indeed varies so much! I was a US size 2/4 and gained about 40 pounds! Now, 6mo postpartum, I am still 20 pound heavier than before my pregnancy — I call it my baby wearing fat. Apparently, my body still needs it to take care of the baby, and keeps it as a reserve for breastfeeding. It’s just how it is, and I know that one day things will go back to the way it was before (with healthy exercise). What worries me is your self image. I echo amy’s advice. Hope you will feel better soon.

  • Marisa

    I got horrible, horrible prenatal depression. I never got help for it and I really regret it. As soon as the baby was born – felt fantastic. People don’t talk about it so I didn’t even know it was a thing.

    And if this isn’t depression related to pregnancy but just one thing you feel really terrible about, remember that you are a fucking miracle. Maybe all you see is chubby tummy or the clothes that don’t fit you anymore, but let me remind you what your phenomenal body is doing: YOU ARE CREATING AN ENTIRELY NEW HUMAN. Your body took a little semen and then was like THANKS BRO, I GOT IT FROM HERE. While you look in the mirror and get upset at your changing appearance, your body is churning away making a little body part on the side of your baby’s head that can translate vibration into meaningful data (SOUND!!). You’re making kidneys – YOU MADE A WORKING HEART. If anyone gives you grief about your weight, slap them in the face and be like DID YOU MAKE A MOTHERFUCKIN EAR TODAY??? Then shut it.

    Your body is phenomenal. Give it credit for what it has done thus far. Your body hasn’t failed you. The medical profession has failed you by confusing legitimate health issues (truly excessive weight gain) with bullshit societal unrealistic expectations of what a pregnancy should look like.

    Now go google all the amazing things your body has done over the past 15 weeks and eat a cookie.

    • Carolyn Allen Russell

      Comment of the year! I’d like to see it as a meme 😉 

    • Diane

      Jesus, your comment got me all misty-eyed and I haven’t been pregnant for three years. HELL YES, MARISA! 

      To the OP, keep in mind that NO ONE looks like Gisele Bundchen while pregnant, even Gisele. She has hordes of people feeding her a grape at a time for snacks, airbrushing her pregnancy skin problems away, telling her when to do downward-dog for three hours at a clip. Maybe she burped and farted all the livelong day and was truly miserable. (You’ll never know!)

      To put it in perspective, I gained 37 lbs with my son – who was 9lbs thankyouverymuch – and lost about half that the first week after having him. Don’t let these pounds worry you.
      When it was time to go back to work, I even fit into my old clothes (mostly). Eat healthy, keep working out, do all the things that keep YOU feeling good.

      That is to say – your pregnancy experience will be how it will be. Drop the magazines showing how svelte Kate Middleton was while pregnant, walk away from the scale, and call your doctor. There are things you can do to help yourself get out of this depression, because it can be SO much better.

    • Lindsay

      OhMyGod this is my favorite comment ever.

      “Did you make a motherfuckin ear today???”

      This is the sort of thing I tried to tell myself when I was pregnant. But I wasn’t nearly so awesome about it. 🙂

    • Katie

      Marisa, you are phenomenal and I feel like your comment should be a mantra for all the preggo ladies out there.  

      To the OP, I would only echo the other commenters and say that weight gain varies for everyone and often varies by pregnancy.  I gained 45lbs with my first (delivered a 10lb monster) and lost over 30lbs within the first two weeks and the rest within about a year postpartum.  Now in my 3rd trimester with baby #2, I’ve been keeping a more careful eye on my diet and exercise, but I’m still on track to gain about 35lbs overall.  One of my close friends gained over 25lbs in her first 2 trimesters and not an ounce in the 3rd.  If you take care of yourself (diet, exercise, talk with the doc about your feelings on your weight gain and keep talking to him or her throughout your pregnancy), then you are doing everything you can for your little one.  The rest is a matter of trusting your body to do what it needs to do.  Easier said than done of course!  

      I wish you all the best and I hope that as things move forward, you’re able to enjoy your pregnancy a bit more and relish the fact that, as Marisa pointed out, you made a motherfuckin ear today.  That’s pretty badass!

    • Rachel

      Oh my gosh this is the most amazing comment ever.

    • Kat

      Awesome, awesome comment!

    • RS

      I am 29 weeks pregnant. This means that I have roughly 11 weeks (give or take) to say: DID YOU MAKE A MOTHERFUCKIN EAR TODAY???, every. single. day. 

      It’s almost enough to make me wish I could go late (nope). You are a hero and a true artist. 

  • Rachel

    Marisa, your comment might be the single greatest thing I’ve ever read. I copied and pasted it into a text message so I can read it over and over. I was a size 4/6 before pregnancy, worked out all the time, worked out 4 days a week all through pregnancy till the day I went into labor and I gained 51 lbs. And that was with awful morning sickness for the first 14 weeks. And I lost it all by 10 months after. Once the nausea/vomiting stopped my appetite returned and it was like a faucet I couldn’t stop. Never been so freakin hungry in my life!! And my baby was 9 lbs. As long as you’re not laying in bed shoving Oreos in by the handful for 23 hours a day your body is doing what it is supposed to. I found it really helped me to avoid all mention of any “celebrity pregnancy” bc it’s all so appearance-driven and not healthy. I so hope you call your doc and feel better very soon. You’re doing awesome OP.

  • Sarah

    Some great comments–I’d also like to add that 15wks is right when your body is gaining weight, but it’s not yet defined into a nice pregnant shape. I had that “prefect” basketball later on, but at 15wks I just looked lumpy.  It’s the worst time to evaluate your body because your body has just done sown quick changes and your brain can’t yet catch up!  And I agree with Amy and others to talk to your doctor.  

  • Jeannie

    I definitely second (20?) the comments on depression. Your feelings over the weight gain are much more of a problem than the gains themselves. Please talk to someone!

    Just for the record, I gained almost 70 pounds with my first and 50 with my second. I lost it all and more after my first, and lost it all but ten pounds with the second — but I attribute that to being over 40 now and not having time to exercise rather than pregnancy. 33 pounds of weight gain will be relatively easy to lose after the baby is born (since the baby et al will be ten pounds of that!)

  • Jeanne

    Knowing my weight during pregnancy made me feel crazy. So I put away my scale and asked the dr not to tell me my weight. It was a small fix to keep myself from feeling out of control.

    Good luck to you.

  • K

    MARISA’S COMMENT. So perfect. And so true, as is Sarah’s comment about being kind of lumpy at 15 weeks instead of like a cute pregnant lady with an actual bump. I’m petite and generally fit and health conscious, and I gained almost 45 pounds during my pregnancy. I was sick almost the entire time, and still managed to gain weight like a pro. And almost all of it was during the second trimester. And my doctor’s advice/guidance on weight gain/food intake/exercise: do what makes you feel good. Craving a bowl of ice cream? Eat it. Balance it out with a walk and a sort of healthy dinner. Need to snack all day? Do it. Try to get lots of fruits and veggies in there, and if you can’t, go for a walk. His biggest concern at all times? My stress level. So – echoing everyone else: talk to your doctor not about your weight gain, but about how gaining this weight is making you feel. How it’s impacting your relationship with yourself and the rest of the world, which is way more important than the actual number on the scale in most cases.

  • S

    Yes. Agree to it all. OP’s thinking has gone to a new place, ask about depression. The weight gain matters, yeah, but … You will gain weight. And other changes just will happen. And it’s all a bit freaky.

    Also, the weight gain can be all over the place. I have only had one pregnancy (full term twins). By 21-22 weeks, I had gained ZERO lbs. And then from 22 to 38 weeks I gained 50 lbs. There’s not a normal pattern.

  • Shelly

    Dear letter writer, echoing all the previous comments re talking to your doctor about perinatal depression/anxiety. As a side, if your doctor/nurse/midwife dismisses these concerns, break up with them. Have a good old fashioned, “I’m sorry, you’re dumped” conversation with the them. You can even throw in an “it’s not me, it’s you” comment at them if they get really snarky. 

    One thing not mentioned by the other posters is the massive, amazing new fitness regime you get on after having a baby. I call it “OMG. I have to lift this baby everywhere. EVERYWHERE!!!” Muscles, grow now please. I’m small, petite, and generally lacking in body strength. Well, not anymore. (8 months post baby). I’m still losing the last of the extra tummy weight, but the growing muscles is really helping to keep my metabolism up. 

    Please, talk to your doctor, tell your mom (or closest family member) and know that we are all cheering you on to get help and feel better. 

    • DJ

      OMG, I have the best guns now!  You think 8mon is rough, my 2.5yo still needs to be held sometimes. 

      • melissa

        I have a 19 mo old and a 3 yo that are EACH 31 lbs and like to be carried and held.  I was at christmas mass with one on each hip and I couldn’t help but think about how much stronger I am now than I was before kids.  62 lbs! for an HOUR!  Sure I’m a little soft in the middle but that’s not my first priority now.  

        You’re amazing.  We are all amazing! No matter what shape!

        • cd

          Yes, the mom pipes! God, I love the mom pipes so much. They were such an unexpected boon of having an 85th percentile chunker of a baby. Even now, 23 weeks pregnant with my second, my arms are still looking mighty fine just because I still have to haul my 35-pound toddler around. The upper body strength is really just the greatest feeling. I look back at my first-time pregnant self actually bothering to do weights (with dinky little five-pound dumbbells) and I just laugh and laugh.

  • Bella

    My first pregnancy I gained 12 pounds in my first trimester, and spent the next 28 weeks freaking out with the same thoughts you are having i.e. If I continue on this trajectory I’m gonna be huge. And when it was all said and done, I only gained 23 lbs. This time around I swore that I wasn’t going to think at all about my weight gain because it had been such a waste of time and energy the first pregnancy. Well, at 20 weeks I had yet to gain any weight and of course I started freaking out about something being wrong with the baby or me. At my 26 week appt today, I’m up 6 lbs and all is completely fine. And if I get pregnant again, it’ll probably be some new weight gain pattern that freaks me out. All that to say, there is no predicting what your trajectory will be, and even if there was, it wouldn’t be worth the kind of intense sadness and anxiety you are having currently. You need to let someone know, and talk to a professional about it.

    And when these thoughts keep cropping up, as they inevitably will, throughout your pregnancy, just remind yourself that Beyoncé gained 60 lbs when she was pregnant 🙂

  • DJ

    With my first, I gained 30lbs and lost 50lbs after (now, it took like at least a year but I did…absolutely nothing to lose that weight).  With my second, I decided not to care about my weight as long as it didn’t get too crazy.  I think I ended up gaining around 50lbs.  I’m 1yr pp and I have no idea what my weight is.  Other than a couple of months ago it was at the exact same place as my 6wk pp visit.  But I’m not at an unhealthy weight for my height.  

    Now…I have prenatal depression that became postpartum depression.  I wish I’d realized that it was even a possibility, but I didn’t know that until I was 3mon pp with my first.  And I was well into postpartum depression.  Get help, please!  It was the best thing I did.  Also, I found the book “This isn’t what I expected” useful.  Now, it won’t take the place of a trained therapist.  But I found it most useful because it discussed different medications and what was safe.  There was even a table that showed what symptoms are usually treated best by therapy alone vs combination medication and therapy.  

    Good luck mama!  We’re rooting for you!

  • Anne

    I had terrible morning sickness. I actually lost 10lbs at first. But, lo, by the end I had gained 45+ to make up for it! I wasn’t too, too worried. I come from healthy stock, and thought it was par for the course and I’d have a little extra work to do after I was done breastfeeding. Except, as soon as I started breastfeeding, it all came off, like, almost too fast. Like my doc was all, “seriously…you need to eat.” Now that the holidays rolled around, I’m cheerfully pudgy again but sheesh the body is crazy. Especially while pregnant. It knows what it’s doing and when you are caring for baby that’s all you can do. And for those people that want to comment on any aspect of weight gain, you have the universe’s permission to be as rude as you can right back. 🙂

  • Jana

    I think pregnancy weight gain patterns can be very different for different women. I also flipped out during my pregnancy because my weight gain was mostly during the first half. I gained EIGHT pounds by my 8 wk appointment – yes, 2lbs per week for every week I was actually pregnant! By 20 weeks it had slowed and I had gained 20 lbs. I was only 5’1″ and 110# and at the beginning of my pregnancy the OB nurse suggested that 20 pounds would be a good weight gain goal for the ENTIRE pregnancy. It was pretty horrible to have gained that with another 20 weeks to go!

    But then it slowed and I ended up gaining 30 pounds the entire pregnancy. 20 pounds came off within a few weeks of delivery and my body held onto the last 10 for about five months then the weight dropped off in two weeks and all my hair fell out. I ended up dropping another five pounds during breastfeeding. Definitely call your doctor, but maybe it helps to know that the weight gain really is temporary. I wish I had known that I would lose it so easily after delivery, I spent a terrible amount of time feeling fat and unattractive and pretty miserable. Oh and I did not mention the acne…

  • Mary Ann

    My doctor is obsessed with my weight. I started in a US size four, not out of shape or high on the BMI chart. None-the-less, she has it in her head that I should gain 20 pounds from my lowest point in the first trimester. Her weird fixation does keep me out of the candy, but that’s literally as much as I’m willing to commit to that particular situation.

    She wasn’t particularly impressed when I noted I had gained 13 fewer pounds than at this point in my last pregnancy. If your doctor is fat shaming you, or contributing to this worry you have, find another doctor. I leave every appointment thinking “I should really look into seeing someone else”, because I know she is the issue, not my body. Also, I’m kind of lazy so I haven’t actually done it yet.

  • B

    I gained 45 pounds with each pregnancy, even though I ate healthy and exercised.  After the first one, I lost all of it.  After the second one, I lost most of it.  The weight that I didn’t lose, I attribute much more to a metabolism shift due to my age than to the fact that I had a pregnancy.  When I had my babies, I realized just how very much of the weight was water weight and placenta (the doctor and nurses all said that both were remarkable).  This could be the same for you!!!!  Just tell yourself that this baby is worth the temporary weight gain.  Unless your dr is concerned, you shouldn’t be.  I’m sure you are beautiful and glowing!  Hang in there.

  • Flic

    I agree with Amalah, and all the comments, and I have to just say, that the fact that you are SO healthy probably doesn’t help OP.
    You’ve spent years knowing that what you put into your body; food/exercise wise = what you get out of it. However, when you’re pregnant, all that goes out the window. You can eat as healthily as you like, and exercise, but at the end of the day, you are growing a human, and every woman’s body reacts differently.
    My sister was very fit and healthy before she fell pregnant. But she just blew up when pregnant. I mean, just BALLOONED with water retention. (And bad acne too boot!). A year later, she was back to her pre-pregnancy weight.

    • MD

      This is true. When you are pregnant, you are no longer steering the ship, which is a very uncomfortable feeling when you are the ship!

  • I suffered from an ED during my younger years and so the weight gain with pregnancy was never easy. I had moments of panic, of anxiety, didn’t want to go outside … So I’ll echo what amalah said: talk to your doctor. I know I had PPD after each pregnancy and I suspect I had depression during as well, and I should’ve talked to my doctor (I have a fear of doctors, unfortunately), because I bet it would’ve been so much better.

    And I gained 45 pounds each time, like clockwork. I exercised everyday, was a manager in retail (a bookstore, so I clocked 2-4 miles walking everyday) … And I still gained 45 pounds. That’s what was normal for me, not some number in a book. I lost it all every time eventually (it took two years this time around but I wasn’t too worried about it) and my kids were all in the 7-9pd range, healthy, etc, no gestational diabetes. So for what it’s worth: do your exercise, eat the nourishing food, and let it be. Your body will gain what it needs to gain, and then you will lose it afterwards if that’s what you want to do.

  • Magt

    I was sick and puking first trimester with my first and up to 7 months with my second. I gained 15# with both pregnancy’s and looked like a rock star til I stopped breastfeeding. I also ate like a hog. None of that mattered. Your body is programmed to do what it will do. I hope you see your doc. As a nurse you shouldn’t have to be miserable… Hugs!!!

  • CeeBee

    Get help now regarding these feelings. You think you won’t starve yourself (baby) and keep workouts reasonable. But as you gain more weight you’ll become more consumed with that number and keeping it in check, and you’ll convince yourself it’s ok to reach almost passing out before you eat a meal or start tacking time onto workouts.

    Prenatal weight gain is a crapshoot. A friend of mine packed on 25lbs the first trimester and couldn’t explain to you how. I gained 60lbs my first pregnancy and 40 pounds my second and guess what? I was my pre-pregnancy weight at both 6 week postpartum check ups, and I was unable to breastfeed after my first pregnancy. I also didn’t exercise at all during those first weeks after pregnancy. Your body creates and retains so many things during pregnancy to do it’s job. Let your body do it’s job.

  • Tam

    In the space of two years my weight was 120, 180 when baby 1was born, back to 120 four months later, 210 (omg) when second baby was born, back to 120 six months later. My mom would gain huge amounts of weight when pregnant and I do too. Both babies were perfectly healthy, no health problems for me either. I was super skinny most of my life but pregnancy just put a full stop on my metabolism. Between the weight gain and my super thick hair that just kept getting thicker I felt like I was living inside the skin of another person altogether. Fun fact-I figured out I needed to take a pregnancy test not because I missed a period, but because I was going down some stairs and my 34AA cup boobs bounced. I was a 38 DD when nursing.

  • MD

    I was just reading an email I wrote to my mom near the end of my first trimester in which I wrote that I had gained 18 pounds even though the stupid weight charts told me I was only supposed to have gained 0-5! I was terrified. By my math (and according to those charts) I was convinced I was going to gain 80 pounds! My whole pregnancy it seemed that I was gaining uncontrollably. But, in the end, I ended up gaining only 35 pounds. It sounds like a lot (especially if you are a small person like I am) but I looked great! It was all beautiful belly…honestly! Once I let go of the fear of the weight gain, I never felt so beautiful. I was a gorgeous creature 🙂 35 pounds of pregnant is not the same thing as 35 pounds of fat!!! Then I had an emergency c-section and they pumped me so full of fluids I swelled up like a balloon for weeks, but that is another story. In the end, I went back to my pre-baby weight with absolutely no effort and no attention to my diet other than making sure I have food within reach at all times (breastfeeding makes you hungry). You will be ok! 

  • kimm

    I gained 60 lbs with 2nd sweet baby, but lost it in 2 months after her birth, because of breastfeeding which took away the calories fast. Please ask for help from your Dr, for the anxiety, it’s not good for baby or for you.

  • Kim

    I lost 15 pounds with both kids, and then put back on a grand total of 55, 40 pounds over my pre pregnancy weight.  I delivered at the exact same number on the scale each time. I walked out of the hospital having lost all but 15 of those pounds, and gaining a couple of 7-8+ babies.

     My sister in law gained 70! pounds the first pregnancy, (mostly water weight) and tried to do the healthy, eating right and exercising thing with the second and gained….. 70 pounds. She got it all back off pretty quickly (she had to deal with a frustrating 10 pounds of “breastfeeding weight” until she weaned.  It’s a thing.)

    The anxiety-  talk to your doctor.  I really really should have with my first.  I was anxious, angry, grumpy and just a general mess with my first, and it carried over into her first few months.  I feel super sad about all of that now, and wish that I had not put myself through all of that when it could have been avoided.