Weight gain can be scary in any circumstance. It can be hard to accept having to gain weight when social media is always promoting different diets, ways to lose weight, and thinness as the ideal body type. During pregnancy, your body will go through a lot of changes that can be hard to accept. Your journey postpartum can also be of concern.
Here are some things that can help you overcome your fear of weight gain during pregnancy.
Stay off the scale
There is no need for you to look at your weight during pregnancy if it is something that worsens your mental health. If knowing your weight makes it harder for you to accept the weight gain that comes with pregnancy, stay off the scale. Your doctor can keep track of your weight at check ups to make sure you are gaining the right amount. Just ask the doctor not to share this number with you at your visits, or look away when the nurse takes your weight.
Get in healthy movement
Moving your body during pregnancy may help put your mind at ease, as exercise usually helps to lower stress levels and boost your mood. Exercise may help with your mental health and help you feel more at ease with the weight gain that comes with pregnancy. Remember it is also important to not overdo it when it comes to exercising while pregnant though. Make sure to talk to your doctor to figure out what type of exercise is best for you during different stages of pregnancy.
Don’t compare your body to how you used to look
Try to resist the urge to look through old photos of yourself before you were pregnant. This can make you feel badly about your current body. It will only be harmful to your mental health if you start comparing your current body while pregnant to your previous body and may make it harder for you to want to gain weight.
If you do find yourself scrolling though, remember that you are supposed to look different. You are growing a whole human and that will cause some physical differences to your body. A changing body is healthy during pregnancy!
Remember that it’s not just for you, but for your baby
Not only is weight gain during pregnancy healthy for you, but it is healthy for your baby. Think of weight gain as helping your baby to be nourished and grow. You wouldn’t want your baby to not have enough nutrients to develop. Weight gain during pregnancy can help decrease the risk of your baby being born preterm and can help prevent your baby from being a low birth weight. Babies that are born too small may have difficulties when beginning to breastfeed and may not meet the milestones for their age.
Reach out for help
There are so many people that could help you work on your fear around weight gain. Talk to a therapist who could help you work through accepting your body and the weight gain that comes with pregnancy. There are also pregnancy groups that you could join. It might be helpful to discuss what you are going through with others who understand and are going through the same thing.
Reaching out to a registered dietitian is also a great idea. A dietician can help you figure out an individualized eating plan to make sure you are getting in enough calories and nutrients to help both the baby and you thrive.
Overall, it’s important to remember that your body will change during this time in your life. Weight gain comes along with a healthy pregnancy. Just be kind to your mind and body during this time and don’t be afraid to ask for help from professionals to support you and your growing baby.
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This article was written by Mackenzie Flug, nutrition intern. Fact checked by Allison Tallman, RD.