With 60% of women in their childbearing years being classified as overweight or obese, it’s time we start empowering rather than shaming women of size.
Pregnancy isn’t a time to start dieting, but eating for two isn’t advisable either. Books like, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, are full of complicated nutritional plans that can bring on a loss of appetite just by looking at them. Simplify all of the rules by avoiding processed foods, and don’t eat or drink anything that could potentially be harmful during pregnancy (alcohol, raw fish, fish full of mercury, etc.). It’s okay to give into the occasional pregnancy craving but grab a bite-size Snickers rather than a king-size. Consider working with a nutritionist to develop new habits with food that will last well beyond pregnancy.
The key to committing to an exercise routine is finding something enjoyable! Contact a local recreational facility to see if they offer a water aerobics class. Not only is it a great workout but being weightless during pregnancy is wonderful! Start a walking group with some girlfriends or go for a spin on a stationary bike. Consider prenatal yoga; it’s a great way to tune into one’s body and learn breathing techniques for labor. There are many ways to stay active throughout pregnancy but always check with a care provider before starting a new exercise routine.
Work with a Supportive Healthcare Provider
It’s important to find someone who will not only provide excellent care but also build confidence within a woman’s ability to have a healthy outcome for her and her baby. Asking a care provider about their previous experience working with plus size women is a good way to gauge if they are “size friendly” or not. Being plus size doesn’t automatically classify a woman with a high risk pregnancy, and it’s important to know that firing a current provider is always an option. When seeking a natural childbirth, the midwifery model of care is often desirable. Many women, regardless of their birth plan, hire a doula to help decrease the odds of medical interventions and shorten the length of labor. With a supportive healthcare team, plus size women can achieve healthy pregnancies and positive birth experiences.