When you’re plus size, pregnancy just looks different. There’s a lot of misinformation and assumptions about what a plus size person’s body is (and isn’t) capable of doing.
Unfortunately, most of the information available online focuses only on the increased risks during pregnancy when plus size versus what would actually be helpful: how to have healthy outcomes! Add to that, the lack of representation of diverse pregnant bodies in the media and the difficulty we face finding plus size maternity clothes.
My name is Jen McLellan, and in 2011, I set out to change the stigma surrounding plus size pregnancy by creating positive, evidence-based resources.
Today, Plus Size Birth is the leading plus size pregnancy resource for both families and birth professionals!
I think it’s really important to talk about the realities of being plus size and pregnant. The options for nursing bras, maternity belly bands, and books are so minuscule that it’s insulting. I knew it was frustrating but had no idea until I found myself pregnant and searching for things and answers that didn’t exist until I connected with Plus Size Birth. Jen’s resources and support helped me throughout my pregnancy.
Plus Size Birth promotes evidence-based information and positive resources to empower healthy decision-making for plus size people who are either trying to conceive or are currently pregnant. By sharing personal stories, inspiring images, and practical strategies, pregnancy for people of size becomes normalized.
Jen McLellan’s Bio
Jen McLellan, CBE, is a published author, founder of Plus Size Birth, and host of the Plus Mommy Podcast. She helps people navigate the world of plus size pregnancy, shares tips for embracing your body, and laughs her way through the adventures of parenthood.
With over 8 million page views, Plus Size Birth is the premier plus size pregnancy resource trusted by parents and professionals. The Plus Mommy Podcast has over 280,000 downloads and was named one of the best pregnancy podcasts by The Bump.
Jen’s work has appeared in major publications, including The New York Times, Glamour, and Huffington Post.
She authored the My Plus Size Pregnancy Guide and co-wrote the Amazon bestseller, The Peachie Moms Guide to Body Love for Moms. She also contributed to Jes Baker’s critically-acclaimed book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls.
As a public speaker, Jen has been featured at numerous events, including presenting at the National Institutes of Health. Jen is also a certified childbirth educator, wife, and mother to a charismatic teenager.
I’ll never forget Googling “plus size pregnancy” when I found out I was pregnant in January 2010. My feed was full of negativity. I read that I would develop gestational diabetes and have a cesarean birth because of my size. Plus, it was tough to find images of people my size who were pregnant.
I wondered if it was possible to have a healthy plus size pregnancy and worried about how my body would look as my pregnancy progressed.
Five months into my pregnancy, I hired a doula who introduced my husband and me to the midwifery model of care. I was quickly sold on an evidence-based, compassionate way of caring for myself and my baby, and we promptly changed care providers and hospitals.
A medical provider touched my body with compassion for the first time in my life. She believed that my body was capable of having a healthy pregnancy, so I believed I was capable too.
On August 24, 2010, following a completely healthy pregnancy in my plus size body, I gave birth to my son on my knees. From that moment on, I could no longer hate a body capable of something so magnificent!
As I settled into motherhood, I felt called to share my story with others. There needed to be more positive plus size pregnancy and birth stories on the internet.
I also wanted to create resources for plus size maternity clothing and things I struggled to find. It felt so unfair that my needs couldn’t be met with a trip to the mall or a quick Google search – information and recommendations on products for pregnant plus size people needed to be accessible!
Beyond that, I desired a place on the internet where people could share gorgeous plus size maternity photos in order to encourage others to take the pictures I deeply regret never posing for myself.
And so, on April 11, 2011, I launched the Plus Size Mommy Memoirs blog (with no idea what I was doing)!
Immediately, I received an overwhelmingly positive response and realized what I started was much more than a personal blog. A mere month later, Plus Size Birth was born!
With a background in the nonprofit sector doing end-of-life advocacy and volunteer management work, I knew how to build community groups to enact change. And I knew the needed change wasn’t just on the internet.
I became certified as a childbirth educator and started traveling the country speaking about supporting plus size people during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.
Plus Size Birth became my full-time passion and career!
I launched the Plus Mommy Podcast in 2018 to highlight birth stories and have needed conversations covering plus size parenting and lifestyle topics.
In 2019, I collaborated with the National Institutes of Health on the Pregnancy for Everybody Initiative.
My work has been featured in the New York Times, Glamour, HuffPost Live, Baby Center, Health At Every Size® blog, and many other media outlets.
With over eight million page views on the Plus Size Birth website, a large social media following, and a thriving podcast, I’m completely in awe of the ripple effect our stories can make!
I’ll be forever thankful that I shared my experience and set out to change how plus size people are treated during pregnancy. With over a decade of this work behind me today, I feel like I’m just getting started!