Google “being plus size and pregnant”, “plus size pregnancy”, “obese and pregnant”, “fat and pregnant”, or some variation of those search terms and upon review of just a few links, you’ll be led to believe you will most definitely, without a doubt, no matter what, develop complications during your pregnancy because of your size.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the comments section of most articles are a lot like walking through a minefield. You may be able to walk away unscathed. Or you could read some truly damaging comments. Comments including people saying you don’t have the right to be a mother simply because of your size.
The reality is, while there are some increased risks, women of all sizes can have healthy pregnancies!!
The most common plus size pregnancy frustrations include not being able to find affordable plus size maternity clothes or struggling to connect with a size friendly care provider – but let’s dig deeper!
Things No One Tells You About Being Plus Size and Pregnant
1. You might be tested twice for gestational diabetes.
As I mentioned above, there are increased risks and gestational diabetes is one of the main ones. Screening is important! Often people with a BMI over 30 having a hospital birth will be tested twice with the standard glucose challenge test.
The first test for gestational diabetes is given very early on in pregnancy (to see if you are already pre-diabetic or diabetic).
If you pass the test, you think, ‘Woohoo! I’m done.’
Then when you hit 24–28 weeks of pregnancy, when all women are routinely tested for gestational diabetes, you’ll be told you need to be tested again.
‘But…but I passed my test!’
I want to make sure you know that being tested twice is extremely common. It’s done in the best interest of your health and the health of your baby. I just wish more care providers let their plus size clients know that this will occur!
With that said, it is a red flag if your care provider tells you that you will develop gestational diabetes based solely on your size. Or if they insist on testing you for this condition monthly. If something like this happens to you, advocate for yourself by getting a second opinion, or consider switching to a more size-friendly provider.
2. Weight loss during pregnancy is not uncommon.
Weight is such a triggering topic, I know.
Still, we’ve got to talk about it! There’s evidence to show that limiting weight gain during pregnancy can actually help you to have a healthier pregnancy overall. Plus, odds are your care provider will tell you not to gain more than 11 – 15 lbs.
Now, while knowing your weight and working to limit your weight gain during pregnancy is something to strive towards. We emphasize this isn’t achieved by dieting, depriving yourself or restricting calories!
Quite the opposite, it’s all about being proactive with your nutritional choices (consider connecting with a registered dietician) and being physically active.
Related: 7 Plus Size Pregnancy Exercise Tips
If you weren’t already doing these things, a change in your habits can result in limited weight gain or even losing weight during pregnancy.
Quick recap – this isn’t about trying to lose weight during pregnancy! However, if you are proactive with your nutrition and physical activity during pregnancy, not gaining a lot of weight or even losing weight can be completely normal and healthy during a plus size pregnancy.
As long as you are making healthy choices throughout your pregnancy, your body is going to gain what it needs to in order to grow your baby.
3. You’ll measure ahead.
As your pregnancy progresses, your care provider will start measuring your belly to track growth. This is called fundal height measurements (the distance from the pubic bone to the top of the uterus measured in centimeters).
Real talk – as plus size woman, we come into pregnancy already having a belly. Because of this, plus size women have a new normal or baseline measurement.
Your care provider will account for this within your measurements and you’ll likely always be “ahead.” For example, if you’re 30 weeks along, your care provider might say you’re measuring at 34 weeks.
This is normal and it doesn’t mean you’re actually further along with your pregnancy. It just means you had more centimeters there to begin with.
4. Pregnancy can change the way you see your body!
You are growing a baby in an amazing body that society has led you to believe is inadequate. The truth is, your body is incredible and pregnancy is a time when many plus size women are able to see their bodies in new and beautiful ways.
Pregnancy is an opportunity to…
Connect with your belly rather than trying to hide it!
Learn how to find your voice and advocate for yourself and your baby during your medical care.
Transform old habits and implement new and wonderful ways to nourish and care for your body.
Let go of the labels others have placed upon you and stop giving them control over how you feel about your body!
…and so much more!
As your belly grows, be open to connecting to and loving your body in ways you might never have before.
Want to learn more about the in’s and out’s of having a healthy plus size pregnancy? From prenatal care expectations, increased risks (and how to reduce them), nutrition, physical activity, how to connect with a size-friendly care provider, body image and so much more – check out the My Plus Size Pregnancy Guide, today!
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