When I think back on my pregnancy there were three main things I did that helped me to have a healthy plus size pregnancy: I ate nutritious food, remained physically active with water aerobics, and hired a supportive fat-friendly medical provider.
Thanks to my upbringing: raised by a self-assured mother and a father who adores her curves, I’ve always been a fairly confident woman.
While being well-balanced and bubbly, I’ve always struggled with my weight. I’ve done the laundry list of things to lose weight (I don’t feel the need to list them because most of you have the same list) with some success but always gained back the weight and more.
Something just clicked inside me when I saw the word “pregnant” on my pregnancy test. From that point on everything I put in my mouth and every time I did or didn’t go to the gym didn’t just impact me.
I had to, for the first time in my life, put someone before myself. I wanted to do everything possible to have a healthy plus size pregnancy and here's what I did…
3 Keys For A Healthy Plus Size Pregnancy
1. My Diet During Pregnancy
I never tried to diet during pregnancy, but by cutting out most processed food and not drinking alcohol I started dropping a pound here and there. Diets I had been on in the past had so many rules, but now I had just two to keep my baby and myself healthy: do my best to avoid processed food (with the exception of the occasional pregnancy cravings) and don’t eat/drink anything that would be considered a pregnancy no-no.
It was pretty simple and I honestly had never felt better in my adult life.
I believe by increasing my protein intake and eating healthier, I lowered my risk for all of those pregnancy complications that affect women of all shapes and sizes. I passed my glucose test on the first try and never had high blood pressure.
2. Being Physically Active During My Plus Size Pregnancy
So that’s how I ate healthy and this is how I got my body moving: I’ve always belonged to a gym but that doesn’t mean I always went. Around the first week of February 2010, I joined a water aerobics class at my local recreation center.
I envisioned water aerobics being a bunch of blue-haired old ladies bobbing around in the water. Boy was I wrong! I was immediately welcomed to the class by women and men of all different sizes and ages. I had never joined a group exercise class because I always felt like I’d be the biggest person and wouldn’t be able to keep up.
I was kicking some water aerobics’ butt in no time and did my best to go Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday nights during my pregnancy.
Not only did I feel the results of a good workout but there’s nothing more wonderful than being weightless when you’re pregnant. I also tried prenatal yoga and really enjoyed it. Talk about appreciating what your body can do and be able to tune into your baby!!!
Eating right and exercising are essential for a healthy body during pregnancy. A healthy mind is just as important!
3. Work With A Size-Friendly Healthcare Provider
For me, finding a doula and medical provider who instilled faith in my body and my ability to give birth gave me the peace of mind I so desperately needed.
My doula empowered my husband and me to make informed decisions that led us to working with midwives. It’s statistically proven that plus size women have a higher chance of having a c-section and it has also been proven that doulas lower the risk of having one – seemed like a no-brainer to us!
The hospital we originally selected, because our OB/GYN worked there, had a c-section rate of over 30%. The hospital I gave birth at had an 18% c-section rate but it dropped down to 6% when working with the midwife program!
My midwife would spend almost an hour with us at each appointment and most of that time was spent with her touching my belly. She would comment on how easy it was to feel my baby and giggle every time he kicked her. We addressed the fact that I could have a larger baby due to my size but that my body was capable of giving vaginal birth to a 10 lb baby.
That was not the care I received with my OB/GYN but I know a lot of women who love their OB/GYN. I also know a lot of women who couldn’t imagine giving birth without an epidural and I support their choice. I’m just glad I chose to work with midwives and give birth naturally. I believe this model of care helped to build my confidence in my body and kept me from experiencing unnecessary interventions at the hospital.
My pregnancy and birth of my son helped me to embrace my body that I had always considered flawed. Nowadays I attend my water aerobics class without hiding behind a towel to and from the pool. Life is going to pass by one way or another so I’d rather be happy with my body today!
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 – checkout the My Plus Size Pregnancy Bundle, today!l