Weighty matters

The spectre of my post-pregnancy being hangs over me… With all the folklore of baby weight and how hard it is to shift, I’m worried. Not enough of course to make me take up exercise or prevent myself from scoffing maple pecan plaits (never was one who could make sacrifices in the short term for long term gain), but still it occupies my mind.

I started off relatively well in terms of warding off the pounds. I stayed a reasonably constant weight from 6 weeks to 12 weeks, so I ended up 1 whole pound lighter than when I started – I was very proud of myself. Then death man flu just after Christmas actually made me lose a few pounds, but those were soon regained. Then the trauma started, from 15 weeks the weight started to creep on – sometimes a pound at a time, sometime 4 (!), and those weeks when it looked like the previous week was a blip and a pound or two came off, were reversed the next week with a bonus extra pound or two thrown in for good measure. So now, here I am at 21 weeks, 6lbs heavier than my starting weight and almost hitting a very scary number on the scales (the next stone marker!) where I would officially become Lardy McLardon.

You see I’m not starting from a great baseline; too many maple pecan plaits, bottles of vin rouge and a generally hedonistic lifestyle have not kept my body like a temple, unless perhaps a basilica counts. So by the time the alien makes an appearance, I am quite likely to be reaching overload levels on the scales.

Equally I need to remember that too little weight gain is bad too… “Babies whose mothers gain under 9 kg are more likely to be premature, small for their gestational age, and to suffer growth restriction in the uterus” (What to Expect When You’re Expecting, 4th Edition).

So what should I expect / what’s normal / when should I lay off the maple pecan plaits?

The Authority on such matters appears to be the Institute of Medicine in the US, who published a report in 2009 on the very subject, including a useful resource sheet with graphs of the range in which one should pile on the pounds.

I like to see how I’m doing as I’m going along, so with a bit of jiggery-pokery and dodgy maths, I’ve used the table from the reports to try and spread out the weight gain (in lbs) across the weeks and work out how I’m doing against it. The original table had a high and a low range for the expected weight gain, so I have included both to check I’m sitting in the range and not putting on too little weight (as unlikely as that might be!) NB: my maths should not be trusted by anyone – check with a doctor if you want to know the definitive guidelines to use!

Prepregnancy BMI

High / Low

1st Trimester

Wk 16

Wk 20

Wk 24

Wk 28

Wk 32

Wk 36

Wk 40

Underweight

<18.5

Low

1

4

8

12

16

20

24

28

High

4

8

13

18

24

29

35

40

Normal weight

18.5-24.9

Low

1

4

7

11

15

19

22

25

High

4

7

12

17

21

26

30

35

Overweight

25.0-29.9

Low

1

2

4

7

10

11

13

15

High

5

8

11

14

17

19

22

25

Obese

≥ 30.0

Low

0

1

3

5

7

9

10

11

High

5

8

10

13

15

17

18

20

So starting off as overweight, and using the 20 week figure, I would have expected to have gained 4-11 lbs. I’m currently on 6 lbs so actually at the lower end of the spectrum, just need to make sure it stays that way and that the sudden spurt of weight gain does not continue its stratospheric rise (which means holding off on the maple pecan plaits and doughnuts then…)

Also need to stop looking at pictures of the Duchess, either that or start sending vibes her way to get her to give into those cupcake cravings she’s been telling folk about!

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