Friday Headdesk: Pre-pregnancy weight edition

I have a co-worker who is the same age as me and yesterday she came back from her yearly exam to share with me some info we were both interested in: what’s the deal on wanting to get with the baby making but being near or over 30 years of age?  The hubby and I have been talking about babies for a while now and I was definitely interested in what my co-worker was told.  Except for one part when apparently her doctor explained that women looking to get pregnant really should be down to 150 pounds.  To boot, the doctor added, that was on the “heavy side”.  My co-worker and I had a good guffaw over that; part in honest amusement and part in indignation.  Not only was I scoffing because losing about half of my body size just to be considered on the “heavy side” of pre-pregnancy weight seems a bit extreme (okay, largely insane) but because the chance of me actually DOING that were zilch. I did appreciate though that my husband found it equally amusing and when I even mentioned how insane it would be to attempt a diet of that scale he said “But I like happy April best”.  Indeed my love, as do I!

But in the spirit of keeping things light-hearted towards the week’s end here’s a little crocheted turkey I just finished making.  I call it a Turkey Peacock because the pattern was for a peacock.  I was aiming for a look like a Phoenix but the turkey is still cute and makes me grin.

Turkey Peacock

Yes, that is "Pokey" on the mug behind the bird

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10 thoughts on “Friday Headdesk: Pre-pregnancy weight edition

  1. I’ve had 3 kids now, with the first happening when I was 30 (the last one I birthed at 38). I had three different midwives and, for all three, gave birth in hospital (the midwives worked there). All three were natural childbirth deliveries. All three went well, though the first was a few weeks early and spent a week in NICU. With all three, I had perfect bp, blood sugar, etc. etc. And with all three, I was over 250lbs.

    The single most important thing you need is to find yourself a good, fat-friendly partner to help you with the process. I recommend a midwife if you can get one. They’re statistically far less likely to advocate for an automatic C-section on the basis of your being fat and more likely to see pregnancy as a natural (rather medical) process.

    Be prepared to self-advocate on things like making sure you have a big enough bp cuff, etc. And remember that all pregnancies are different (just like all bodies).

    My own midwives rocked, and treated me like a strong person who could be trusted to make wise decisions. By the time I had my third one, the midwife would be talking to me and then suddenly stop and say, “Wait–you know all this stuff” and it was just the greatest feeling.

    As far as prep work goes, I’d ignore the advice about changing body weight and, instead, do lots of walking and work on flexibility as much as you can. Late in the pregnancy, I found it helpful to use one of those large blow-up balls you sit on.

    In sum, it’s totally possible to have a healthy, happy pregnancy after 30 (and even close to 40) while fat!

  2. Trying to bully fat women magically into thinness by scaring them about possible pregnancy risks is the new trend in OB. I write about it quite a bit on my blog.

    I think the best way to approach being healthy in pregnancy as a woman of size is to emphasize great proactive behavior and habits. Eating well and getting daily exercise go a LONG ways towards prevention of problems, so if you’re already doing that, you have a big headstart. If not, then by all means, work on improving that ahead of time.

    Count me also as a fan of choosing a midwife for your care. I’ve definitely found them to be more size-friendly in general than most OBs, and more proactive about pregnancy in general than most OBs. I got far better care and more size-friendly treatment from my midwives than I ever did with my OBs.

    I do think it’s important to have a prenatal appt with a midwife and document that your BP, blood sugar, and thyroid function are all normal before pregnancy, and discuss upfront your preference for being proactive about nutrition and exercise rather than losing weight. That gives you the best leg up on getting size-friendly care during pregnancy. It shows them you’re not the stereotype of the ignorant lazy fatty, snarfing down donuts and sitting on the couch all day, and that you are very interested in your health and in being proactive.

    I had four children with a BMI in the upper 40s. Being 150 lbs is not an absolute requirement for a healthy pregnancy. There is a greater risk for some problems in women of size, but proactive health habits go a long way in addressing these, and losing a huge amount of weight is no guarantee of avoiding them either. It does help to establish good health ahead of time and to be as proactive as possible in your habits as well.

    Best wishes when you decide you are ready to begin this journey!

  3. I have had one set of twins and am currently pregnant with a second (both natural, no drugs involved!) and for each my starting, pre-pregnancy weight was about 130 *kilos*, ie. somewhere about 300 pounds I believe. I had no trouble getting pregnant either time (28 years old the first time, 33 the second) and from what I’ve heard my experience is not unusual. I had no complications the first time round, and only minor niggles this time which are actually due to an existing condition which wasn’t picked up until I became preg.

    Funnily enough I’ve had no trouble/flack from OB’s, midwives or GP’s(except for one midwife who told me to diet, and I dropped her very quickly) but the reaction from the unwashed public has been *extremely* negative. I’ve had people tell me I *will* have deformed babies (apparently I am lying when I say it didn’t happen the first time), that I am irresponsible, and that I will probably die from the effort 🙂 Considering I had a vaginal birth the first time I don’t think so!

    Fat women have been having babies for centuries! Like the PP I’d advise anyone, regardless of health, to be as healthy as they can before they start, but to me that means existing health issues under control, eating well and exercising regularly, as these will (hopefully, there are no guarantees!) make pregnancy and labour easier.

    Personally, I think this attitude from Doctors is lazy, as it allows them to blame the woman rather than actually try and find out why someone is have trouble with their fertility. And I wonder if there is a sexism angle to this to; notice how fat men are not admonished for their size in relation to their fertility? Does fat only affect eggs and not sperm??

  4. I had my first baby at 28 and my second at 30 (both vaginal births). Choose your doctor wisely! I had issues in each pregnancy with doctors freaking out because of my size. Make sure you get a blood pressure cuff that fits and a nurse that knows how to use it! I had to sign myself out of the hospital against medical orders when my doctor wanted to deliver my son at 32 weeks because of my “high” blood pressure. Lo and behold, it returned to normal when they used the proper size cuff for my arm. I requested a transfer to high risk and those doctors were much more laid back because I wasn’t actually pre-eclampsic, according to their diagnostic criteria. Speak up and be your own advocate. And exercise daily, because you’re going to need those muscles! Good luck!

    • I love all these stories and appreciate all the tips 😀 Sounds like doing what I’m doing is going to in my favor and I need to consider finding a midwife in our area hospitals. 🙂 RoundMama I’ve been reading your blog too and love the tips there and will be going back often 😀

  5. What’s with the 150 lbs? At 5’6″ that would put me within the magical BMI normal range. How can an absolute number mean anything?

  6. Not to mention, dramatic weight loss will throw your endocrine system for a loop, and if you are crash dieting/starving yourself to get there, you may not even be able to get pregnant until your body is getting enough food again. I say, if you’ve got a baby itch, go ahead.
    Heck, if it’s weight they’re worried about, maybe you can take my route and vomit for 7 months. I was living on a can of ensure each day, because I couldn’t keep other things down. I lost a bit of weight but managed to stay out of the hospital. But since I lost weight I was doing well, right? … Oh yeah, I also had a uterine prolapse when my daughter was finally born. But that, I am sure, had nothing to do with losing weight, not eating, and not exercising during the pregnancy (baby is fine though).
    I don’t have any bitterness about this issue. Nope. Not at allllll.

  7. When I had my (now 3 1/2 year old) daughter I was about 240lb at the start and by the end I was around 300lb. I did have certain issues during my pregnancy but none were related to my weight. Not a one. My OB never said one single word to me about my weight. I had to weigh in each appt but he never made comment. I have had two vaginal deliveries (I was about 170lb when I had my son) and my labour with my daughter was 2 hours long and she was born with no intervention at all at 42 weeks gestation. She was nearly 9lb too. I passed my glucose tolerance test with no problems and my BP was fine until the very end (hot weather and being 2 weeks over can do that to you, fat or thin!). I actually lost quite a bit of weight at the start of the pregnancy due to nausea. I wanted a home birth but here (in Australia) the only midwife in my area who does home births wouldnt attend me as she considered my weight to put me at high risk. As it turned out, the hospital birth was so close to being a home birth it didnt matter. I had low lights, music, my husband and my best friend, a birth altar and a circle cast in the delivery room(I’m pagan)and a midwife who sat back and did and said very little until I needed her to (which I didn’t much at all). It was a good birthing experience and my weight wasnt an issue.

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