Plus-sized Pregnancies 101
Hey Tranquility Tribe! Pregnancy can be a tough journey for anybody, but if you’re plus-size, the journey can be even tougher. However, there are so many things you can do as a plus-size mama to help yourself along this journey, and we’re here to give you the low-down on that today!
50 percent of today’s pregnant moms are overweight and 1 in 4 are obese. The higher body mass index, or BMI, you have, the higher your risk for complications like pre-eclampsia, blood clots and premature birth becomes. One of the most common complications plus-size women face in pregnancy is gestational diabetes - overweight women are anywhere from two to eight times more likely to develop it, and unfortunately the condition can lead to further complications like preterm labor and increased risk of c-section.
While this may sound frightening, it’s important to remember that being plus-size doesn’t automatically make your pregnancy high risk! You have the power to do all you can to mitigate this risk through your lifestyle choices during your pregnancy. Make sure you are keeping all your antenatal appointments and continuing to be screened for these risks - if they end up happening, it is best to catch them as early as possible. Eat and exercise as well as you can. Rather than dieting, focus on eating whole, healthy foods instead so you can nourish your body for baby. You may wish to consult a dietician to get help with planning healthy meals and snacks for the months ahead. Get your body moving every day, even if it’s just for an evening walk. Taking care of your body during pregnancy is a priority no matter your size - you are nurturing a whole tiny human inside of you, so looking out for your health by eating clean and exercising your body is so incredibly important for both of you!
Another crucial topic when it comes to plus-size pregnancy is choosing your maternal care team. Unfortunately, your size may lead to some unnecessary and just straight up insensitive shaming from medical staff. Some may doubt your ability to get pregnant at all or not have faith in you and your body along the way. On the other side of the spectrum, some providers may be uncomfortable bringing up the topic of your weight out of a fear of offense, which is not great as you need to be having these conversations in order to properly address risks. Finding a plus-size friendly provider is essential - you deserve to have someone who believes in you and your body’s ability to get through this incredible journey!
When it comes to finding the right size-friendly provider for you, use your village! Talk to other plus-size moms about their experiences, ask providers about their experience working with plus-size women and don’t be afraid to shop around with different providers until you find the one with the best fit. Often times, plus-size women are told that their weight should be “under control” before they even get pregnant. You don’t need somebody who is going to shame you for not having lost weight before you got pregnant - you need someone who is going to empower you to get through this journey the way you are right here, right now!
Finally, you should keep in mind that your pregnancy may look a little different from the ones you see around you. Plus-size women often take longer to show than those with a lower BMI, and when that bump does come around, it may not take on that perfectly round shape you see in the media. In fact, plus-size bumps can often take on the shape of the letter B instead! No matter your shape and size compared to other mamas, know that you and your body are doing all that important work just the same!