The Struggle is Real: My pregnancy weight gain and postpartum loss


Before I was pregnant and I heard stories of women gaining 50-100 lbs during pregnancy, I would think "Dear Lord, how could you let that happen?" Well, I will share with you how I let this happened during my pregnancy. Excessive weight gain in pregnancy, is defined as over 35 lbs for a woman who has a normal BMI (19-24.9). Excessive weight gain during pregnancy is not just a matter of vanity. Excessive weight gain in pregnancy is linked to increased rate of C-section, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and gestational diabetes, just to name a few.  I started my pregnancy at  a normal BMI of 22, and maintained modest and steady weight gain throughout the first two trimesters of my pregnancy. I was working full-time in the ER and was walking somewhere between 3-4 miles a day just at work, so I really had no problem keeping my weight gain slow and steady. During the start of my third trimester I had a lot of stress, which I will write about in another blog. After experiencing regular contractions at 30 weeks  my OB/GYN sent me to the hospital for monitoring. A test used as a predictor for preterm labor, fetal fibronectin, was positive, and I was seen by a perinatologist. The perinatologist advised there was a high likelihood I may go into labor in the next two weeks. I had to be hospitalized for two days receiving medications to stop the contractions and develop the baby's lungs in the case of a preterm delivery. After being discharged I was put on activity restriction and taken off of work. Bored at home, and thinking labor was impending, I found myself baking batches of cookies, not caring if I put on a few extra pounds. I would do a short walk around the block, but of course I wasn't getting much exercise at all. After a month of this, and still no arrival of the baby, I had put on a good amount of weight. At one doctor's visit my husband came along and the OB/GYN commented on how I had put on seven pounds in one week. "What was your initial weight?" she said scrutinizing my chart. I was so mortified she was asking this all in front of my husband. I was huge and swollen, and sitting at home in the hot July heat made it no better. On our way home from the doctor's office my husband and I stopped for lunch at Chic-fil-A. I ordered a grilled chicken salad and as my husband ate his chicken strips and fries I couldn't fight back the tears. I felt so huge, awful, and embarrassed. My husband of course thought I was overreacting, which just led to more tears in the middle of Chic-fil-A. I gained a total of 50-55 lbs by the time I delivered, which was at 41 weeks.
37 weeks pregnant at 191 lbs
 I had a 10 lb 2 oz baby, and fortunately was able to have a delivery without any major complications. I was checked again for gestational diabetes, since my baby was technically macrosomic (larger than 8 lbs 13 oz), which often correlates with gestational diabetes. My blood sugar and my baby's were normal, however.  My blood pressure was elevated after delivery for a day, so I had to stay in the hospital for additional day, but myself and the baby were both incredibly healthy. I lost twenty pounds within the first two weeks of delivery. That still meant, however I had 30 lbs to lose. Breast feeding alone utilizes 500 calories in addition to your daily need, so with that alone there is the potential for weight loss of a pound a week. I was exclusively breast feeding for the first three months, and did see gradual steady weight loss. I counted calories to keep myself at 1600 daily calories, which was enough to keep my milk supply steady and to see weight loss. I had lost another 10 lbs after the first two months after delivery.
2 months postpartum on a paddle board 162 lbs
I began doing short walks, a mile or two several weeks after my delivery. At about two months postpartum I started incorporating more high-intensity work-outs in the form of Jillian Michaels videos. The 30 day shred and the Beginner shred are my favorites because they are full body workouts in 20 minutes you can do in your living room. I would recommend if you are just getting back into working out postpartum, to start with the beginner shred.I felt so tired and sleep deprived, so getting motivated to work out was tough. 20 minute workouts were doable, and will have your heart rate elevated to the level where fatburning starts. I lost a total of 10 more pounds, and when I returned back to work at 4 months post-partum I had 15 more pounds to go to reach my pre-pregnancy weight. While I was on maternity leave all my coworkers had started the Medifast diet and all had drastic weight losses. I of course wanted to get on this bandwagon ASAP and lose the remainder of my weight. The Medifast diet is extremely calorie-restrictive, averaging about 1000-1100 calories a day, thus not recommended for lactating women. It's also not recommended to do cardio exercise while on this program. There is a modified version of the diet for lactating women, which may be an option for some. After I stopped breastfeeding, at about five and half months, I started the Medifast diet. I had my husband do it with me for motivation. I ended up losing 12 pounds over six weeks (my husband lost 20 lbs), and was at my lowest weight in many years. The Medifast diet has fast results, but is difficult to stick to and continue with long term weight maintenance.

7 months post-partum 136 lbs

I did not keep all of the weight after dieting off. After going off the diet I did end up gaining about 8 pounds back due to going back to old bad eating habits. Currently now that I am over a year and a half post-partum, I have maintained my pre-pregnancy weight, and am still active, keep a balanced diet and have maintained a healthy BMI. I was not one of those women who immediately lost all the weight and looked amazing one week after giving birth. If you are one of those women, I envy you, but I think it's work for the majority of us. It's overwhelming becoming a new mom, while losing sleep and losing your pre-pregnancy shape. It was a lot of effort for me to lose the weight and maintain it, but I know that keeping myself  at a healthy weight is not only beneficial for my mental and physical health long-term, but allows me to have the energy to keep up with a growing toddler day to day.

Here is the link to the 30 day shred DVD that I highly recommend and still do. .
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