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Taming the Scale: Pregnancy Weight Gain

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With my first pregnancy I wasn’t too concerned with the weigh-ins that occurred at the beginning of every one of my doctor visits. I didn’t overindulge and I kept a close eye on what I was eating (well, except for a couple of weeks after my sister mailed me a block of cheese, aged ham, and a sourdough bread round for my birthday – such a wonderfully torturous gift for a pregnant lady).


Now that I’m nearing the end of my second pregnancy, however, I’ve had to come to grips with what I affectionately call “scale terrors.” My doctor uses a digital scale that has a quaint end table next to it for my purse and anything heavy that might be in my pockets. I have gotten used to that extra tenth of a pound that always reads over .5, causing me to round up my weight to the next pound. What I have developed instead seems a much more sinister pattern of scale behavior.


I’m ashamed to admit that for the past few months I’ve been abusing that end table. I pile it high with my purse, my jacket, my watch (like that makes a huge difference!), and next to it I place my shoes and anything else I can shed to make the slightest impact on the final numbers. I know the statistics by heart:


  • Weight gain should be 2 to 5 pounds during the first trimester
  • After week 12 it should be around a pound a week for the rest of the pregnancy
  • Total weight gain should be 25 to 35 pounds


Of course, the numbers vary a bit if you start off overweight or underweight but these averages are accurate for me. During my first pregnancy I was right on track and weighed in at thirty pounds heavier before I delivered my son. This time I am scheduled to come in a little closer to thirty-five pounds heavier by the end.


Thirty-five pounds heavier isn’t a drastic increase so why do I have “scale terrors”? I think it might be the guilt factor. I haven’t exercised as much (or “at all” might be a more accurate way to put it if I’m going to be honest) and I have also been pregnant over the holidays which made baking even more of a guilty pleasure that usual. I also have the nagging feeling that thirty-five pounds is a bit of a lie—my first pregnancy was over the summer so I hit the thirty-pound mark including all the water I was retaining because of the heat. This pregnancy has had no heat in the last few months so poundage is really poundage, not just water.


In any case, as I am headed toward the end I am working to assuage my guilt and to come to terms with my fears. At my last appointment I left my watch on when I stepped on the scale. Next time I am planning on wearing socks that don’t match so that I have a reason to fight the urge to remove my shoes.

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