Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A beached whale seeks advice

I'd like to share with you a conversation I had the other day at my almost 22 week doctor's appointment between me and my doctor. Please note a few things:

1) I've waited a few days to spew this out into the internets in order to not call my doctor terrible names and slander her on the world wide web.
2) The actually conversation has been altered a bit for dramatic effect and because I cannot remember it in detail anymore, I mean it was 2 WHOLE DAYS ago.

For the sake of privacy we'll call my doctor, Dr. Meansly. I will be called Ana.

Dr. Meansly: Are there any issues you wanted to talk about? It says here you get terrible migraines and are having lots and lots of contractions with other things that are concerning you and what not....

Ana: yes that's right

Dr: here's a prescription for the migraines.... and you're fine, now let's talk about your weight gain.

Ana: ok

Dr: I am a little concerned about this because you have already gained THIS much weight, and I really don't want you to come in and deliver a 9 pound baby if I am trying to VBAC you. You REALLY need to watch your diet.

Ana: yes, I gained a lot at the beginning since I felt so sick and just needed to eat all the time and whatever I could stomach in order to not be puking all day... (still trying to talk)

Dr: Yes, but you have already gained THIS much and you're only 21 weeks and you've already gained THIS much, you REALLY need to watch your diet...

Ana: (cutting in) yes, I know, but since my last appointment I have only gained 3 pounds and have slowed down substantially so obviously I have changed my diet considerably and will continue to do so.

Dr: Ok, good, because I would have expected any other woman at 21 weeks to have only gained 5 pounds and you have already gained THIS much, so you really need to slow down and REALLY need to watch your diet.

Ana: (trying not to begin weeping and punching all at the same time) Yes, ok, I've only gained 3 pounds since the last visit but ok, I will work on that.

Before the appointment when I looked in the mirror I saw this:
After I pretty much only saw something more akin to a beached whale.

I have over shared about weight before, so I will not go on too long. But I left the appointment wondering a few things:

1) Am I supposed to go on a diet?
2) How much should I work out while pregnant?
3) Is Dr. Meansly being for real that if I gain more than 30 pounds during pregnancy I am going to birth an enormous mini-whale baby?
4) Why do I go to Dr. Meansly again? Right because barely any doctors will do VBACS anymore and I have limited to zero choice in the matter.

Ok, so I answered the last question easily. And honestly, she is a very good, competent doctor and she was very sensitive to us having just miscarried and to the fact that we were a little over-paranoid about how this baby is doing and I really needed that. But I am kind of a sheepish middle child who pretty much always apologizes first because I HATE confrontation and HATE people being mad at me or mean to me and really like NICE people and am very sensitive and cry pretty easily and am not thick skinned and will spare you anymore needless personal details, but you get it. I did not quite know how to deal with the mean factor and the feeling that I was back in my chubby middle school days being made fun of by the mean kid in school.

And as for question #3, it turns out she isn't a complete idiot as I was able to find a few articles right away on a mother's weight gain during pregnancy effecting her child's weight at birth (although the studies seemed to be focusing more on women who were already very overweight and then gain like 50 pounds or more on top of that) but still I guess that is a legit concern on her part, I mean look at me, we can all see I am bordering on obese.

But the other 2 questions left me a bit puzzled and genuinely seeking the advice and sage wisdom of this wonderful blog community of other ladies who have had babies.
How the heck do you get fit during pregnancy without jeopardizing your own health or the health of baby? What sorts of work outs do you like best? (I tried running yesterday and had about 10 extremely painful contractions in about 30 minutes, so we're not going to re-visit that). I have pretty much only done Jillian Michaels and Pilates in the past year, and running when not pregnant- I even did some Jillian today and enjoyed it! But I am thinking that maybe the more huge I get the harder doing never-going-to-be-pregnant-because-of-what-it-will-do-to-my-body-Jillian will be.

So what's your diet/fitness poison while pregnant? DO share, because I cannot face another appointment like that, and I would honestly like to go in and baffle Dr. Meansly with my impeccable strides in the fitness arena at my next appointment.


  1. Oh Ana! That stinks.

    I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes around 21 weeks - and based on my pre-pregnancy weight, and other factors, I was given basically a restricted carb diet - it was challenging at first, but was easier after I was used to it.

    Breakfast - 30 carb
    Snack- 15 carb
    Lunch - 45 carb
    Snack - 15 carb
    Dinner - 45 carb
    Snack - 15 carb

    Of course every snack was supposed to be protien with carbs - so cheese + crackers; yogurt + granola, etc. I did an awesome job with it and didn't feel like I was on a diet, and yet I still had to go on insulin. Anyway...enough of my story. If you have any questions, feel free to email!

    Most of all, keep on going! Your beautiful baby girl will be here soon!

  2. gosh... you only gained 3 lbs in between visits and they're concerned? i would say you're fine! i'm 25 weeks and if i can keep it to a lb a week, i'm thrilled! with my first, i gained 45 lbs and had a 7 lb 4 oz baby. with my second, i gained 40 lbs and had a 7 lb 9 oz baby. i totally understand the constant-eating-to-avoid-nausea thing! keep going - just try walking every day if you can. i can't run when i'm pregnant. heck, i can hardly walk around the neighborhood, but it's so good for you and really does help in labor.

  3. Oh Ana, your doc is a bum... With my first, I was riding a desk and sharing a daily snack of nonstop white cheddar cheezits with my also pregnant co-worker. Also, ice cream every night. And I gained 55 lbs. With #2 I went to the gym 6 days a week (seriously)and either swam or did the elliptical for 45-60 minutes, plus weights. And I gained...50 lbs. Go figure.

    A very wise midwife told me once that each woman probably has a set amount of weight her body wants to gain during pregnancy, and that we can't do a whole lot to control that, short of chain smoking....

    oh, and the boys clocked in at 8 13 and 8 4, respectively. No whales here...more like chubby porpoises.

  4. Um... 3 pounds is nothing. AND for the only gaining 5 at 22 weeks is ridiculous! I just came back from my 14.5 week apt and gained 7.5 lbs in 4 weeks. This is my 4th and with each baby I've had an explosion of weight gain during the second tri. I also gained *at least* 40 with each one and my babies were 6.15, 7.15 & 7.1 Just because you gain more than 25 lbs during pregnancy doesn't mean you'll have a 9 or 10 lb baby.

    I also eat to avoid nausea. I am making healthy choices, though. Sweets are my weakness so I try very hard to avoid them. I've been eating avocados, tomatoes and fried eggs for lunch lately... lots of fruit and protein. I work out when I can, I prefer long walks while carrying hefty toddlers. I hope that helps in some way... I don't think you should worry too much as long as you're eating healthy stuff.

  5. Ugh, your doctor sounds horrible :( If it's any consolation... the more weight I gained, the smaller the baby i had. The less weight I gained, the larger my baby was. My pregnancy where I gained over 50 lb, I have an 8 pounder. My pregnancy where I only gained 26, my son was over 9 lb!

  6. Firstly, you look beautiful and not like a beached whale! I cannot speak to how to stay fit in pregnancy, as I am experimenting with this for the first time myself! BUT I can speak to being thin skinned and hating confrontation, etc etc! I have a long history of that! I am one of those people who even forgets all my questions/points when someone starts talking at me in a certain way. On that note, I would say the most success I've had in being any good in confrontational relationships is in planning ahead and even practicing what I'll say. Seriously! If I were in your shoes, I'd make a little chart of some sort...simple..not a complex chart, I'm not really into making those myself =). I'd write out everything bothering you and all your objections to it and then organize that information into groups and then bring it to the next appt..saying 'this is what you said, this is what I understand, this is what I'm doing, this is where I'm really confused and, no hard feelings, but sensitive.' and make a point about talking about it as one of the bigger and first concerns, before you lose nerve--I also interrupt back to people who interrupt me. If you do it kindly and thoughtfully, if she's got any niceness in her she might be impressed you care that much. If not, at least she might be able to actually help you instead of just talk at you and hurt your feelings. I hope that helps! I absolutely hate those situations too, they're super frustrating!

  7. What an incredibly uncomfortable conversation with your doctor! When I had gestational diabetes with #3, I was on a pretty strict diet (like the first commenter above). That helped me keep my weight in check and helped with the chocolate cravings too. Since I dodged the GD bullet this time around, my diet is MUCH worse, but I've been working out with a pregnancy DVD. I actually linked to it on my blog today. I'm trying for 3-4x a week...we'll see what I weigh at my appointment next week :)

  8. Yuck. I always just looked shameful and they stopped talking, instead of talking back. (Actually, to read my REAL reaction, which was so much more than shame, go to: (Number 5 and on)

    And I never really exercised while pregnant--I dunno. I think with two little ones you're doing great just to be staying alive.

    Best of luck!

  9. Ana--it seems like the doc was being both inattentive and single-minded, very typical doctor stuff, IMO. Obviously she was talking about your situation on some level, as you were the patient in front of her, but was probably also discharging rote advice/cautioning without paying attention to your feedback, that you are in fact in control of your eating, etc. So maybe (probably) it is more about her training to be emphatic than about you being a whale! Anyway, I gained over 40 lbs with both pregnancies and the girls were each 7 lb 1 oz. Plus, women who are tall and slim pre-pregnancy, as you are, often gain more than the 25-30 lb 'norm' according to my midwife last time. I did eat wayyy too much sugar during the last part of the third trimester with baby #2, and now face some guilt when I hear about the pivotal time in the womb :(

    I didn't have a workout routine either time, although I did try to go on walks at every opportunity (not a good idea in 95 degree heat, though). And the second time around I went to physical therapy to strengthen before the birth and work on some issues from the previous delivery. The PT was really nice and can give you advice on safe ways to work out (especially stretching and resistance exercises). It was covered by insurance too!

  10. I think you are doing fine. I am a very skinny person and gain A LOT of weight during pregnancy. (50+ pounds) my first was 9lb 10oz and my second was 8lb 3oz (a week early!) I also tend to go for more sugary substances and lean on soda to help alleviate morning sickness. next time I am going to try to cut out the soda to help a bit and watch my snacking. I plan on eating mostly meat and veggies/fruit. But it is so much easier said than done! I haven't had gestational diabetes yet, but it is always a fear of mine, as is a c-section. I am very sensitive to the fact that I gain a lot of weight and have big (hairy) babies so during my last pregnancy I walked and pushed a stroller every day. Sometimes I think it is just genetics. I come from a tall family so I try to tell myself that some of it is out of my control. Just keep it up and know that you are not a beached whale. From the looks of that picture you look fantastic! :))

  11. Holy crap, I think you look waaay skinny in your picture. Don't worry, I just got the great news that I have GB for my second pregnancy in a row and am just Thriiiiiilllled to be going on a diet this far in (29 weeks). I get to meet with my dietician tomorrow so she can tell me how to eat boring food for the next two months, when all I want to do is curl up with a bag of chocolate covered peanuts and wait for this baby to make a grand entrance. It'll be ok. Just limit the sugar here and there, and don't eat entire bags of licorice in a sitting as I like to do.

  12. i was just asking my doc about exercises that i could do, and she basically said walking or swimming are my only options (i am healthy at 20wks). I guess just being generally active, like not sitting on the couch all day, is workout enough. Though, after this baby is out it will be serious pilates time!! PS. you are totally normal size!

  13. your dr sounds like an idiot who needs to be punched in the face or frightened with a steady stream of flaming arrpws being directed at thier person... i am happy to offer either service for you. as for excercise....w. my first i swam, walked 3 miles a day did yoga and elliptical and gained 60lbs. w. this last one i did nada, nothing, didnt even think of exercisingso and gained i am no help..unless u want your dr punched

  14. Oh Ana! You look beautiful! Really and truly. It's so hard to understand that when you are constantly hearing (or thinking) about weight. Truth is, like Jenny said above, I think that a women's body 'knows' what that baby needs. You will gain accordingly...fortunately. You also are not on your first pregnancy...we show so much sooner now! Take heart in that you are a good mama doing the best for your baby.

    As for the workouts and eating (I had GD with my first); try thinking of your eating as energy and enjoyment. Meaning, have a protein, a carb and fat in every meal and snack. Portion control is key, too. Read anything about Giada De Laurentis and she says the same thing. Also, if you have dessert...or that latte...or that handful of doritos...enjoooooooy them. Sit down. Put it on a plate...even freaking close your eyes and try to enjoy them. That always helped me. Because I'm overdramatic of course, but helped just the same.

    I say, for working out, do what feels comfortable and stop what doesn't. I love, love setting the treadmill (if you are privy to one) at the highest incline it would go...the walk at 2mph...and read a book. I sweat like crazy but didn't feel overworked. Also, a friend of mine actually does a video workout while her daughters watch/play around her. She says it's great entertainment for them :) I say, just force yourself to move a little bit each day, if you can help it. I'm trying to make myself do the same thing over here...because we all know I am a talker and sometimes a do-er.

    Overall, brush off the Dr. conversation. She is looking out for you...but more often than not, you are the one who knows you best. I think you are doing wonderful...aaaaand I wish we lived closer so we could strap our kids in their strollers and get some exercise together :)

    Can I apologize now for taking up your entire combox?

  15. Seriously, does Dr. Meanyhead have no experience working with pregnant women? Hello? Mcfly?
    If you lived by me I would send you straight to my OB, cuz he's pretty much the best ever.
    And isn't being pregnant with two little children at home already exercise enough? For real.
    Honest, I'm normally an exercise fanatic and the only exercise I could muster while prego was going for sllooooww walks and occasional toning exercises. Once every month or so is occasional, right? Ha. Maybe that's why I gained about 40-50 lbs each time. All well. All of our babes were healthy and I eventually lost it all (well, hopefully I'll get the weight off again this time).
    Anyhow, I say don't stress about it and just try to enjoy being pregnant for what it is. HUGS!

  16. I think you look amazing! I looked at photos you posted the other day and was incredibly jealous that you were one of those skinny pregnant women while I have been huge for both my pregnancies (gained approx 60 pounds for each!) I had the same issue - the only way for me to avoid morning sickness was to keep snacking all day.
    FWIW - my sister gained a tiny amount of weight and had a terrible pregnancy with many scary moments, while I gained a ton of weight and had a great pregnancy and birth with no scary moments and regular sized baby.
    Also, my OB in Australia said they don't weigh pregnant women anymore unless there is a HUGE weight gain because they've realised it doesn't give them any medically relevant info and it just increases stress and encourages unhealthy dieting and exercise.
    Enough ranting on my part ...

  17. Just walk walk walk! I ran until 5 months with the last baby, but I was in wicked good shape when I got pregnant with him, and didn't want to stop running. My ligaments couldn't handle it anymore once my belly got too big, so every single day I walked between 4 and 6 miles. I still gained 30 pounds, he was 8 lbs 14 oz, but I went back to close to pre baby weight very easily because of all the exercise (and I was preggers during lent and gave up sweets). Don't even worry about your weight, just eat healthy, treat yourself once a day, walk as much as possible, and stare at your gorgeous body in the mirror :)

  18. Wow I can imagine how you must have felt!!! That is horrible. And you look GREAT! With my first I didn't do much exercise, ate whatever I wanted (which included a ton of ice cream) and gained 55 lbs...and it took me a year to lose the weight. But my baby was only 7lbs 2oz. Then with my second I was determined to not go through that again, so I really watched what I ate, just making healthy choices, like yogurt instead of ice cream....and I gained 30 lbs and the weight was much easier to get rid of. And with my third it was about the same...just moderate exercise, and healthy choices are what I recommend. Everyone is different though! My body really likes to gain weight when I'm I have to be much more mindful then when I'm not pregnant...A dvd I did like once I was getting too big to run was Summer Sander's Prenatal Workout. Anyway, don't get too worried about it! You look great!!

  19. Ana, I am about to deliver my 5th baby and I will tell you this: my weight gain has had ZERO affect on the size of my babies. Zero. Every single one was almost the exact same weight and I've gained all sorts of different totals with each of them. Baby birth weight, for the most part, is genetically predisposed unless you do crazy, crazy, crazy things (in either direction)

    Dr. Meansly is a meansly. The end.

  20. Just clicked through from Camp Patton....but as a four time VBACer (who has VBACed two 9lbers by the hospitals lest you think I am a freak)...I thought I would comment. Don't worry too much!

    I would try to stay in the 25 to 35lb weight gain but the most important thing is to just eat healthy and be healthy and let the weight go where it may. You will totally start slowing down. Everybody gains a ton and then peters off. My tips for staying in the 35lb range....water, water, and more water. We often eat when we are really thirsty and pregnant ladies in the summer are SO susceptible to dehydration. I stay away from all beverages but water, coffee, and milk (but not a ton of that either). I also stay really limited with sweets and try not to eat after dinner unless I have to, and when I do make sure it is healthy (fruit or cheese- not ice cream!). I only walk during pregnancy, but I do it consistently and I think it helps with the weight gain because of the exercise but also because it keeps me mentally healthy since all pregnant ladies go a little insane in my humble opinion! Good luck!

    1. oh yeah, and the pregnancy where I gained crazy weight- 45lbs? That baby was 5lbs!!

  21. Ana, I was thinking of something else....with every single one of my pregnancies, I always ended up weighing the same amount when I went into labor. So no matter what weight I started out my pregnancy at, how much I gained, I would always be the same weight when baby was due. I think maybe women have a "birthing weight" and if you were smaller to start the pregnancy, than your body wants you to gain more weight throughout until you get to your birthing weight. I don't know, just a theory.

  22. I have no words of wisdom, and am only commenting to say I CAN SO RELATE. This especially:

    But I am kind of a sheepish middle child who pretty much always apologizes first because I HATE confrontation and HATE people being mad at me or mean to me and really like NICE people and am very sensitive and cry pretty easily and am not thick skinned and will spare you anymore needless personal details, but you get it. I did not quite know how to deal with the mean factor and the feeling that I was back in my chubby middle school days being made fun of by the mean kid in school.

    This is every. single. doctor's appointment I ever go to. I always just want the "GOOD PATIENT" gold star from the doctor, so I sit there and agree with everything he says, and take any criticism as a commentary on my worth as a human being.

    You look fantastic, BTW! It's shocking that your doctor said anything about weight. It seems like she's blindly following numbers on charts rather than looking at the big picture of how well you're doing over all. (And that concludes the medical advice portion of this comment from Dr. Jen.)

  23. Thanks for an excellent article! I appreciate your insights and agree with what you wrote. obgyn chandler

  24. I always gain a ton of weight at the beginning too then stop gaining as the baby gets bigger and my appetite shrinks. I just had a successful VBAC with a 10 lb 5 oz baby... The doctor said I surprised them all, whatever that means. It was actually a super easy delivery so I wouldn't worry. With managing weight gain ... I did a 20-30 min walk 3 times a week until I got super huge at the end. I gained 30 lbs, which was kind of my goal (25 would have been better :)). My doctor said to watch sugar so I substituted ice-cream with fruit smoothies made with Greek yogurt. My baby was still huge though so maybe I shouldn't give advice!! :)

  25. Take from this what you will...First child I started at 125, was 180 when went into labor, 7 pound 10 ounce boy. Ate lots of fruit and veggies and was diet concious the whole pregnancy and walked a lot. I attibuted my weight gain to constantly being (excuse the share) constipated - decided my body just wanted to absorb more of the calories or something. Second child only 16 months later- started about 135-140, was again 180 when went into labor, 6 pound 13 ounce boy. I ate what I wanted that pregnancy- potato chips and all, only exercise I got was chasing my toddler around. So...I agree with Colleen - I think there is a weight your body sets for you when you are pregnant. Just my opinion :)