Midwife Pip Podcast Episode 87.
High BMI, Plus size, Obese, High Risk … all labels you may have heard or being told
in pregnancy. How does a plus size pregnancy alter your care, should it? What are
the possible risks and what can you do to ensure a supported, positive and
empowered pregnancy and birth regardless of your body’s size.
Plus Size Pregnancy
BMI or weight are sensitive topics and add pregnancy into the mix and the
conversation can become challenging perhaps even taboo in nature and the waters
get muddied. I think it is about time we ditched the shame for body size in pregnancy
and empowered women to embrace a healthy and confident journey to motherhood.
Guidelines on Weight Gain in Pregnancy:
First up- let’s be clear on weight gain in pregnancy -the amount of weight gained is
individual to each woman and is dependent on many factors including BMI prior to
pregnancy, activity level, pregnancy variations such as multiple pregnancy and co-
morbidities. There is no exact science to this topic and no robust evidence to really
provide much insight.
However, there is some suggestion that women who are in a normal healthy weight
range may gain on average between 25 and 35 pounds (11-15.75kg). Women who
are underweight prior to pregnancy may gain more and women who are overweight
or obese prior to pregnancy may gain less.
What does the Weight Gain breakdown look like?
This can be broken down to be conceptualised to those who may find this an
o Your baby= 7 1/2 pounds by the end of pregnancy
o The placenta = 1 1/2 pounds
o The uterus = 2 pounds
o Increased blood volume = 4 pounds
o Increased fluid in the body = 4 pounds
o Breast volume increase= 2 pounds
o Amniotic fluid = 2 pounds
o Storage of protein, fat, and other nutrients= 7 pounds
For many women gaining weight can be daunting - but you are growing a new
human being inside of you, every single day your body is performing miracles.
Therefore, the concept of restricting your energy intake or allowing a number on a
scale to dictate anything to you is unhelpful. Remember - You are strong,
empowered and on your precious journey to motherhood and let’s focus time and
energy on wellness instead.
Why am I offered extra monitoring and appointments because of my BMI in Pregnancy?
If you are plus size, you will be offered some additional screening and appointments
during your pregnancy, and this is because a raised BMI does increase the chance
of certain conditions such as gestational diabetes or high blood pressure however it
is important to remember the overall risk remains low and most women have an
uncomplicated pregnancy and birth experience.
How can I optimise the health of myself and my baby during Pregnancy?
The great thing about pregnancy is it is a powerful time to focus on your nutrition and
embrace some daily movement, not only does it help reduce those elevated risks but
also comes with a whole heap of benefits for you and your baby. In fact, a mother’s
diet in pregnancy can influence their future child’s taste preference as they can taste
the foods you eat in the amniotic fluid and supports your child’s gut microbiome
which has a powerful influence on their immune system, risk of allergy, asthma,
eczema and much more.
I really hope that a take home note is to focus on a nourishing, nutrient rich
and varied diet in your pregnancy over body size, shape or numbers on the
scale. To understand more about foods to boost you and your baby’s health
during pregnancy and the importance of omega 3 fatty acids during this time
check out: www.aptaclub.co.uk/midwifepip
For more on ‘Plus Size Pregnancy‘ listen to Midwife Pip Podcast Episode 87 HERE.
Available on all Podcast Platforms.
'On this weeks episode I am joined by a specialist plus size pregnancy midwife, Alice
Keely, with 15 year’s experience working with plus size pregnancy she is here to
give such holistic and supportive advice and information which is really lacking in this
p.s. have you checked out Midwife Pips Courses
The Author: Midwife Pip
Pip is a Mum, Podcaster and practicing Midwife in the UK, currently working as a Delivery Suite Sister she has a wealth of experience supporting parents-to-be through all aspects of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum. Pip has trained and worked in some of the leading maternity units, has completed a master's programme and is passionate about all aspects of women's health and wellness.
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