This was my third pregnancy and I have technically been plus-size for all of them. But each experience has been so different. My health has been different for all of them. I think that is the important thing to focus on. You can research 'plus size pregnancy' and you will get a whole lot of scary information and statistics thrown your way. There should be more of a focus on overall health vs. what size you are, because you can be thin and unhealthy or overweight and healthy. Our medical system continually pushes this knowledge aside and places a stigma on overweight women. Especially overweight pregnant women.
I wasn't in a healthy place during this pregnancy and I felt it physically and emotionally (I won't lie about that) but I was also still able to carry a beautiful, healthy baby boy. Many of you had questions about what it's like to have a plus size pregnancy, so I wanted to answer them here for you.
*Disclaimer - This is my story based on my personal experiences. This is not written to give any sort of medical advice. I hope it will help you feel less alone if you are walking through a similar experience.
Did Your Doctor or Anyone Treat You Differently Because of Your Size?
With my last two pregnancies, I had doctors that hyper focused on my weight and it was so discouraging and stressful for me. This time I found a wonderful doctor who focused on my health and not the number on the scale. It is so important for you to know that there are doctors out there that will treat you with the respect and dignity that you deserve. I did have various people treat me differently at times, but I try not to focus on them and focus on what it important. When I felt sad or discouraged, my husband would help remind me of my strength and that my body was doing the hard work of carrying our sweet baby boy.
How Did You Feel?
This was by far my most difficult pregnancy, and there is no way of knowing how much of this had to do with my size or not. Some factors to consider - I am older (by a decent amount lol), we were just entering into a global pandemic and quarantine at the start of this pregnancy, I had to stop my anti-depressants, I had horrible morning sickness etc. These all played into why this pregnancy was so hard. Every pregnancy is different regardless of your size and you can be overweight and have a healthy pregnancy, but I do wish that my body was healthier before I got pregnant. I know that it would have helped alleviate some of the symptoms. And it definitely didn't help to have to carry extra weight on my joints and back towards the end of the pregnancy.
Did You Get Gestational Diabetes?
This question makes me sad because we are truly made to believe that because we are plus size, we are destined to get gestational diabetes. No, I did not get GD and no, you will not automatically get it just because you are overweight. Is it important to work on being healthy? Of course! But there is no number on the scale that will magically keep you from getting it. Anyone can get it, that is why they test everyone.
How Much Weight Did You Gain?
I started this pregnancy at my heaviest weight ever. This was hard for me, especially because I had worked so hard on my health in the years prior, but I had been experiencing various gut health issues that were making it difficult to lose weight and even causing weight gain. So I made an effort to try not to gain too much weight during this pregnancy. I gained 26 pounds overall and I have already lost 21 pounds (1.5weeks postpartum).
Did You Have a Difficult Time Getting Pregnant?
This is a tough question. I know that you are made to feel like you will have a hard time conceiving if you are overweight, but the truth is that so many women (of all shapes, sizes and ages) struggle with this. I was much smaller when we started trying to have a second baby, but it took 4 years and multiple miscarriages before we got pregnant with Samuel. And then Owen (our third; this pregnancy) came as a surprise, we weren't even trying, but I was heavier than I have ever been. There are just so many factors that go into infertility or struggling to conceive a baby. This has to be addressed with a doctor you trust, because you need someone who will look at all the factors, not just your weight.
Please leave a comment below with any other tips you have for fellow plus-size mamas or with any questions that you might have for me!
Owen's Birth Story:
Ryan and I went to the hospital the morning of November 12th, 2020. We had our priorities straight and went to get Chick-fil-A breakfast biscuits first haha. I was scheduled for an induction at 7:30 am. We got there and the nurses were all so sweet and got me set up in the bed to get monitored and checked. They were able to use a wireless monitor (pictured above) which is so great for us plus size mamas. It makes it easier to move around and there are no straps to deal with around the tummy.
Then they checked me and I was already 5 cm dilated on my own! They got my IV in and broke my water bag to hopefully get regular contractions started. I also got an epidural at this time because I notoriously have very quick labors and I didn't have time for one with my previous delivery. After a few hours I was having some contractions but they were still decently far apart, so they started me on a low dose of Pitocin. My husband and I just watched shows on my computer while we waited for things to progress. After a few doses of Pitocin, things got moving and I was 8 cm the next time they checked me, but he was still a little too high up. They had me reposition and turn to my side to help him move down the birth canal. It worked!
After about half an hour on my side I started to feel a lot of pressure down there, the nurse checked me again and his head was right there! This was at 3pm. They doctor got there at 3:15 and Owen was born at 3:23! They had me push once and his head was out! I did another small push to get the rest of his body out. It was the easiest labor & delivery I have had by far. I did have a small tear and I also started to lose a lot of blood, but the doctor was able to stop it before I hemorrhaged. Overall, it was a wonderful, positive birth experience and I am so grateful.
Our beautiful baby boy, Owen Gabriel was born weighing 7lbs 15oz and was 20 ¾ inches long.
Tips For Plus Size Mamas in the Hospital:
- Ask for a wireless fetal monitor if they have one, it is so much nicer than having to deal with the straps around your tummy
- Bring a gown or robe that fits you well, the hospital gowns don't always fit all the way around and your butt will be hanging out any time you get up
- Bring plus size adult diapers for the bleeding afterwards. They are so much more comfortable than the mesh undies and they fit so much better too. I shared which ones I use in my Postpartum Must-Haves post.