It’s Not Just You — Those Pregnancy Pounds Are Hard to Lose

Sometimes, when I look around at all of those mothers who seemingly never gain weight during their pregnancies — you know, the moms with the stick arm and legs and the cute basketball bellies, or the moms who are back in bikinis weeks after giving birth? — I wonder, maybe I'm exaggerating how hard it is for me to lose weight. 

Because the thing is, I've gained a lot of weight with my pregnancies. A lot. Over 200 pounds gained and lost so far with four pregnancies, and I'm here today — the heaviest I've been in my whole life with a 5-month-old baby and an addiction to Jillian Michael's workouts.

But still, the weight stays on.

{ MORE: You Probably Haven't Heard This Pregnancy Symptom Before }

I've wondered if maybe it's just me. Maybe I just eat too many cookies, and I'm just trying to fool myself into thinking that I actually enjoy vegetables. Maybe if I just tried harder I really could lose all of the weight and have a perfectly flat stomach.

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Image via Flickr/ Bokelicious Photography Singapore

Luckily for me, some new reports show that I'm definitely not alone in the struggle to lose the baby weight. 

According to a new study, nearly one-third of 800 low-income women who were studied that were of normal weight before pregnancy were overweight or obese one year after childbirth. Over 75% of the women were heavier at one year after baby, and just about one-quarter of the mothers were carting around a good extra 20 pounds after giving birth. 

{ MORE: What You Need to Know About Postpartum Exercise }

Despite the fact that, on average, the women in the study gained 32 pounds during their pregnancies — a number within the normal, recommended range for weight gain during pregnancy — the study's lead doctor blamed the fact that the postpartum pounds tend to stick around on pregnant women who gain too much weight during pregnancy. “The biggest problem is that a large number of women gain too much during pregnancy,” Dr. Loraine Endres explained. “The more you gain, the harder it is to ever lose that weight.”

Thanks for that tip, Dr. Endres. But frankly, I am sick and tired of hearing that pregnant women aren't supposed to gain weight. What do you think nature intended? For women to stay slender and their babies to only take what is prudently necessary? Um, no. It makes sense, from a purely biological and survival standpoint, that nature would prefer if a pregnant mom — and soon-to-be-nursing mother — kept some fat on her body as fuel for that little, growing one she is supposed to nourish. Good grief. 

Honestly, I'm over feeling the pressure to stay perfectly skinny during pregnancy and for it to be a point of pride to look like a Victoria's Secret model immediately after giving birth. Look, I'm all about working out and eating right and staying healthy, but I am also 100% OK with the fact that my body gains weight during pregnancy — and that the weight tends to stick around until I'm done breastfeeding. 

If so many mothers gain “too much” weight during pregnancy and postpartum and have trouble losing it, here's a novel thought: why don't we consider the fact that it's normal to gain a little extra fat and focus on some of the ways that it could benefit moms and babies to just chill out, breastfeed whenever possible, and focus on enjoying that time after birth, instead of hitting the gym? 

Anyone with me? 

What do you think?

It’s Not Just You — Those Pregnancy Pounds Are Hard to Lose

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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3 comments

  1. Adah says:

    If your pregnancy weight is still stuck with your body, then consider trying mummy magic weight loss tea. It’s an organic herbal supplement that won’t breast milk production and you’ll easily lose your extra weight.

  2. kelli says:

    My first son I was throwing up all the time and was losing weight until 5 months in they started me on a diet to fatten me up I gained 80 lbs. I never lost all the weight have had 3 more since. #4 was my baby girl I had gestational diabetes it’s been so hard to get this off no matter what diet how much I work out it just so slow you gain weight so fast while pregnant and it takes years to get to a point just to be comfortable in your own skin again. I don’t work to get back to before baby I just work to feel more healthy and thats still hard.

  3. Ambur says:

    I’ve gained around 50 pounds each pregnancy. I did feel bad about gaining so much. I did do my best. But I still gained quite a bit. The thing is that even though I didn’t have complications it doesn’t mean that my risk wasn’t higher because of my weight gain. It doesn’t mean that I should stop making effort to keep my pregnancy weight from getting so high. I have also worked very hard to get the weight back off. I’ve had to count calories with a digital food scale since I otherwise greatly underestimate my calories.

    Study after study shows how important it is to get the weight off by a year. I don’t plan on carrying a bunch of extra weight. It doesn’t feel comfortable for my body. There is a balance between going crazy with diet and exercise and becoming completely complacent. Weight loss usually does take a lot of hard work. And those of us who gain more in pregnancy should be prepared to take on that hard work for our health.

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