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plus-size-pregnancy

Plus-size and pregnant? Our guide to a positive pregnancy

A recent Irish Times article announced that Ireland will soon be the most obese country in Europe, but it’s so important to remember that you’re much more than just a statistic.

A woman is considered obese if she has a BMI of 30 or more when she becomes pregnant.

Once you announce your pregnancy you can expect a few ‘visits’ from the pregnancy police.
If you had a bit of extra padding going into your pregnancy, then the pregnancy police will be on your case even more frequently (especially at antenatal visits).

No doubt you’ve been warned about the additional health challenges for you and your baby before, during and after your baby’s birth, but this is not the time to go on a crash diet now that you’re pregnant.

The most common risks associated with being obese in pregnancy are:

  • Depression
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • An increased risk of caesarean
  • An increased risk of an instrumental birth
  • Mums are less likely to breastfeed

For your baby, obesity increases the risk of a premature birth, being larger than normal, congenital defects and perinatal death.

First of all, don’t take it personally, sometimes well intentioned but misguided staff believe that shaming a woman about her body will ‘encourage’ her to lose weight. So drop the guilt and start taking some positive action to have the healthiest pregnancy possible.

What can you do?

  • Reduce Stress (stress hormones make you want to eat more high fat & sugary foods)
  • Light exercise (swimming, yoga and walking)
  • Get a referral to a dietician and reduce high fat, high sugar foods
  • Mindful eating – new research suggests that slowing down and simply checking in with how you’re feeling means you eat less. Even asking yourself “Am I hungry”? before you eat. Sometimes we eat out of boredom rather than true hunger
  • Find the right careprovider – one that will treat you with dignity and support your efforts to have the healthiest pregnancy possible
  • Hire a doula to support you in pregnancy and help lower the risk of having a cesarean or instrumental birth
How do you mnage to stay healthy? Are you concerned with your weight pre/during/after pregnancy. Share your experiences below. 

About the Author

I’m Tracy Donegan, registered midwife and mum to 2 gorgeous boys. I’ve been working in Irish maternity services since 2005 and really enjoy helping Irish families have the best experiences possible. You may be familiar with my books – The Irish Better Birth Book and The Irish Caesarean and VBAC Guide, as well as the very popular GentleBirth Positive Birth app.

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