What About Pregnancy?

Some of you may not know that I have seven children. Two teenage girls and five younger boys. If you do the math you will realize that I had quite a few of those children after I lost the 150 pounds. Four to be exact. I’ve gotten a few emails recently asking me to talk a bit about pregnancy.

Pregnancy weight gain was what really started me on the path to morbid obesity. I began my first pregnancy at 196 pounds and gained 75 pounds. That’s right – 75 pounds. My doctor was very concerned and sent me to a very nice nutritionist. I listened to her speech, left her office, and went straight through my favorite fast food restaurant drive thru. Obviously, I didn’t follow one bit of her advice. What did she know? She hadn’t had kids, she was skinny, and she was telling me things I didn’t really want to hear. Things like eating more veggies, cutting out the desserts, and foregoing after dinner “dinners.” I thought she was dumb. But alas, she wasn’t so dumb after all because after my first daughter was born, I realized I was in trouble.

The second and third pregnancies didn’t bring as large a weight gain which was a good thing since I started those pregnancies above 250 pounds. In between the first three pregnancies I kept gaining and gaining and gaining. I’d lose a bit of weight after the baby was born and then sail right back up the scale, past my previous starting weight, and into the next decade on the scale. It was scary and depressing.

During the second and third pregnancies I didn’t even really need maternity clothes because the majority of my wardrobe consisted of loose fitting jumpers which easily accommodated my expanding waistline. In fact, with those two pregnancies friends who I didn’t see very often weren’t even sure I was pregnant until I reached about 5 or 6 months. Then they might tentatively ask me if I were expecting.

After my third child was born, I got going on my final weight loss journey. That’s the point where I lost 150 pounds and regained my life. But only two years after reaching my goal weight I became pregnant with my fourth child. I was ecstatic but also quite worried. What if I gained 75 pounds again? What if. . .  What if. . .

With him, I only gained 29 pounds and lost the weight within a few weeks. I couldn’t believe how much easier a pregnancy was at 148 as compared to 275. Huge difference. I wasn’t tired, they could see him clearly on the ultrasound machine, and labor was much easier. And during his pregnancy, I didn’t even exercise because I kept having pre-term contractions.

With the next three pregnancies I gained more than I should have. Between 40 and 45 pounds or so. Those pregnancies too were much easier, even though at that point I was in the “advanced maternal age” category. I was able to continue with my life (except for the occasional back problem). I enjoyed those pregnancies much more than I did the first three. But after the babies were born, I did have quite a bit of extra weight to lose. Here’s a picture of me with my fifth son when he was about 7 weeks. You can see that I was in need of a mommy diet plan.

Fit to the Finish Diet Plan Needed!

And so I went back to what I did to lose weight in the first place. I kept the fat percentage of my overall diet under 30%, I used portion control, and I exercised religiously with my great neighbor Evelyn. And the weight came off again. And it did after baby number six and number seven.

Some things I learned were that pregnancy weight is loseable, but it still takes work. Very few women are blessed with pregnancy weight that magically falls off. Most of us have to go back to the basics of eating well and moving our bodies.

If you’ve had children what has your experience been, or if you haven’t, do you have any worries about pregnancy weight gain?  Diane

My disclaimer for this post: I have a regular disclaimer about seeking medical advice, etc at the bottom of each page, but remember to always follow your doctor’s advice about pregnancy, weight loss, and weight gain. Always.

One more thing! Congratulations to Christieo at Baby Tea Leaves on winning the mug!!

37 thoughts on “What About Pregnancy?

  1. Marcelle says:

    I was so young when I had my three children, I picked up the correct amount of weight and lost it quickly as i was dancing and teaching – I ate what I wanted to…I must have been very lucky – today would be a totally different story for sure.
    I am amazed how you had your babies and still managed to keep the weight off.
    .-= Marcelle´s last blog ..My Song =-.

  2. Sara N. says:

    I would say that my weight problems were already apparent before I had children, but getting pregnant very quickly two times in a row didn’t help. I guess when I think about it becoming a mom wasn’t so good for my figure! But it was good in every other way.

  3. Monica says:

    I haven’t had kids yet, but the thought of actually getting pregnant after I finally lose all this fat is a little bit scary. I love, love, love that you shared this – because for me it gives me a lot of hope that I will be able to lose the weight and then have a baby someday without worrying too much about weight gain.

  4. Kate says:

    I had my two babies within 22 months of eachother, and though I gained 75 pounds with each of them (starting at a normal and healthy weight), I lost the weight both times within the first year or so of their babyhoods. BUT I was nursing them around the clock, so I think that made it so much easier than it is now to lose the same amount of weight.

  5. Diane says:

    For me , pregnancy and weight seem to be really intertwined. We were infertile for 8 years till a naturopath diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and gave me nutritional advice on losing weight with this condition ( the condition makes many women overweight and weighloss is very difficult as a result because of insulin resistance. High fiber low fat high carb diets in these conditions can make you gain , even when they are part of a standard diet plan)I followed the advice, lost 110 pounds ( I hit that magical 200 number) and became pregnant with my first child. It was a totally healthy pregnancy, I gained 30 lbs during it, and at 8 months he was stillborn.While i was emotionally shattered, i got back on track and lost the baby weight, I had a life threatening emergency and subsequent surgery, and six weeks after that I conceived my son. I had planned on maintaining as low of a weight gain as possible with the pregnancy, but 8 weeks into it I developed Placenta Pravia and other problems with attachment that put me on total bedrest for most of the pregnancy. I was allowed to get out of bed to go to the bathroom, shower and go to doctor visits. Each visit there was something else that was not normal, and my life plunged into the most stressful 7 months you cold imagine, with sheer terror slipping in for entertainment. I was so scared of losing another baby ! Having nothing else that I was allowed to do I watched tv and ate. And ate, and ate. I put on 90 lbs with the pregnancy. My son was born and I lost 33 lbs on the delivery table ( 11 lbs 14 oz of baby, an abnormally large placenta and amniotic fluid)I was determined to lose the rest and get back on my ultimate quest to reach 140 lbs, but my son started having problems , and my fears got the best of me. As a child I was taught that good eaters are strong people, so if I needed strength I needed food. I experienced 4 other pregnancies after my son, but all have ended in miscarriage within the first 10 weeks, so i really don’t know how they have impacted my body weight. I am entering menopause now and children are still possible at this point. I take the attitude of if it happens, it happens and what it does to my weight is not even a factor.There is so much else to worry about in a pregnancy .
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..I worry about rabbits following me home =-.

  6. South Beach Steve says:

    Of course, the only weight I gained was sympathy weight. 🙂 My wife had little trouble losing pregnancy weight with child #1 and child #2, but child #3 has been a real challenge. This is a great frustration for her. I gained with all three, and had significant trouble losing it.
    .-= South Beach Steve´s last blog ..Motivation for Monday =-.

  7. Lillian @ LHGM says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I’ve been talking with my doctor about losing weight before I get pregnant again and wondering how different it might truly be. My weight gain/loss during my pregnancies was dramatic in that I actually lost weight with both and delivered them at a lower weight than when I got pregnant(both times) because of hyperemesis, lost about 30 lbs within the first month after delivery, then managed to gain everything back(plus some) within a few more months. The first time around it managed to land me a trip to getting my gallbladder removed. This time(my son is now 7 months old), it’s landed me a trip on the Eating Well, Exercising More train! I worry more about being sick again during another pregnancy than the weight gain, but I’m hoping that getting myself to a much healthier weight from the start of another pregnancy will make a big difference. Thanks so much for sharing about your pregnancies – it definitely seems to be a topic that doesn’t seem to be addressed often, if at all, and I’m looking forward to reading all of the other comments on experiences, too!
    .-= Lillian @ LHGM´s last blog ..I Need to Move My Body More =-.

  8. Fran says:

    As you may know I don’t have children, which is a choice we have made. But we did talk about it in the past and one of the reasons why I hesitated to get pregnant was to gain weight because I already had overweight at that time.

    In the end it wasn’t the reason why we choose not to have children but the thought often crossed my mind then and worried me too.
    .-= Fran´s last blog ..A day in my life: Sunday November 8 2009 =-.

  9. Jody - Fit at almost 52 says:

    Never been pregnant & at almost 52, not going there for sure (plus the hubby is “fixed”) BUT this once again tells me how amazing you are. You got to where you needed to be health wise & went back to those same principles after each pregnancy. It can be done. You are right, eat better, move more & portion control! Easy to say, harder to follow thru but you did & what a great role model you are!

    PS: I got no idea why every once in a while my post shows up & most of the times only on round two.. very weird! 🙂 Maybe relates back to me somehow.. weird! 😉
    .-= Jody – Fit at almost 52´s last blog ..Does Quitting Ever Enter Your Mind? =-.

  10. christieo says:

    I saw the title of your post and just HAD TO READ. This is a huge fear of mine. I gained a lot of weight with my first child, didn’t lose it before I got pregnant with my second and then had DOUBLE the weight to lose when all was said and done. Now that I have gotten it off and then some, I DON’T WANT TO GET PREGNANT AGAIN! it sounds so awful and vain but honestly, the thought of having to LOSE the weight again really freaks me out! it was so awful being fat! I hated it so much that I don’t even want to chance going back there! I cried so much all the time and it was so uncomfortable! Is that bad? Maybe I need a more healthy outlook about it and less heebie-jeebie feeling. The funny thing is, I really am open to having a third child, eventually. But you know, giving your body over for 4 years, it’s a little nice to get it back and play in it for a little while at least! I have actually mentioned adoption to my husband because he wants a third very much and I am that scared to get pregnant again. I know it will probably be easier to lose if I get pregnant from this starting point, but my metabolism really is not my friend and I gain weight quickly if I don’t watch out. Anyhoo, I can really talk about this all day (i.e. long comment!) sorry! It does make me feel better though to hear that you did succeed in getting the weight off after the babies and how much easier it was when you were at a healthier starting point. So that’s comforting!

    I’m so excited I won though!! I’ll send you an email!!
    .-= christieo´s last blog ..Running in Knee Highs =-.

  11. Joanna Sutter says:

    I have never had children and I don’t think it’s in my cards. However, I admire Mom’s everywhere that can fit it all in…including teaching their kids about healthy living and practicing healthy living themselves. Mom’s like you!
    .-= Joanna Sutter´s last blog ..Butts & Guts =-.

  12. Stacy says:

    Before I got pregnant with my kids, that was a big fear of mine…not being able to lose the weight. People were amazed at how the weight came off of me after baby. Yeah, well…I was working out 6 days a week (after the 6 week post partum A-okay!) during maternity leave, eating right, and had the added metabolic bonus of nursing. By the time I got back to work at 14 weeks I was back in my old clothes. It happened the same with my second pregnancy, only I didn’t work out quite as hard due to some bleeding issues I had with her. We went for walks instead of getting on the elliptical. Much funner that way! The hard part for me was weaning off my kids and not continuing to eat like I needed all those extra calories. That is what got my weight up to where it is now. I was actually under my first pregnancy weight when I weaned my daughter. I knew it would happen, too, so I can only blame myself for not cutting back on the food.
    .-= Stacy´s last blog ..Basement status =-.

  13. Lori (Finding Radiance) says:

    I have never had children, but I understand how that fear of gaining could be paralyzing. It’s bad enough to worry about gaining weight on your own, let alone when you know it’s going to happen.

    You are a testament to how perseverance and dedication can win out in the end!
    .-= Lori (Finding Radiance)´s last blog ..Let’s talk coconut oil! =-.

  14. Gina Fit by 41, Maybe 42 says:

    I didn’t have the healthiest habits before kids, but it became really bad after. The exhaustion and postpartum depression left me hungry and searching for what was easy.

    As kind as it was to have neighbors and church members bring meals and treats to us after the babies were born, honestly, though, it was junk for the most part. White flour breads, heavy-fatty foods, and dessert after dessert. Maybe we had two salads. No fruits or veggies were sent otherwise.

    The desserts and treats kept coming. I remember someone brought me a pie. My tired self ate the whole thing that afternoon. I was tired. I was hungry. It was there. Then it wasn’t.

    Then I found I began craving the junk like crazy.

    Now, when I bring meals, I try to bring something healthier-ish for them. Maybe it isn’t the fun, comfort foods people expect, but maybe it’ll balance out the junk.
    .-= Gina Fit by 41, Maybe 42´s last blog ..Oink, Oink =-.

  15. brenda says:

    You look AWESOME for being a mother of 7 kids!! I don’t think pregnacy was a factor for my weight gain. I was always eatting my healthiest, exercising to get my body ready for labor, and spiritually the best ever. My weight came on after my son was born. He was in the NICU for 4 months (3 1/2 hours from our home) and my daughter was only 2 1/2. Every other day I dropped off my daughter at my moms and drove to see my son. I started the bad habit of ‘grabbing McDs for breakfast’, ‘grabbing mcDs for dinner home’, making dinner at home and eating to everything in between to help me through it all.
    .-= brenda´s last blog ..Some Christmas cheer =-.

  16. Amy H. says:

    I had weight issues before I got pregnant, and pregnancy only amplified those problems. Also, both times I had gestational diabetes. I managed to get my body back after the first pregnancy, but the second stretched me out to the point of no return. It’s OK though, I’d rather have my kids than a satiny smooth belly.
    .-= Amy H.´s last blog ..Weight Loss in the 60’s =-.

  17. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    I gained about 50 lbs with both pregnancies. But with the first one I was in my early 20s and my starting weight was actually a bit too low for my height, and I had no trouble losing the weight within a few weeks.

    16 years later, in my late 30s, the story was quite different. I started out at a healthy weight (I had actually lost weight to be at a healthy weight when I got pregnant to avoid complications). I believe I ended gaining so much weight because I couldn’t exercise for part of the pregnancy, was on bed rest toward the end, and I also dealt with a lot of the stress of what ended up being a very high risk pregnancy by eating lots of healthy food. And yes, lots of healthy food makes you gain lots of weight. 🙂

    Losing the weight was very difficult. In the end it came down to portion control (once again). I had gotten really frustrated when the second baby was about six months old as I was working out every day and eating healthy foods. But looking back, I was still eating too much healthy foods… Once I adjusted my portions and made peace with the last 10 pounds, they eventually came off plus about 7 more.

    You are truly an inspiration, Diane! If you can do it, there are truly no excused for the rest of us… This is such a great post, and I’m sure is helpful to many!

  18. Leah says:

    I was about 195 when I became pregnant the first time. I gained 76 pounds when I gave birth to my twins. In the following two years I lost almost all of that and then got pregnant with my 3rd child/2nd pregnancy. I don’t remember exactly how much I gained, but it was about 35 pounds.

    I always dreamed of getting pregnant at a thin weight, but it never happened. I must say that being pregnant with one baby versus twins was much easier even though I still started at a heavy weight.

    When I hit 232 and was NOT pregnant that was a great eye opener that I needed to do something and so here I am. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post about your pregnancies and weight. I know of some friends who will find this very encouraging.
    .-= Leah´s last blog ..Triumph =-.

  19. my kashi diet says:

    well, this is baby number 3 and I have to say, for me it’s more a problem with consistency. I can do really well for about 4 or 5 days. I’ll workout, eat well, sleep even get in the water I need then my hubby will be off ofr a couple days and my whole routein gets tossed out the window along with my diet….. so honestly I couldn’t really say is 3 is harder – but doing it with a hubby on shift work is deffinatly harder. 🙂 but we just keep trying – right?!:)
    .-= my kashi diet´s last blog ..long time no see….. =-.

  20. MackAttack says:

    I love this post, thank you! Pregnancy seems like such a line in the sand where after it you will always be fatter than you were before. It’s so hopeful to see that you lost weight after so many pregnancies!
    .-= MackAttack´s last blog ..French Toast =-.

  21. Larkspur says:

    “Very few are blessed with pregnancy weight that falls off.” My goodness, so true. My 40-50 pounds was added with my first kid 18 years ago. I’ve lost about half of it but it took me an awful long time.
    .-= Larkspur´s last blog ..Demotivational Poster =-.

  22. m i c h e l l e says:

    Although I am done having babies, I would love to go through one knowing what I know now about nutrition. I gained 79 pounds w/ #1! Also just want to let you know I won’t be back in blogland until first week of Dec since I will be traveling to the UK. 🙂

  23. Joan says:

    My weight problem started when I was 7 after my parents divorced… As I became a Teenager I wasn’t “overweight” just a little heavy. About 10 to 15 lbs what I should weigh. Then in High School I lost a good amount of weight and thought I looked pretty good. I then met my future husband and the weight started to come back on. After My oldest Daughter was born I went from 130 (pre pregnancy) to 210 at delivery! Ugh! Lost 40 of it and then became pregnant with my second daughter. I have been trying to lose weight for the last 27 yrs! I am currently on WW and am hoping to shed this weight for good. That you for your inspiring Blog!

  24. Julie from Cannes says:

    You have a courage that most of people doesn’t!! I took 20kg for my first son that i lost right after (too quick i was only eating 1000kcal per day, crazy!!). Equal i gain weight back again (+8kg) because it was too fast. Then i got pregnant of my second child +25kg. And i tried so many times that crazy diet whose didn’t work on that time.
    After almost 2years i’m still trying to loose those 15kg left and it is so hard. It is a fight of everyday. But thanks to blogs like yours (awesome i love it) i understood a lot of things and it helps me to reduce my portion, exercice and LIVE.
    The fact is that i would like so much to have a fird children but i’m so worried to gain weight again (+ those i didn’t loose…). And because of that dumby reason i think i’m not ready to have one. It’s so sad not to increase my family because of the weights. I wish we could share pregnancies with our husband (mine is so thin and eat so healthy food compares to me..). But it is not.

    Your article is great because i know that if i arrive to loose my 15kg that means after another pregnancy i can do it again. Believing in ourselves.


  25. A Girl Running says:

    Pregnancy is totally different to normal life for me. Normal life used to revolve around my eating disorder and I slowly became heavier and heavier, but when pregnant I tend to eat intuitively.

    I gained 24 lbs with my first as I was very slim to start with
    I was normal weight with my second and gained 12lbs, I was only in hospital for 6 hours and when I got home I realised the weight was gone.
    With my third I had spent 5 years recovering from my eating disorder and battling a hypothyroid problem. I was around 190lbs and I gained around 5-7lbs – that also all came off.

    This pregnancy I start at around the same weight, I am much fitter than before but also classed as a mature pregnancy. I am now almost 19 weeks, have gained a little under 2lbs and as you know – have been told not to gain any weight whilst pregnant at all!
    .-= A Girl Running´s last blog ..Just a little break =-.

  26. Lara (Thinspired) says:

    Hi Diane!
    Just catching up with your posts. Thank you again for doing that guest post. It was wonderful.
    As you know, I was particularly interested in this topic! I think it is so interesting to learn that you had easier pregnancies once you were at a healthy weight. It’s really inspiring to know that having children won’t mean a death sentence with all of my weight loss efforts!
    Congrats to you on this, and thank you for being such a role model when it comes time to starting a family!
    .-= Lara (Thinspired)´s last blog ..Typical, Atypical… =-.

  27. Joan says:

    Having Children are a Blessing. Weight is relative… You just have to let go of the past frustrations of losing or not losing “baby weight” and start living. The weight will come off. Some of us have to work at it a little harder than most. My best friend is a prime example of being pregnant one day and being slim the next! But I still love her! LOL! I would have children all over again but, this time would listen to my Doctor and gain only what I needed not what I think I NEEDED! hahah! And with the last 3 I did just that and my C-Section recovery was easier! Yes, Ladies I have had 5 C-scetions and live to tell about it! There are a few women who have had more than that. The hard part is having morning sickness 24/7 which kind of puts you in eat mode trying to make the nausea go away. 5 girls total and 100lbs to lose and Was a Marine Wife for 23 yrs! ( Husband just retired) … But, I am hopeful I will shed this weight for good! Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Leave a Reply