Every pregnant mom knows the stares and occasional comments that a burgeoning belly can illicit.
But with the barrage of celebrity ‘baby bump’ photos that have exploded on the internet, it can cause new moms to be confused and wonder, ‘Am I too big?’ or ‘Am I too small?’
Pregnancy comes in all shapes and sizes
Karen Cooper, D.O., of Cleveland Clinic said the most important thing for any pregnant mom to remember is that a healthy lifestyle is more important than the size or shape of her belly.
“What you look like on the outside cannot absolutely determine, in any way, what your baby or the growing fetus is doing on the inside,” said Dr. Cooper. “We have pertinent diagnostic tests that we use during specific times during the mom’s pregnancy to determine certain health parameters.”
Healthy pregnancy weight gain
The National Institutes of Health recommend that women who begin pregnancy at a healthy weight or normal body mass index should gain between 25 to 35 pounds for a single pregnancy.
Dr. Cooper said overeating or under eating during pregnancy can have adverse effects on the baby and make a mom more susceptible to conditions such as hypertension, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
According to Dr. Cooper, first time moms often make the mistake of thinking that they need to eat a lot more to accommodate their growing baby, but really only need about 300 extra calories per day for a single pregnancy.
Doctors do not recommend dieting during pregnancy, but rather focusing on eating nutrient dense foods and keeping hydrated.
Listen to your doctor, tune out the rest
Dr. Cooper said the most important advice that a pregnant mom needs to listen to is the advice of her care provider and all of the other unsolicited ‘advice’ can be tuned out.
“The most important thing would be not to compare yourself to anyone else,” said Dr. Cooper. “We’re all unique individuals and your pregnancy is going to be different from someone else, so you should listen to your body, you should absolutely check in with your provider, you can do some research on your own if you’d like, but certainly your provider is going to be the number one person to get pertinent medical information from.”