Watching your body change shape is one of the most miraculous parts of growing a baby, but it can also be unnerving to say the least. There’s no doubt you’ll put on weight, but don’t panic – it’s all about understanding what’s going on
More than your bump will grow
Your body is designed to lay down fat during pregnancy to help fuel breastfeeding later on, so you can expect bigger hips as well as more bountiful boobs. Don’t be surprised if it also goes on strange places, too, like your shoulders or neck. Peachier bottom?
There is some truth in the idea that you gain more weight here if you’re having a girl. Fat distribution in this area is determined by oestrogen and, if you’re having a girl, your levels tend to be higher.
You can expect bigger hips as well as more bountiful boobs
You WILL worry about your weight
One US study found that 32% of women are ‘a little worried’ while eight per cent are ‘very worried’ about pregnancy pounds.
It’s likely to be worse in the first trimester when it’s not obvious you’re pregnant, so you just feel chubby. Negative feelings usually subside when your bump pops, and it’s also worth noting that most pregnancy weight gain has nothing to do with fat.
‘It’s your baby, plus extra fluid and thicker tissue in your uterus, that add pounds,’ says independent midwife Helen Taylor. This means you could losearound 12lb with the delivery, assuming your baby is 7lb. That’s certainly something to look forward to.
You can’t eat for two
‘It’s suggested pregnant women eat around 2000 calories a day – roughly the same as at any other time,’ says nutritional therapist Natalie McAdam. ‘Only in the last three months should your intake increase by 200 calories a day.’
Don’t worry too much if you can’t stick to this, though. One recent study of pregnant women found most still ate more than normal. This is partly due to a rise in the hormone progesterone, which increases your appetite. Don’t deprive yourself if you’re really hungry, just try to go for healthy options – you can NEVER eat too much salad.
You can still exercise
‘Although you shouldn’t take up any new intensive sports, it’s fine to work out,’ says Helen. In fact, many studies have found women who exercise moderately throughout pregnancy have shorter labours than non-exercisers.
Generally, if you were active before, you can keep up your routine with a few adjustments, such as making sure you don’t get too hot, don’t exercise through discomfort and avoid putting excessive strain on ligaments and abdominal muscles.
If you don’t already work out, gentle exercise, such as walking, swimming, pregnancy yoga or Pilates, is a good idea. Just check with your GP first.