I had my 29th week prenatal appointment yesterday with the one doctor at my office that I actually like. And then he went there. In one breath the doctor praised my glucose test results, saying “your blood sugar could not have been better!” in the very next breath he scolds me for gaining too much weight.
I joked about my blood sugar that I was glad that it was good because I’ve been “having a lot of pie” (which literally translates to, “I’ve had pie a few times this pregnancy”). He scolded me, saying sadly “you shouldn’t be having pie.” To which I said, “I can’t have pie? Pregnant women have pie!” I couldn’t even form a coherent argument because he just said a sentence that made no sense to me. “You shouldn’t be having pie” with a look of complete pity. Aren’t pregnant women known for indulging here and there? Aren’t ‘pickles and ice cream’ a thing because of pregnant women? I’m not diabetic. He backtracked and said, “well you can have it but maybe just a few times a week and only one serving.” As if I was having an entire pie for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I replied, “it is a slice of pie once in a while, not even a few times a week. It’s not like I eat pie for dinner.” Honestly, I laughed it off but felt completely offended. Am I overweight? Yes. I started this pregnancy overweight. The fact that I’m overweight at this point shouldn’t be a shock to anyone, but to insinuate I’m just completely reckless and overindulgent totally got me. I tried to explain that I’d gained 40lbs within the 6 months before I got pregnant. He replied with, “but you’ve gained 24lbs since then..” as if I should hang my big, fat, pregnant head in shame. I said, “Ok, I realize that. And while I guess that seems like a lot, I gained 70lbs each with my other two children. I can’t help but feel like I’m doing much better this time around.” He mentioned that he would have liked to see my stay under 200lbs, which also blew my mind because I started this pregnancy at 180lbs. So, 20lbs for the whole 40 weeks of growing another human being? Maybe that is normal for women across the board. It hasn’t been my normal experience. He said he wants me to pick a number and then be determined not to go over it. So, pick a random, arbitrary weight? How about 300lbs??
How about focus on my nutrition? Maybe suggest I focus on adding more vegetables to my diet? More water? He didn’t ask anything about how I eat or drink other than focusing on the pie I jokingly mentioned, because let’s not forget: my blood tests came back superb. He threw a last ditch comment in there that while he’s sure I’ll lose the weight I gain (I did, and then some, with my 2 previous children), “gaining and losing a lot of weight increases your chances of breast cancer.” …Okay? I’m already right this moment around 70+lbs heavier than I’d like to be postpartum, I already will be losing a great deal of weight. I’ve already gained and lost a good amount of weight over the years. You’re really concerned about the exact amount of weight I’ll be losing, even though it will be significant either way, because of my breasts?
I fully (ok, mostly) understand the need for medical professionals to monitor a mother’s weight gain but I disagree with their tactics. If you actually cared about the fact that a woman is, in your medical opinion, gaining too much weight during her pregnancy it would make more sense to get a good understanding of what her actual diet looks like instead of going completely off of assumptions. Maybe issue her a food journal and review it together at the next appointment where you could actually make educated observations and give genuinely helpful advice? And if the baby and mom are both healthy and safe, determine if it is even necessary to discuss the weight gain in the first place?
I’m sure this isn’t the healthiest mindset, but as a woman who has spent the better part of her life dieting, or just plain hating the state of her body, pregnancy is the one time it is socially acceptable to eat a freaking piece of pie. Hell, throw some ice cream on top. I am freaking pregnant, after all.