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From Mommy-to-be to Bridesmaid

When you’ve been married five years and are five-and-a-half months pregnant, you don’t have quite the same mentality about friends weddings. In other words, there’s no mental stigma of being ‘always the bridesmaid, never the bride.’

But that doesn’t mean shopping for a bridesmaid dress is fun.

I’m fortunate in that I won’t be walking down the aisle carrying 30 or more extra pounds; the baby will be almost two months old by the time my friend gets married. But this left lots of guesswork when it came to ordering my dress for a late November wedding.

As a 5’3′, 125 lb. woman, I have never had to pay those wonderfully humiliating ‘over-size charges’ for a dress. But when the seamstress measured me this time, wrapping the tape measure loosely around my waist (the bride could have stepped inside the tape measure with me, honestly!) she said I had a 37-inch waist, putting me in a Size 22. I gasped. If I have a 37-inch waist, why do I still fit into my size small maternity jeans (designed to fit a woman who regularly wears size 4 ‘ 6 pants)’ How can I still fit comfortably into my paintball clothes, designed to fit a waist up to 34 inches? (Okay, so they are the only ‘regular’ clothes in my closet that still fit, but they do!)

When I argued, she pointed to my belly and said, ‘Yes you are. Just look at the fat here!’

Pssst, it’s called a woman’s body doing what’s needed to protect the 5-month old fetus inside me! And, as my last doctor’s appointment, I found out that at least one pound of my 10 pounds of extra weight is baby, with another 2 pounds or so placenta. I don’t even want to talk about how much weight I’m carrying around in my chest right now.

She also acted like she couldn’t believe I normally wear a size 4, or Juniors size 5. It made me even happier knowing I paid more than $200 for the entire degrading experience.

Of course, I went home wallowing (an appropriate verb, apparently, for a pig such as myself) in a state of ‘I’m fat’ self-pity, ignoring the facts. Two weeks ago, my doctor said my weight gain is within the normal range for my stage of pregnancy.

So what exactly is ‘normal’ for a woman in the middle of her second trimester, or at any time during pregnancy? What is cause for concern?

This article by Beverley Brooke offers some guidelines. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology says that a normal weight woman can expect to gain between 25 to 35 pounds, while someone who is underweight can gain up to 40 lbs. Women who are overweight should try to limit weight gain to 15 to 25 pounds. No matter what your starting weight, you should never diet while pregnant. If you are overweight, work on eating healthy foods and gaining slow, steady amounts.

For women of ‘normal’ weight, it’s safe to gain as much as a pound a week throughout your second trimester, and to keep up that rate throughout the seventh and eighth months, too. Most women will only gain 4 to 6 pounds in the first trimester, and this will vary depending on your appetite and morning sickness.

This article on the March of Dimes Web site shows where all that weight is going. I find this interesting because although I’m in my 20th week of pregnancy and have gained about 7 lbs. from my starting weight, I’ve gained it mostly in my waist and chest, so I still don’t look pregnant. (Or, as a friend said to me this weekend, ‘I just figured you’d been eating well over the winter!’)

It’s important to note that all these figures and formulas are simply guidelines. Every woman is different. Follow your doctor’s instructions, and, as long as your tests are coming back well, with no signs of high blood pressure, gestational diabetes or other issues that can be caused by a poor diet and rapid weight gain, don’t worry what your mother, sister, best friend or that hag at the dress shop says!

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