Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Goldilock's syndrome (how to be "just right")

My belly continues to grow, seemingly by the day!  Baby Rufus is a very busy little one; he/she is constantly rolling about, kicking and having a dance party.  Its a pretty surreal feeling to have all this action happening inside.  Most of the time I love it & it makes me feel even more excited and connected to Rufus.  I'm less thrilled when my bladder is being used as a trampoline, but thats all part of the package!

I was warned that I would start to have my belly rubbed & touched by strangers.  I do get the odd belly rub here & there, but no stranger has been bold enough, thank goodness.  I don't wear this shirt out of the house, as it would clearly invite belly-molestation.

Channelling Buddha, week 23
One thing that does surprise me somewhat is that people I don't know will not hesitate to tell me what they think of my size.  I've been told that I am too big and that I am too small.  The other day someone marvelled that I am "so much bigger than Kate (Middleton)", despite the fact that by rough calculations, she is due approximately 6-8 weeks after me!  I don't mind the comments because I feel good, am keeping active & my doctor is happy with the way things are going... but I find it surprising nevertheless.  When else do virtual strangers feel its OK to pass comment on your body?

I am a big proponent of staying active while pregnant, as all of my pregnant patients know.  The benefits to mom and baby are irrefutable.  There is even some evidence that the maintenance of a healthy weight in pregnancy can reduce the risk of the baby developing diabetes when he or she is an adult!  Talk about long-term benefits to avoiding the jelly doughnut that's calling out!  

There are a lot of misconceptions about being active in pregnancy, but the experts agree that regular moderate exercise through the entire pregnancy is a good thing.  A few years ago there was a well-publicized story about a woman who completed the Chicago Marathon just days before her due date and went on to start labour a few hours after she finished.  According to the reports, this was a woman who was fit and active before her pregnancy and who undertook her training and running with the guidance (and permission) of her medical professionals.  From the side-lines, she received cheers & encouragement, but also had people tell her that she was "killing her baby!"  Hers is an extreme example - the average woman is not going to be marathon-fit at 39 weeks gestation, but if woman exercises within the limits and guidelines recommended by her doctor, then even a marathon can be safe for mom and baby.

I dreamed of running through my entire pregnancy, but my body only allowed me to go to about 24 weeks.  But there are still lots of options out there, and I'm actually starting to enjoy swimming!  For me its not just about the health benefits, but it also feels good to keep active.  Also, I figure since I am preaching to my patients about exercising, I should probably "walk the talk"!

Running at 23 weeks

Spinning at 27 weeks
What does scare me is the media attention on the celebrity moms & the nit-picking of their pregnant and post-delivery bodies.  Every pound they gain is flashed across the pages of magazines and everyone has an opinion as to the appropriateness of their weight.  When they remain stick-thin throughout or sport a bikini 2 weeks after delivery they get celebrated for looking so good & so sexy.  I'm all for keeping active & healthy, but this type of attention on the "sexiness" of skinny celebrity moms only contributes to the growing problem of distorted body self-image.  There is even a term for the increasing and worrisome trend of pregnant women dieting and exercising aggressively to avoid weight gain: pregnorexia. 

I personally will be interested to watch the media attention on Kate Middleton as she starts to advance through her pregnancy.  (Although, in an ideal world, I wish for the sake of celebrities that they didn't have to live their life out in the public eye, but that's not going to change anytime soon!)  She has always had an intense spot-light on her weight, and this will only increase as she starts to grow her belly.  One supposes that she is a woman who will have top-notch maternity care & it seems likely that she will gain the recommended amount of weight.  Am I being too optimistic when I hope that the media portraits her as a healthy and reasonable pregnant woman, & doesn't focus on that fact that she's "too thin" or "too fat"?  We shall soon see!

Belly shot of the week: 28 weeks.
Too big?  Too small?  Just right!

1 comment: