29 articles Tag pregnancy

How to Understand Your Rights When You Go on Maternity Leave: 5 Things You Need to Know

There are sets of laws that have been put in place to protect women when they are pregnant and employed. Many women have a lot of questions when it comes to their employment. Will you be given a set time period for your pregnancy? Will your job be protected? Can you be fired? There are a few things pregnant women need to be aware of so they can make sure their rights are fully protected.

The Family Medical Leave Act

For pregnant women, knowing your maternity leave rights is vital. The Family Medical Leave Act was passed in 1993 and applies to companies with at least 50 employees. Those who have worked at least a year with the company and work at least 25 hours a week qualify for taking up to twelve weeks of leave for pregnancy. When you return to work, under the law, you must be returned to employment offering equal benefits. The twelve weeks can be split up or taken all at once.

The FMLA also allows spouses to take leave for work for the care of their pregnant spouse or their newborn baby. It is imperative you are well-versed in the law so you can fully protect your rights as you go through the process.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Unfortunately, discrimination still occurs against pregnant women. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed in 1978. This act provides women with the same rights as others with medical conditions. This act states the following.

· You cannot be fired because you are pregnant.

· You cannot be forced to take a mandatory leave.

· You must be given modified tasks so you can continue to perform your job safely.

· You are allowed to continue working as long as you can safely and effectively perform your job.

· You are fully guaranteed job security during your leave.

Women need to be aware of this act that was passed to protect their rights as a pregnant woman. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was put in place to ensure pregnant women are treated fairly in the workplace.

5 Things You Must Know

1. As long as you have worked part-time for at least a year, you qualify for maternity leave.

2. You are required to request maternity leave in writing.

3. Your employer must continue to provide you with insurance, but you must pay your premiums.

4. There are only four states that have government-funded maternity leave and they include New Jersey, California, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

5. Short-term disability insurance can offer coverage for the partial term of the maternity leave, but it will not cover it all.

Although laws have not been put in place in every state that requires employers to offer paid maternity leave, some employers provide this for the good of their employees. Preparation with savings before medical leave can make this period of time less financially stressful.

Conclusion

Pregnant women need to be aware of the rights they hold and should familiarize themselves with the laws and the policies of their employer. Being informed will help you to protect your rights as you go on maternity leave. Those who have been discriminated against or illegally fired should file a report and consider getting legal help.

Modern Pregnancy Monitoring Solutions: 4 Advantages of Using A Smart Pregnancy Tracker

PregnancyPhoto by John Looy on Unsplash

Pregnancy has always gone along with procreation, and there is something mystical about the whole process, the creation of a human life where once there was nothing: genesis, so to speak. It is a natural and beautiful thing, but there are parts of it that can be uncomfortable and inconvenient for the woman, which is why it is so nice that advancements in technology have made things a little easier. Foremost among these innovations is the smart pregnancy tracker. There are different ones on the market, and it would behoove the modern woman to consider getting one, like those offered at bloomlife.com. Here are four reasons you should consider monitoring your pregnancy with a smart tracker.

They Will Warn You of Sudden Changes with the Fetus

The primary purpose of most pregnancy trackers is to monitor how the fetus is doing in the mother’s belly. As such, for the expectant mother who is wearing one, if the child is in distress, the tracker will alert her before she might be aware that anything is amiss. These trackers can let the mother know if what she is experiencing is only something ordinary like gas, or whether it is, in fact, the onset of early labor.

Your Partner Can Be an Intimate Part of the Process

With a smart pregnancy tracker, your partner can have an insight into what you are experiencing like never before. It’s true that they won’t be able to feel the mother’s contractions, for better or worse, but they will be able to quantify what is taking place. This is a way to create an additional emotional attachment to the woman who is carrying the child that you will both be rearing together.

You Are Less Likely to Go to The Hospital Prematurely

If you’re in the third trimester and you are getting close to the due date, then false labor can easily occur. This is where you are experiencing a bodily sensation that mimics the feeling of labor but is not the actual event. Through the use of a smart pregnancy tracker, you will be much more likely to identify when the main event is about to occur. That can save you multiple unnecessary trips to and from the hospital maternity ward.

When the Time Comes, You Can Precisely Track Contractions

A critical part of the birthing process is the tracking of contractions so that the mother knows when to push. This reveals how quickly the child is coming. With a smart pregnancy tracker, there is no guesswork. The tracker monitors uterine activity in real-time so that the frequency and the duration are there for all to see. This is useful for the birthing mother, her partner, and the medical team who are taking care of her.

Medical technology and prenatal care have progressed to the point where giving birth is so much more likely to produce a happy result in the form of both a healthy child and mother. The smart pregnancy tracker is another innovative tool that a mother can use to ensure that both the pregnancy and the birth go smoothly.

Getting Pregnant After 40: Risks, Statistics, and Solutions

Infertility after 40 is becoming a common concern as more women choose to start their families later in life. Simply put, the older a woman gets, the harder it is for her to conceive with her own eggs. This is a scientific fact based on the significant decline of viable eggs produced by a woman as time passes. For women approaching their 40th birthday – or are already in their 40s – knowing their pregnancy risks, statistics, and possible solutions to conceiving after 40 can help them make the best choice for their family.

Valuable Statistics to Know

What are the odds of women conceiving after 40? According to the CDC, 30% of women in their 40s will experience infertility. Keep in mind that age may be one of many contributing factors to infertility. A study published in Fertility and Sterility showed women in their early 40s had a 25% chance of conceiving using their own eggs, but by age 44 that chance dropped to only 1.6%.

However, there is still hope for these women; they can increase their odds of getting pregnant by seeking fertility treatments such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), traditional IVF, or donor egg IVF.

Risks of Getting Pregnant in 40s

While a successful natural pregnancy is possible over 40, there are still significant risks to consider. After age 35, women have a higher risk of the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Premature labor and birth
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Preeclampsia
  • Miscarriage
  • Low birth weight
  • Placental problems
  • Birth complications

It’s impossible to know how your body will react, but thanks to scientific advances in fertility treatment, many of these risks can be decreased using assisted reproductive technology (ART).

Treatment Options

Women experiencing infertility after 40 have a few options to consider. They can try stimulating their own ovulation with fertility drugs or seek intrauterine insemination, a process in which a woman is inseminated with healthy sperm just as she is scheduled to release an egg. While both treatments can help increase the odds of conception, the best option with the highest chance of pregnancy for women over 40 – a whopping 39% – is in vitro fertilization (IVF) using donor eggs.

IVF and Donor Eggs

In vitro fertilization uses ART techniques to implant a fertilized egg into the mother’s uterus. As discussed, using one’s own egg becomes difficult after 40. Given this difficulty, families often opt to use donor eggs from a younger, healthier woman. By using donor egg IVF, the mother still experiences the miracle of childbirth with significantly less risk of miscarriage. Frozen donor egg banks provide a nationwide database of egg donors to choose from, or mothers-to-be can choose fresh egg donation from a family member, close friend, or select from a small regional pool of available donors. Frozen eggs are the better option for many families because the donor has already been screened, knows her legal rights, and may have had previous successful conceptions (either through her own children or children resulting from prior donations). Furthermore, the IVF process with frozen eggs is quicker than fresh eggs, as syncing the menstrual cycles of the donor and mother is necessary when using fresh eggs.

Steps Leading to Donor Egg IVF

Before committing to donor egg IVF, couples should seek counseling to prepare themselves for the emotions involved. While this treatment is a source of hope, it can also be a source of stress and anxiety. Aside from therapeutic counseling, couples should also seek legal counsel to establish rights between all parties when using fresh eggs.

The Bottom Line

Pregnancy already comes with a degree of risk and possibility of failure, whether aged 25 or 43. If a woman is struggling to conceive, she should ask her doctor about possible treatment options.

If you’re thinking about being pregnant after 40, there are some precautions that you have to take under consideration. For example, you need to see if you are still fertile, if not there are many avenues you can go down like IVF from Fertility Plus.

 

Things They Don’t Tell You About Your Post-Baby Body

When I fell pregnant with Sausage, there’s no denying the fact that I wasn’t in the best shape I could have been in; two years of marriage and the “comfort” had set in, with lots of lovely evenings spent together, eating takeaway and watching movies, and it had exactly the effect you#d imagine on my figure. I’d always planned to get in shape before we even considered having another baby, but fast-forward five and a half years and I fell pregnant a LOT quicker than I thought I would after having my implant removed. All of this neglect aside, there are things which happen to your body, post-baby, that a lot of people don’t talk about. Here’s just a few of the things that I’ve had to deal with:

Hair Loss

I’m pretty lucky that I have fairly thick hair to begin with, but after both of my babies the hair loss was shocking. I always lose it from around my hairline which is probably the most annoyingly noticeable place to lose it from, especially as I wear my hair in a ponytail and it can really mess with your confidence. I’m lucky that I didn’t lose enough to have needed to resort to an FUE hair transplant, but it’s something which affects a lot of new mums. 

Incontinence

This one is pretty much a universal truth for anyone who’s had a baby – you WILL pee yourself at some point in the future. I know women who’ve done every Kegel exercise imaginable who still break out in a cold sweat at the thought of going on a trampoline or getting a bad cough, and it’s not something we should be ashamed about, it’s just a fact of biology.

Stretch Marks

Because of things like Instagram and women’s magazines, it would be really easy to think that only us mere mortals get stretchmarks and that they’re something to be ashamed of. The fact of the matter is, some people get them, some people don’t. Celebs have the benefit of photo retouching and professional make-up people to make them look perfect but it’s very rarely a reality.

The Pouch

Obviously, not everyone who has a baby ends up with a pouch (you know , that flap of skin on your belly which just WILL NOT SHIFT not matter how much weight you lose) but it’s incredibly common and a lot of women say that their bodies never look the same again after having a baby, which can be hard to deal with, mentally. It’s taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I’ll never have my 22-year old body again, HOWEVER, I’m working hard to improve my new normal.

Scars

For ages after having Sausage, I found it really hard to look at my c-section scar because it represented a traumatic time in my life. It was jagged and red and made me feel like a failure for not having given birth naturally. Then Husband told me how grateful he was to that scar, how it represented the fact that a doctor was able to remove Sausage from my body safely while she was being starved of oxygen and save her life. As soon as I started to view my scar differently, it changed my whole view and I now love it.

10 Things You Wish You Would Have Done While You Were Pregnant

Sure, pregnancy symptoms can be uncomfortable, but there are plenty of reasons to celebrate during those 40 emotion-filled weeks that lead up to the moment when you finally get to meet your little one face to face! With this in mind, here are 10 things women wish they would’ve done during pregnancy. Try a few on for size: You’ll be glad you did!

Keep a Journal

Journaling takes just a few minutes per day, and it’s a great way to remember your thoughts and feelings later on, or just to air your worries in the present moment. Use an actual paper journal and pen, or type on your computer.

Take More Time out For Yourself

Babies require lots of time and effort, and new moms often have trouble finding time to pamper themselves. Relax now, while you have plenty of uninterrupted time.

Photograph Your Pregnant Belly

It’s a lot of fun to watch yourself grow – and weekly photos of your pregnancy can be important keepsakes later on. Set up your camera and take selfies in the same position each week, or have a friend or partner lend a helping hand.

Exercise

Yes, you’re tired and your body is sore! What you might not realize is that exercise can help ease some of those discomforts and prep your body for labor so everything goes a bit more smoothly. Exercise can also help you deal with the physical demands of caring for a newborn. So get your doctor’s approval, and then choose a fun activity or two. Some health clubs even have classes just for pregnant women, so be sure to explore your options.

Check Out Childbirth Classes

Your schedule may be busy, but once baby arrives, you’ll be glad you took some time out for childbirth classes. There really is no substitute for in-person education, especially if you’re able to get your partner involved.

Make a Belly Cast

Memorialize your pregnancy in a fun way by making a belly cast when you’re at your biggest.

Look Fabulous

Maternity clothes are improving all the time, making it easy to stay stylish throughout your entire pregnancy. It can be a lot of fun to really embrace this time by rocking a stylish haircut and focusing on looking your best.

Take a Babymoon with Your Partner

Babymoons are a lot like honeymoons – plenty of time alone with your partner, focusing on one another and just enjoying the fun of being together. You can take an actual vacation to a destination that won’t work well for a young family if you like, or you can enjoy fun activities close to home. Life after baby arrives will require extra planning, so consider enjoying some spontaneity while you still can.

Party with Your Friends

You can’t enjoy cocktails like you used to, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a few more girls’ nights out, or from having a fun slumber party with your friends. Your most important friendships will remain strong after baby arrives, but there will be more demands on your time and energy, making it tough to connect on the same level. Have some fun and make some memories!

Sleep In

If you have time and feel up to it, enjoy sleeping in. Babies are notorious for waking their parents at all hours, so bask in the luxury of your bed every time you have the chance.

Sources:

https://www.idiva.com/photogallery-health/fun-activities-to-do-when-pregnant/1592

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/recreation/

https://www.buzzfeed.com/anitabadejo/women-are-amazing?utm_term=.wcNjOxJnX#.ge5z5reMv

http://pregnancyandbaby.com/the-hatch-blog/articles/929411/six-activities-for-1st-time-pregnant-women-to-try

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/exercise-during-pregnancy/

Bladder Weakness – Seeing The Funny Side!

bladder weaknessBladder weakness. Let’s face it. it’s not the most glamorous subject, but given that its something which affects up to 14 million people here in the UK, it’s still something that we should be talking about in order to break the taboos surrounding it. I’m not ashamed to say that after two pregnancies which resulted in c-sections, I still have issues with bladder weakness when I’ve got a cough, which means that I spend most of winter worrying about peeing my pants.

In the spirit of dealing with bladder weakness head on, I took to Facebook to ask my friends if they had any hilarious stories they could share with us, and they came up with some real gems! Read on for a giggle (just make sure you’re wearing your incontinence pants first!)

“I was shopping one day and had a sneezing fit – with every sneeze i peed at least half a millilitre,  and it was the one day i hadn’t put a pad on as i had run out. I must have sneezed at least 7 times! I also had grey joggers on so it was VERY obvious! Lets just say I abandoned my shopping…!”

“When you’re being sick isn’t fun”

“When we were at collage, me and a friend went to a zumba class. It was pretty hard core and we just didn’t have a clue so ended up fairly amused. As the class went on and it got ramped up we got more and more lost and ended up with uncontrollable giggles we were laughing so much that she wet herself right in the middle of a fully mirrored dance studio with 30-ish other woman all pretty close so she grabbed her water bottle and in a pretty quick thinking manoeuvre she squeezed the contents of the bottle all down her front then started screaming and shouted about how rubbish the new water bottle was and that it looked like she’d wet herself.” (side note – I actually think this one is GENIUS!!)

I think my own favourite stress incontinence story is from when I was heavily pregnant with Sausage. Husband and I had gone for a walk in the woods with Chuck, who was on a long lead. Husband was distracted for a moment and Chuck managed to wind the rope round his legs and somehow drag him backwards into a ditch like a human AT-AT. I laughed SO much that I started to leak and being about two miles away from the car or any toilets made for a VERY uncomfortable walk back for me!

The point I’m making is that we’re ALL human and no-one is perfect. People pee themselves and it’s nothing to be ashamed of, just make sure that you’re prepared for next time!

Busting Pregnancy Myths

SpatonePregnancy can be an absolute minefield of “advice” coming from a multitude of different sources. If it’s not your Mum, your mother-in-law, your Nan, sisters, friends or extended relatives sharing their collected wisdom about what your pregnancy should be like, it’s random old ladies in the supermarket stopping you to tell you what they did “in their day”! Sometimes, anecdotal advice can be the best thing in the world and there were a few things that my mother in law and sister in law told me when I was carrying Sausage that I still pass on to others because the advice was so sound. However, sometimes, it can all seem a bit much when you’re hearing different things from every person you speak to.

The awesome people at Nelsons, makers of iron supplement Spatone, have been speaking to proper midwives in an effort to bust some of the biggest pregnancy myths around, and we thought we’d share some of them with you:

Myth #1: How you are ‘carrying’ the baby can tell you the sex.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The shape and height of your bump is determined by your muscle tone, uterine tone, and the position the baby is in, not by the sex. The only way to know is via an ultrasound scan or amniocentesis and even then it is not always possible to be completely sure.

Myth #2: You shouldn’t drink coffee while pregnant.

You don’t need to give up caffeine entirely, the current advice for is to limit yourself to (ACOG 2010, FSA 2008, Jahanfar and Jaafar 2013) 200mg of caffeine a day – this equates to drinking approximately two mugs of tea, two mugs of instant coffee or one mug of filer coffee a day (or five cans of coke!). If your habit exceeds these amounts try a de-caf version in the afternoons, it may help you sleep better too!

Myth #3: Heartburn means baby has lots of hair

Heartburn is a common discomfort during pregnancy because your stomach is pushed higher by the growing baby. It is no way an accurate predictor of baby being born with a full head of hair. Lots of women who experience heartburn give birth to bald babies!

Myth #4: You shouldn’t eat smoked salmon when pregnant

Pregnant women can eat smoked fish and not advised to avoid it currently. Fish is good for mothers-to-be because it is a good source of many vitamins and minerals, as well as essential omega-3 fatty acids like DHA. There are some types of fish you should limit to 2 portions a week, this includes oily fish like salmon. There are also fish you should completely avoid like swordfish. The NHS website provides a full ist.

Myth #5: You are eating for two

In the first six months of pregnancy our energy needs do not increase. The average woman of normal weight pre-pregnancy only needs about 200 extra calories per day in her third trimester to promote her baby’s growth. That’s roughly the number of calories in a piece of buttered toast and a banana. Gaining too much weight can result in gestational diabetes and a struggle to lose the weight post birth so think twice before eating a double helping of dessert!

Myth #6 Lying or sleeping on your back will hurt the baby

While you won’t harm your baby if you lie on your back for short periods of time, lying on your back after 16 weeks can be uncomfortable. After 16 weeks it can make you feel faint as the baby presses on major blood vessels. Sleeping on your side might be more comfortable and as your bump gets heavier you might find it better to prop yourself up with pillows so you are almost sitting.

Myth #7: Guinness is a good source of iron

Mums and nans are forever telling us about the daily dose of stout they consumed during pregnancy because it is a good source of iron and a lot of people still believe this old wives tale. In fact Guinness and similar stouts contains no more iron than standard beer and you would need to drink a whopping 35 pints to get your daily intake of iron. But more importantly pregnant women should avoid alcohol altogether as not only does it carry an increased risk of miscarriage but may be harmful for the unborn baby.

Guinness in pregnancy

If your doctor or healthcare practitioner says you may need to supplement your diet with iron, why not try a sachet or two of Spatone, which contains iron rich water sourced from the Welsh mountains of Snowdonia National Park. The iron naturally present in Spatone can help top up your iron levels whilst causing fewer of the unpleasant side effects often experienced with conventional iron food supplements. Generally, iron is a very difficult mineral for the body to absorb. However, the iron naturally present in Spatone has been shown to be easily absorbed, with an average of 40% bioavailability, compared to 5- 20% from food and other iron food supplements#. Always check with your doctor or healthcare practitioner before taking any supplements if you are pregnant.

Spatone is available from Boots priced at £11.49 for 28 sachets (4 weeks supply) and Spatone Apple is priced at £12.49 for 28 sachets.

For more info visit www.spatone.com

The morning after pill: know the facts

image

When it comes to emergency contraception, it pays to be in the know. Although you might think you’re clued up on the morning after pill, it could be that you’re confusing fact and fiction. So that you’re up to speed on this subject, keep reading.

It’s easily accessible

The morning after pill can be easily accessed from a variety of places, including your GP, your local chemist and sexual health clinics, and you can even purchase it from an online pharmacy such as Click Pharmacy. This is especially useful if you’re too embarrassed to approach your doctor or a pharmacist in-person. If you decide to use the morning after pill, you will be asked a few simple health-related questions to ensure it’s suitable for you.

It’s more effective the sooner it’s taken

While it’s name suggests differently, the morning after pill can be effective for a number of days after sex. There are two types of emergency contraception available – Levonelle and ellaOne. Levonelle can work for up to three days after sex, while ellaOne can be effective for up to five days. Despite this, it’s important to remember that the sooner the morning after pill is taken, the more effective it will be at preventing pregnancy.

Using it is not the same as having an abortion

It is a common misconception that using the morning after pill is the same as having an abortion. The truth is, these two things are completely different. While an abortion terminates a pregnancy that has already begun, emergency contraception works to prevent an egg from becoming fertilised or implanted in the first place.

It will not affect your long-term fertility

Although it may have a temporary effect on your ability to fall pregnant, there is no evidence to suggest that using the morning after pill can lead to long-term fertility problems. However, you should note that this type of emergency contraception is not intended for continuous use. It’s also important to recognise that it shouldn’t be used as a replacement for another method of contraception, such as the combined pill.

There are some potential side effects

Like most medicines, the morning after pill can cause some side effects. The most common ones include nausea, abdominal pain, headaches, tender breasts and feeling tired and dizzy. If you are sick after taking it, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist immediately as you may need to take another dose.

Keeping this information in mind should give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing this treatment is available should you need to use it.

Stress Incontinence – The Inconvenient Truth

I’ve been quite candid in the past about the fact that my continence is not what it once was since having two babies via c-section. I don’t know if it’s the fact that two major operations cutting through my abdominal muscles has left them weak or just the fact that continence issues happen as women age, but either way, wetting yourself when you’re 31 is not a good look.

bladder leakage

There are a whole new set of things that are a peril to me, now that I have tinkle issues; laughing too hard, getting a cough, jumping on a bouncy castle, but perhaps the most annoying is hayfever season. As if it’s not bad enough to have streaming, itchy eyes and a running nose, I have to worry about other potential incidents whenever I sneeze! Obviously the “standing really still and crossing my legs as tightly as I can” is an options, but it rarely works, which is why having added protection from Hartmann can really help. Hartmann offer a whole range of continence solutions from pregnant women right up to the elderly and everything in between, with the main focus on discretion.

It’s all well and good being super frank about these things, and I’m a firm believer that the stigma of stress incontinence needs to be broken, but at the same time I need things to be invisible, as if they aren’t even there, for me to really feel at ease. There’s a really excellent tool on the Hartmann site which allows you answer a few questions, and it then suggests the product which would be most suitable for your age, gender and lifestyle.

Another thing which is really appealing about Hartmann is that you can order online and they’ll deliver straight to your door. It doesn’t get more discreet than that! There’s nothing that makes you feel quite so self-conscious as standing in the supermarket aisle, choosing your incontinence product and then having to walk around with it in your trolley! This completely removes the embarrassment factor and allows you to browse at leisure from the comfort of your own home.

Here are some useful facts about bladder leakage:

  • Bladder leakage is a very common problem. According to the Bladder and Bowel Foundation around 14 million people in the UK experience regular bladder leakage. That means one in every 4 or 5 people who live in the UK have this problem.
  • Stress urinary incontinence is leakage of urine from the bladder on exertion. Simple activities which result in leakage include picking up shopping or a child; a hearty laugh, cough or sneeze; aerobics, trampolining and running. Stress incontinence is due to weakness of the pelvic floor muscles. Contrary to what the name implies stress incontinence is not caused by emotional stress, although any leakage may cause the sufferer to be ‘stressed’.
  • In women, the pelvic floor muscles may be weakened as a result of childbirth, but women who have never had children can still suffer from stress incontinence. In men, these muscles may be weakened following surgery on the prostate gland.

Head over to the Hartmann Direct site for more information.

The Realities of Being Fat and Pregnant

A couple of weeks ago, I read a viral Facebook post about a pregnant woman who’d been fat shamed after posting a series of photos online that she’d had taken of her and her bump. The story was then picked up by the Huffington Post after the woman was asked to take part in “The Honest Body Project”, a photo series which gives an honest look at women’s bodies.

The whole story was something which really resonated with me. Brittany Dykstra, the woman in the photos said “I’m 35 weeks pregnant and just last week I had maternity pictures taken to celebrate this horrible, but beautiful pregnancy. For the first time in about 35 weeks I felt beautiful, and was so excited to share this moment with my friends and family.”

She goes on to say “Later that day we got the sneak peak pictures back and I posted them on Facebook thinking my friends and family would think I was beautiful and would love them, however that wasn’t the case. All I received were negative comments about how huge I am, about how unhealthy I am, and about how they think my baby is going to be a 10 to 12 pound baby by the looks of how much I weigh. I literally went in the bathroom and cried for hours. It’s so hard being plus size, pregnant, sick, and getting negative comments about the way I look. If I’m happy and accepting of my body, why can’t everyone else just be happy for me?!”

Before I fell pregnant with Sausage, I wasn’t huge, probably around 12st, so a little overweight for my 5’4″ height, but not horrendously so as I have a large frame and huge boobs which tends to mean even at a ‘healthy’ body shape, I’m a little over what BMI charts say I should be. I gained a lot of weight during that pregnancy; for the first 4 months, I could barely eat anything at all and actually lost weight because of hyperemesis gravidarum. Then I developed gestational diabetes and despite trying to eat a low GI diet, the weight piled on. Once I’d given birth, I was in a cycle of depression and PTSD which meant that I never lost the baby weight and by the time I fell pregnant with Burrito Baby 5 years later, I was pushing 14 and a half stone.

I’d had every intention of losing the weight BEFORE getting pregnant again, especially as I was already diabetic, but I fell pregnant a lot quicker than I thought I would after having my implant removed, which meant dealing with pregnancy with a much higher starting weight than I would have liked. Like Brittany, once I reached a certain point in my pregnancy, I also felt a little more body-confident; my shape was suddenly defined by the life growing inside of me, not the amount of biscuits I ate, and while I wasn’t about to post photos of myself in lingerie on Facebook, I totally understand whet she meant about feeling beautiful for the first time in a long time.

According to the story, Dykstra started receiving abuse from family and friends regarding her weight, although no examples are given and I can’t help but wonder how much of this “abuse” was unwanted but well-meaning concern for her obvious weight problem. Because, while I am against the idea of ‘fat-shaming’ (lets face it, us fatties do tend to KNOW we’re fat, we don’t need to be constantly reminded), I do think it’s deluded to think that being overweight doesn’t cause health problems, especially during pregnancy. Being “happy” with your body is one thing, but being aware of health ramifications is also hugely important.

On a medical level, obesity during pregnancy can increase the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, infection, problems during labour, increased birth weight, birth defects, babies with a high birth weight and even miscarriage. This isn’t about ‘fat shaming’ or ‘thin privilege’ – these are REAL risks, caused by being overweight.

On a personal level, I definitely found that being overweight during pregnancy adversely affected me. Hauling around a giant bump AND a giant body was genuinely exhausting and I honestly think my SPD and mobility would have been slightly better had I not been putting so much pressure on my pelvis with my excess weight (although and friend of mine, who is very slim, also had SPD, probably worse than my own, so I’m not saying obesity is a cause or necessarily means I suffered more, just that I don’t think it helped at all).

I’m not saying that Brittany Dykstra deserved to be abused for being overweight, nor am I saying that she deserved to feel any less beautiful than other pregnant women who enjoy the glow of carrying a child, but tip-toeing around the issue of obesity isn’t right either. Lots of women get pregnant at a less than ideal time of their lives and I’m sure that, given the choice, women would always choose to be in peak health when conceiving but it doesn’t always happen that way.

The thing is, weight is such a hot-button issue for most people. I know I’ve taken offense, even from medical professionals who’ve tried to talk to me about being overweight. It’s one of those things that people are hugely sensitive about because it’s so closely tied to their self-esteem, so choosing a moment where a mother-to-be is feeling good about herself to give her a lecture isn’t the best timing, not to mention the fact that she probably already KNOWS the issues AND has a team of health professionals telling her the same thing, but that doesn’t alter the fact that being fat and pregnant can be a problem, so it’s not simply a case of whether a person is happy with their weight.

What do you think? Are people overstepping the mark by expressing concern for her? Have you experienced pregnancy as an overweight person? I’d love to hear your opinions and experiences because this whole story has obviously struck a chord with me.