I think I might have mentioned here (only about a dozen times) that I am set to be the proud aunt come December. This baby, Chase, is the first on my side of the family, so we’re all especially excited. It was kind of ironic when my sister-in-law announced her pregnancy in late April, because she had just completed the tail-end of a new diet and fitness regime in which she had dropped a couple sizes. I was worried about how Amber would feel about her expanding body, but she seems to have completely embraced the bowling ball she now sports.
Since cultural ideas about fat began to shift more than a 100 years ago, it has only been in pregnancy that women are culturally “allowed” to be fat, but now even those standards are changing. The recommended weight limitations for pregnancy are becoming more stringent* and doctors are limiting the amount of calories pregnant women should consume. My other sister-in-law, who is pregnant with twins, was told by her doctor to limit her diet to an additional 300 calories per baby — or the equivalent of a serving of Raisin Bran with reduced fat milk. Amber has already received lectures from her doctor that she’s gaining too much weight even though she says she tries to eat healthy and hasn’t been prone to many 3 a.m. ice cream and pickle cravings. Reader Sharon recently emailed me with her maternity dilemma. She lives in Australia and the hospital in the state she is moving to is turning pregnant women away if they have a BMI above 35. This means that Sharon, a recovered bulimic who weighs just under 200 pounds, can only gain about 14 pounds during her entire pregnancy — and that’s including the weight of the baby! Sharon said that she’s read recommendations that actually encourage fat women to diet and lose weight during their pregnancies. “I am very fit and healthy with great cholesterol levels and able to run for 3 hours without stopping, but I am going to have to diet in this pregnancy to ensure I can give birth in the hospital I have chosen as I arrive in the country too late to look around for another hospital,” said Sharon. And it’s not just Australia. For more on pregnant women and weight issues, check out the blog Well Rounded Mama.
I met my brother David and Amber at a local park the other weekend with my new Canon DSLR to take some quick maternity shots of the expectant couple. I usually don’t do portraiture-type photography and I was especially clueless on how to do maternity poses, but I’m happy with how some of them turned out. I’ve since looked up some ideas and we plan to meet soon to get more shots. If only all women were as embracing of their curves…
* The Institute of Medicine recommends that women of “normal” weight should gain between 25 to 35 pounds and underweight women should gain 28 to 40 pounds. Overweight women should limit their increase to 15 to 25 pounds and obese women should gain about 15 pounds.