Anastasiia Chepinska via unsplash

5 reasons for stubborn baby weight and how to get back to your ideal weight

A guest article by Petra Schwarz.

Weight gain during pregnancy has its own dynamic. At first, the increase is relatively slow and manageable, but soon it becomes much more rapid than we are used to.

As much as you are happy about the first baby pounds and the growing belly, many people also feel a growing sense of unease and worry about whether this is normal and still OK when the weight gain during the pregnancy reaches Formula 1 speed.

I know from the mothers, midwives and doulas I work with that the question often arises during this time: “How am I going to lose these pounds after giving birth?”

The average weight journey during pregnancy

In the first trimester, from the moment the pregnancy test is positive, you begin to listen intensively to your own body, full of amazement and curiosity about the new life growing in your body.

At first you are happy about every centimeter that is added to your belly and even about the first few pounds.

Since you don’t feel the baby itself that much at the beginning, this is often the tangible “proof” that the pregnancy test is actually correct.

The second trimester is when most people enjoy their pregnancy the most.

It is finally visible to outsiders that you are pregnant and you can be fascinated by the miracle of the baby's first movements.

But when the scale suddenly starts to shoot up, you may start to worry and think about how you're going to get rid of those baby pounds later.

In the third trimester, the tension slowly increases because the finale, the longed-for and sometimes feared birth, is approaching, accompanied by even more kilos and belly circumference.

At this point, a lot of decisions have to be made:

About the type and place of birth, medical and family support, nursery rooms, baby equipment, the baby's name and much more.

And on top of that, there are a lot of different opinions, advice and reports of experiences that have accumulated from different directions over the course of the pregnancy to digest and sort through.

Every pregnancy is different.

There are many medical reasons that influence the course of pregnancy and weight gain.

In my work as an anti-diet coach, it has become clear that there are 5 main reasons for gaining too many baby pounds during pregnancy and their special “stickiness”.

Reason No. 1: Too much advice

People from your family and circle of friends who bombard you with well-meaning advice, warnings and stories. This is usually harder to get out of your head than you think. The result is often emotional eating.

Reason No. 2: Imagining everything that could go wrong

All of the people from reason number 1 contribute to this, but also all of the guides that are available to buy, whether in book form, as a podcast or as a video. As helpful as much of the content is, it also fuels our imagination.

This also applies to the sometimes not very sensitive advice given about various prenatal tests, which are intended to calm us down, but can also cause worry, fear and stress until the longed-for positive test result is finally available. Here, too, the negative feelings are often "dimed" with food.

Reason No. 3: Time pressure

Until the long-awaited arrival of the little miracle, there is a lot to organize, select and decide.

We're constantly juggling too many things at once. This often causes a lot of stress, which seems to be easier to bear with some good food.

Reason No. 4: Unfinished, postponed things

Even without being pregnant, you probably know that unpleasant, constantly postponed tasks are hanging over your head and blocking your mind. Now there are new ones:
The conversation at work about what to do after the birth.

Inform your friend who has been trying to get pregnant for a long time without success.

Clarify the difficult situation with the mother-in-law. And similar things...

All of this causes us stress, makes us eat when we are not hungry and, in the worst case, robs us not only of our energy during the day but also of our sleep at night.

Reason No. 5: A very loud inner critic

Pregnancy is unlike anything else in a woman's life. Especially the first time, there are endless questions and doubts.
Can I handle the “pregnancy” thing?

Can I manage the birth?

Can I be a good mother?

We push ourselves, want to do everything as perfectly as possible, and are afraid of making mistakes.

Excessive self-expectations, perfectionism and self-doubt are incredibly powerful energy drains.

These 5 reasons can trigger mental stress, which can also have physical effects. In the form of food cravings, emotional eating binges, and the fact that the feeling of being full is no longer properly perceived.

They lead to unhealthy eating, too little exercise and poor sleep. And that in turn leads to extra baby weight that is often difficult to lose.

It is important to find other ways to deal with stress, to decouple food and stress.

I have 5 tips for you here on how you can take the edge off stress with small things and prevent or at least reduce cravings.

They also provide wonderful support when there are medical reasons for increased pregnancy weight.

Tip 1 - Smile, even if you don't feel like it.

Our facial expressions influence our feelings. When you smile, the brain is told that everything is OK and under control, even if things are a bit "stressful". This releases happiness hormones, which in turn help to lower the level of stress hormones. This is good for the mother and the baby, because it senses this via the placenta. It also supports the metabolism and reduces feelings of hunger.

If you don't feel like smiling, you can trick your brain by putting a pen between your lips.

Tip 2 - The lucky glass

Write down happy moments, experiences, feelings and thoughts on pieces of paper. Fold them up and collect them in a large, beautiful, sealable jar. In moments when you are plagued by fear, doubt, frustration or anger, pull a piece of paper out of the jar and imagine yourself in the happy moment that is written on the piece of paper.

It has a similar effect to tip 1. It is also wonderful for parents and child to be able to remember the pregnancy later on.

Tip 3 - Tap the edge of your hand against self-doubt

Knock edge of hand

Tap the edge of your other hand with your dominant hand (see illustration).

While you are tapping, say the following sentence to yourself, out loud or in your mind:

"I love and accept myself as I am. I believe in myself and look after myself with kindness. I am a good mother."

You can repeat this a few times.

Tip 4 – Peace Rose for people who annoy you with good advice etc.

Imagine in your mind that the person who is currently annoying or irritating you is standing opposite you. Then imagine a beautiful rose appearing between you as a rose of peace. Now send the person's advice or stories back in your mind with love. Say to the person: "This is your story. You can keep it. I have my own story and it's okay to be like that."

Open your eyes again, see how you feel and repeat if necessary.

Hunger point

Tip 5 – Rub the “hunger point”

A great little trick to combat cravings is to press, rub or tap the "groove" between your nose and upper lip, the so-called philtrum, for a few seconds.

About the author:

Petra Schwarz is mother of a daughter, 2 star children and bonus mother of 2 sons.

She has been self-employed as a coach since 2002 and since 2018 she has been working as an anti-diet coach, also online, specifically with women and their weight challenges. She is particularly happy to help mothers who are unhappy about their physical changes in connection with pregnancy and childbirth.

Even more tips for download: stressfrei-leicht.de/fuer-dich

Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash

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