Depressed about Weight Gain during Pregnancy?

Written by: Ankita Kathad– MA (Psychology)

Last updated date : September 24, 2022

Table of Contents Article title – Body image concerns
  1. Chapter 1
  2. Chapter 2
  3. Chapter 3
  4. Chapter 4
  5. Chapter 5
  6. Chapter 6
  7. Chapter 7
  8. Chapter 8

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Many women experience discomfort over weight gain during pregnancy. Weight gain is a common as well as a natural when a woman is expecting. The extra weight supports baby’s growth. While it is entirely normal to gain a few extra pounds as a part of the pregnancy, some women may feel depressed about the weight gain. This article explores how many women end up feeling sad due to the extra fat during pregnancy. In this article, we look at how pregnant women can reduce such feelings about their bodies.

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Chapter 1:

Pregnancy, Cravings, Overeating, and Weight Gain!

Pregnancy is a period of irresistible cravings. An extra cup of ice cream before bedtime, having multiple cups of coffee in the morning to beat the sleeplessness, having those cheesy french fries or that chocolate pie. Pregnancy serves as an excuse for all unhealthy eating habits. While indulgence is justified, all of this can add to the increasing weight.

While weight gain is certainly a part of a normal pregnancy, many women can become overweight due to the cravings. Some amount of weight is expected because the body is supporting another life inside. The mother consumes extra nutrition for the baby and for herself. The extra pounds help the mother carry her baby well. An average of twenty to thirty pounds gained during pregnancy is normal.

However, this visible feature of pregnancy can be scary for many women. This weight gain can make them sad and depressed. They may start losing confidence as they notice that none of their clothes fit them anymore. This is because fat is often linked with being ugly. Therefore women who gain weight, think that they don’t look good anymore.

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Chapter 2:

Depression about Weight Gain

Some women gain more weight than others. For some, there can hardly be any difference in weight. However, feeling sad about the extra kilos is due to many factors. The very first time a woman starts noticing her weight is when her clothes don’t fit her anymore.

When a woman is expecting, many changes happen to her body. A lot of hormones come into the picture. There can be worries about the new journey as a mother. She experiences various emotions during this time. The biggest worry is that the shape of her body will change and not come back to normal. The anxiety makes her crave food however, the extra calories keep showing up on her skin. This can lead to a lot of insecurities.

In general, due to societal norms, women are required to look a certain way. This is why an expecting mother fears the weight gain. She fears not being able to shed the extra weight post child birth. What if her body remains fat forever? Or what if her spouse stops loving her? These questions can depress her. Moreover, she can fear whether she will look attractive or not to her partner. These are the common concerns why weight gain can lead to sadness in women.

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Chapter 3:

How Can Depression about Weight Gain Affect Women?

An expected mother’s mental state can affect the growth of her fetus. If she is going through sadness, she may not look after her health properly. This can affect her baby. If a woman is feeling fat and is depressed about it, she will stop eating to cut down the extra calories. This can also affect the growing fetus. Moreover, she may skip her extra nutrients needed for her and the baby’s health. A depressed mother may not feel motivated to move around. This lack of activity can also lead to more weight gain.

A depressed mother can feel negative about the way she looks. She can worry if her body will ever be the same after the baby. She may get annoyed by minor physical discomforts. There is a worry about how others perceive her. Moreover, this worry can show up in her work performance. If a woman is constantly worried about how she looks, she may not be able to give her best at the workplace. This can lead to backlash from boss or colleagues. 

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Chapter 4:

Tips to Manage Depression about Weight Gain during Pregnancy

During pregnancy, the majority of women gain 11.5 to 16 kg. During the first trimester, they gain 1 to 2 kilograms, and for the remainder of the pregnancy, they gain 0.5 kilograms per week. Their situation will determine how much weight they gain.

When some women become pregnant, they are already overweight. Some pregnant women put on too much weight too quickly. In either case, a pregnant woman shouldn’t strive to reduce weight or go on a diet while carrying a child. Focusing on healthy eating and exercise is preferable. The mother and the unborn child may experience issues if the woman doesn’t gain enough weight while pregnant.

If you are worried about the extra weight, you can speak to your doctor about weight management. Seeing a therapist for low mood and depression can also help in managing the mood swings during pregnancy. Here are some simple tips that can be useful.

Schedule

When you are expecting a baby, things can feel all over the place. A good way to get hold of the chaos is to establish a routine. It is very normal to have midnight cravings, however, maintain a proper meal time and take enough rest. Try to sleep at the same time every day. When the body is not rested enough, the meal routine is affected too. Therefore try to maintain a schedule.

Healthy Choices

Try eating healthy meals which do not contain unhealthy fats and sugar. Avoid oily and fried food. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. Try wholegrain bread and eat home-cooked meals. Avoid eating fast food. Try to stay away from packaged food or the ones that contain artificial sweeteners. A healthy lifestyle helps a woman if she is feeling fat during pregnancy.

Exercise

Light to moderate exercise is safe during pregnancy. Especially for those who are depressed about the weight gain. This helps the woman to burn extra calories. It also helps to keep the mood happy. Walking and swimming are also safe exercises. Moreover, this helps to reduce soreness in the feet and keeps the body active and prepared for the later trimesters and labor. If someone is feeling fat during pregnancy, exercises can help them gain confidence and assure them that they are burning the extra fat.

Manage Body Image Issues during Pregnancy

Feeling depressed about weight gain during pregnancy is a part of body image issues. Just like in an eating disorder, a woman can’t help but binge eats her favorite food and later feel guilty and depressed about the extra kilos. However, during pregnancy, the cravings are due to hormonal changes in the body and are not related to mental conditions. Many women embrace the new body while many can end up feeling miserable. A lot of perception about one’s body is related to body image. Often people have negative perceptions about one’s body. This is why even a few extra kilos can affect them.

Managing body image, therefore, involves loving one’s own body. This means that a person feels confident in their skin. They don’t worry about what others think of them. Remember that gaining weight is necessary for a healthy pregnancy. After childbirth, the additional weight will drop off. The best ways to guarantee a healthy pregnancy and baby are a healthy diet and regular exercise. Positive body image helps in reducing negative feelings about body fat during pregnancy.

One can maintain a self-love diary with positive affirmations for self. Joining a support group of mothers and women who are expecting can be helpful. Join a meditation class or pursue a hobby in your free time. When the mind is busy, there is less scope for feeling fat during pregnancy.

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Chapter 5:

Endnote

Feeling depressed about weight gain during pregnancy can be distressing. It affects the relationship of the mother with herself and the baby. Some women may end up blaming the baby for the gains. Moreover, when weight is not lost post-baby, it can lead to more anxiety and sadness. This can lead to a cycle of binge-eating and depression. While it is common to feel upset about becoming fat. Feeling depressed about weight gain during pregnancy should be taken seriously. It can also reduce a woman’s self-esteem. At Epsychonline, there are self-help courses to address issues of binge eating and low self-esteem. Several articles elaborate 

Reviews 4.1

Learn evidence-based scientific ways to fix body image issues.

70 Lessons

6 hours

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

€9.00 €12.00

25% discount