Daddy's Pride

  • Featured Guest

    Since my wife is the one who is pregnant and she is a physician, I tend to use her as a resource to answer my never ending questions about pregnancy. I have invited her to share some thoughts about weight gain for couples during pregnancy, and I hope you enjoy her guest appearance.

    **************************************************************************************

    A lot of men experience sympathetic symptoms during their partner’s pregnancy. My husband asked me why he started to feel more tired and lost weight during my first trimester, and later noticed he gained back the weight. He was wondering if it was inevitable if he was going to continue to gain weight. My simple answer is “No.” However, let me try and explain some theories I have. I theorize he was probably more tired during the first trimester of my pregnancy because I was waking up to go the bathroom 2-3 times a night. And to be honest, I was not as quiet as a church mouse. Being pregnant and having a history of being a clutz, I was extra careful to turn on all the lights, so that I would not fall while making my journey to the bathroom. This inevitably resulted in him waking up and asking me how I was doing, going to the bathroom, or getting a glass of water to drink. I suspect these interruptions to his usual restful slumber increased his fatigue during that period of my pregnancy. As for why he lost weight during my first trimester….I was extremely nauseated during my first trimester and developed an aversion for meat. The two of us who are usually meat and seafood lovers, became completely vegetarian for 3 months as the site, smell, and taste of meat disgusted me. I also developed “evening sickness”, instead of “morning sickness” which made the task of eating dinner an ordeal. My portions for dinner became minuscule. Therefore, dinner, which is usually our biggest meal of the day, dwindled in size. Most people are conditioned to eat in company and take seconds if their meal partners are indulging. Since I was eating less, he was eating less….and therefore we both lost weight. Once, my nausea subsided and we entered the second trimester, my appetite for meat and seafood returned as did our weight back to normal. So will my husband continue to gain weight? I do not think this is inevitable. Is it possible? Yes, it is possible….as we have observed many couples around us gaining weight together during pregnancy. However, while it is healthy for the women to gain weight during pregnancy, this is not true for the men. I believe men most likely gain sympathetic weight because people love eating together, and if a woman is eating more…her male partner is more than happy to give her company in the food fest.

    Some strategies for men not to gain weight should be not to finish what their wives do not eat and try to avoid eating when they are not hungry (even if their partner is having an extra snack). If your wife orders more than her appetite can take at a restaurant, let her pack it up and take it home. Husbands can also avoid gaining weight by being supportive and encouraging their wives to be active so that they do not adapt a sedentary life together. Now that I addressed weight gain in men during pregnancy. Let’s turn the conversation over to the touchy topic of weight gain in pregnancy for women.

    So your wife is gaining weight. Yes, she knows it…no need to point it out. Different women will carry their weight in different ways. If you want to stay out of the dog house…do not compare your wife to other pregnant women. Everyone is an individual. But I know most men are still curious about what to expect about their wives’ changing bodies. So how much weight should you expect your wife to gain? This is where my physician hat comes in…. a woman who is a healthy weight before pregnancy (meaning a BMI of 19-24.9kg/m2), should expect to gain 25-35 pounds during her pregnancy. Pregnant woman do not require extra calories during their first trimester, require approximately 300 calories extra during their second trimester, and slightly more than 300 calories during their third trimester. To put this in perspective, a cup of skim milk is approximately 80 calories. Remember your wife is not eating for 2 people her size. Do not force her to eat when she is not hungry, and do not push fatty or sugary foods on her. She does not need it. Encouraging your wife to maintain a healthy diet should help you maintain a healthy diet also. In addition, pregnant woman do not need to sit still. They will not break and the baby will not fall out if they continue to do a moderate exercise routine. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists(ACOG) recommends that pregnant women be active or exercise 30 minutes most days of the week. They can walk, cycle, or swim. Of course, have your wife consult her OB/GYN before starting a work out program, but for most women it will be safe. Working out with your wife can be a good way of helping to maintain your health as a couple and improve her mood, energy, decrease her backaches, and improve her sleep. Remember a “happy wife makes a happy life”. For more information about nutrition, weight expectations, and exercise during pregnancy I suggest looking at the ACOG website: www.acog.org/publications/patient.education/

  • ← Next Post Previous Post →
  • Leave a comment