Bits of ME
I was fidgeting to get into my favourite grey slim jeans embellished in my name, ‘PRECIOUS’ at the back. Ohh my, it was a tangle!
As my enlarged hips struggled unsuccessfully to travel down into the tight jeans, I was raging; eager not to accept the reality (new me).
I angrily floored them and wishfully picked another pair. Forcefully wriggled my lower body, and after about ten minutes, draped in sweat, I managed a deep sigh!
It didn’t last: as I noticed, the high-waist jeans couldn’t button up. I just burst into tears!
This cycle of ‘child bearing trial’ is one I hadn’t signed up for; it was my first.
I was only two months pregnant!
A hill of clothes lay on the floor. I had been at this for hours. I had suffered enough! Guilt was hovering (why even the guilt in first place) and voices were ringing in my head: ‘what did I expect, it’s not about me, it’s about the human being growing inside me. I thought I was doing enough to stay motivated but ALAS!
No gossip, sibling or friend talk had prepared me enough for this weight gain. I wailed flapping my arms.
Five months in and every part of my body had puffed; underarms, breasts, fingers, the cheeks and neck. My sister Liz says she always feels her tongue growing in size in the process.
By the end of the first trimester, my Pundonor Magazine petite tops, tees, slimmer sleeves and blouses were a misfit. My wardrobe change was at least my own scratch.
I was PREGNANT. Was I expected to remain slim?
BITS OF YOU
The conflict of weight gain during pregnancy should not cancel out the outcome (gift of a baby).
Genuine discomfort of weight gain during pregnancy should not be punctuated as ‘women complaints’
Nutritional expert Dr. Paul Kasenene says the area to fortify most for expectant mothers is-physical outlook.
This is because it stimulates self-esteem and healthy relationships such that, “comments about weight in the past can lead to psychologically challenging pregnancies due to its reality….and wounding exclamations from surrounding community.
‘Reassure a pregnant mother
Dr. Tom Ssekungu says husbands should “avoid remarks about weight gain or other pregnancy related conditions but rather remind them of ‘unbending love and admiration”.
That should be an iceberg that should later melt with more in terms of “offering more sex during pregnancy, taking care to learn better less cumbersome styles that do not affect the big size of mother…. considering the fact that sometimes deep penetration during pregnancy is not good.
Dr. Ssekungu emphasises antenatal care visits to go beyond medical wellbeing to address the psychological demons.
He said: “Discuss the expected body changes that occur during pregnancy, try to help them [women] accept the weight for the sake of healthy babies.”
Some mothers starve not to gain weight, others wrongly fear weight gain is associated with bigger babies that are not easily delivered naturally.
There is this loud myth too ‘that expectant mothers should eat whatever they want since they are eating for two people.’
This is a catalyst for unnecessary weight gain, says Dr. Kasenene.
The prize for any pregnancy is the unborn baby meaning, “NO WEIGHT CHOICE SHOULD COMPROMISE THE UNBORN BABY.”
The right balance for protecting fetal growth and weight management is by eating the right type, but not, less food.
Dr. Paul Kasenene’s food guide to deal with weight gain during pregnancy
Foods to eat more of in pregnancy
- Vegetables especially green leafy vegetables like spinach and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli , cabbage and cauliflower
- Fruits of different colours
- Nuts and seeds
- Legumes like beans and peas
- Whole grains like whole grain bread, oats, whole maize, other whole grain cereals
- High fiber starch like sweet potatoes, matooke, pumpkin, gonja, carrots
- Healthy animal foods in moderation like local eggs, local chicken and healthy fish
- In moderation dairy products like yoghurt (less milk)
A routine balanced diet should include a wide range of whole natural and unrefined foods with very little processed and refined foods. Drink more water and have less drinks that have sugar.
Foods to avoid during pregnancy include:
- Refined table sugar and drinks that have a lot of sugar like soda
- Processed meats like sausages and bacon
- Too many refined grains like refined wheat foods such cake, biscuits and even chapatti
- Deep fried foods like fried chips and mandazi
- Alcohol and coffee
Foods to reduce but not necessarily avoid
- Red meat – beef, goat, mutton and pork.
- Cow’s milk