Nutrition During Pregnancy – Working with Overweight Mothers

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One of our students (now an alumnus) shared some insightful perspectives a couple of months back on how to help mothers who struggle with weight gain during pregnancy. This was in response to an assignment on nutrition from the childbirth course.

Below is the response to the course assignment:

I… was part of a study Kaiser Permanente did called “Healthy Moms” when I was pregnant with my third child. It was for obese women in pregnancy. (I was 34 BMI) I was part of the group that went to weekly meetings and weigh ins. I learned a lot of tips and tricks to help maintain weight, lose weight or even gain moderately. Many of the things you asked us to do in the 4 days are things we did during the study.

Day 1) (4) Try eating one meal a week mindfully, alone and in silence. Be creative.

For example, could you eat lunch behind a closed office door, or even alonein our car? I thought it was weird to listen to the chewing. That is really what I felt throughout this exercise. The deeper thing I thought of was that I can actually feel my body digesting when I actually pay attention. In the study we are taught to keep multitasking and eating to an absolute minimum and to let eating be its own event.

Day 2) I actually have been cutting the amount I usually eat in about half for about 2 weeks. When I eat, I eat the amount I put on my plate, when I am done I am usually still hungry. So I sit there and do something else (like an assignment) and once I feel full I get up and put my plate away. It takes a few minutes, but throughout the process I ask how full I am and then tell myself that the hungry feeling will go away. Outside of this, I don’t usually eat a bunch of garbage, since the study helped me to have a better diet, but I have always struggled with the amount I eat. This is very effective.

Day 3) I tried (as embarrassed as I am to admit I had never tried it) a date. I was surprised to find that I liked it. I will definitely add more dates into my diet.

Day 4) Cravings are something else I have been working on. I tend to crave soda. I know soda is gross and bad, but yet once a day I crave it. I haven’t had it in 3 days and I know if I had it my body would feel awesome, but I stay away since it’s bad. I don’t like any other liquid other than water. My body feels great when I have more water.

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  1. Jessica Atkins
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    Being doula for overweight mothers can be surprising in a number of ways for doulas; There exists a prejudice against overweight mothers and assumptions about health are common amongst health care providers. There can be non evidenced based care and interventions that don’t seem to match the circumstances of the woman’s labor experience. I have seen a lot of inductions with prostaglandins and pitocin as well as cytotec and subsequent early call for cesarean section – that seemed to be based solely on the weight of the mother instead of her general pregnancy health or that of the baby’s. It can be a confusing and frustrating experience to see such unfair treatment of overweight mothers as a doula.

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