This week’s Saturday Sidebar Question comes from World Moms Blog writer Maggie Ellison.  She asked our writers,

“Pregnancy/baby weight….where are you with this? What are the social norms about pregnancy/baby weight where you are from?”

Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…

Hamakkomommy of Japan writes:
“In Japan we are told the optimal weight gain is 7kg (~15.4 lbs)! Pregnant women are scolded, shamed, and berated for gaining too much weight. Women are told gaining too much weight will result in difficult labor, and often blamed when their labors are difficult. The flip side of this is that most women are able to lose the weight quickly. The average newborn baby weight here is 3kg (~6.6 lbs).”

Mamma Simona of South Africa writes:
“In South Africa what you get told still varies tremendously according to ethnicity and whether a doctor or a midwife is “in charge”. With my son I gained about 12kg (26.5 lbs) and he weighed 3.6kg (~8 lbs) at birth. With my daughter … I honestly can’t remember how much I gained, but she was a tiny 2.650kg (~5.8lbs) at birth. The woman in the bed next to me delivered a boy who weighed over 5kg (~11 lbs)!”

RoxIsBrilliant of Nevada, USA writes:
“I think the goal in the U.S. is usually 20-30 lbs (~9-13.6 kgs) depending on the woman. Unfortunately, not all doctors inform pregnant women about eating right and taking care of their bodies.

I went overboard during my pregnancy and gained 50 lbs (~22.7 kgs). Take into account the fact that my baby was a preemie, and you can see how unhealthy I was. I was talked down to by my doctor’s nurse for gaining too much weight, but she never talked to me about what should be expected.

I don’t think there is a negative perception of women in the U.S. gaining too much weight, but there certainly are negative reactions when we don’t lose the baby weight quickly enough! (We can’t all be a Hollywood celebrity losing the baby weight after 3 weeks!)”

Jennifer Burden of New Jersey, USA writes:
“I remember being told a weight gain of 30-35 lbs (~13.6-15.9 kgs) is normal by my doctor in the US. I gained about 60 lbs (~27.2 kgs) with my first because I gave myself permission to EAT, and I had a miscarriage just months before getting pregnant again, so I was nervous about exercising or overexerting myself.

Two years after my first birth, I still couldn’t get the weight off. Then I changed the way I ate by adding more whole grains, more fruits and veggies, and exercised somewhat regularly and I lost the weight before I got pregnant with my second. It was tough. I’m sure also contributing to holding on the weight was the life-changing stress of becoming a parent, although I loved every minute, it was a wake-up call to my body!

With my second child the weight came off easier, because I already had the healthier behaviors in place. And, I made more of an effort to get myself out to exercise with the baby, which was great physically and mentally. But, I’ve been there. Getting the weight off is tough, and it often becomes second fiddle to your most important job, taking care of your child!”

Ms. V of South Korea writes:
“Korea is very similar to Japan. I gained 17lbs (~7.75kg) during pregnancy. When we were in the States the midwives were telling me to gain more. When we got here, they told me to eat less!

The average baby here is about 3kg. (~6.6 lbs) Mine… was 3.7kg (~8.1lbs).

Women here lose the weight very quickly, partly because they gain so little and partly because they are pressured to. I actually lost more than I gained, but not on purpose… I think mostly due to the stress from a lack of sleep. (And somehow I’ve completely lost my behind!) I’m looking forward to fitting into my clothes one of these days again.”

Karyn Van Der Zwet of New Zealand writes:
“There is more focus on low-birth weight for the babies than mothers putting on too much weight here. I put on different amounts for each pregnancy, but figured my body needed the extra in order to help produce breast milk. My focus was on the kids for their first years and I didn’t worry about losing weight until they were weaned.

I have another couple of kilos (around 10 pounds) I would like to lose, but know we eat well and as soon as I can get a run of proper sleep and can get to do some proper cardio exercise – it will fall off me again.”

Meredith of Nigeria writes:
“I have only been pregnant once, and I gained 60 pounds (~27.2 kgs) with that pregnancy. Some of it was fluid retention towards the end, but my doctor never said anything to me about the amount I gained. I asked her once if she thought I gained too much and she said that as long as I felt okay, then it was good for me.:)

I never felt like there was a pressure to only gain a certain amount of weight. However, after I had my daughter, who was born right around her due date and weighed 8 lbs 6 oz (~3.8 kgs), I did feel pressure to get the weight off quickly. When you are 60 pounds heavier and pregnant, people don’t seem to “judge” you.  But when you have the baby and are still 55 lbs (~25 kgs) heavier, you start to feel the pressure that you need to get the weight off fast!

I agree with RoxIsBrilliant that not everyone is a celebrity and can lose the weight in three weeks, but running with a double jogger stroller in the July heat in Houston, TX can help you melt the pounds off.  And, thankfully , they all came off within the year.:)”

The Alchemist of India writes:
“Here in India, they encourage women to put on weight during pregnancy and breast feeding. Sadly I gained just 7 kg (~15.4 lbs), but my son was born healthy anyway. I lost all the baby weight almost immediately after birth. When I went for my first post natal check-up, I was back to pre-pregnancy weight. But that is just my metabolism and I can do nothing about it.”

Alison Lee of Malaysia writes:
“In Malaysia, I believe the weight gain for average sized women is about 10-15kg (22-33lbs). With my first pregnancy, I gained 19kg (42 lbs) – oops, but my baby was pretty big, 3.8kg (8lbs 4oz).  In a year however, I lost 25kg (55lbs), though …not intentionally, I didn’t even exercise. With my 2nd, I gained 13.5kg (30lbs) and my baby was smaller than the first, he was 3.28kg (7lbs3oz).

My doctor did have concerns about gestational diabetes with my first when I gained 4kg (nearly 9lbs) between weeks 20-24. Thankfully, I was okay.

Even though my weight gain for both pregnancies was quite different, I was healthy both times. So I think as long as it’s not excessive either way (too little or too much), as long as you’re healthy, it’s okay!”

What about you…where are you with your pregnancy or post-partum weight loss?  

And Happy Father’s Day to all our World Dads out there!!

Don’t forget to visit us tomorrow to check out the travel itinerary for next week.

– World Moms Blog

Photo credit to Joanna Sweeny  This photo has a creative commons attribute license.

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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