I have been getting lots of people writing in to ask me about my weight before and after pregnancy, gaining weight, and how I have been getting back into shape etc. And I have been finding it absolutely fascinating to see THE EFFECTS OF THREE PREGNANCIES over time, age and lifestyle.
When I was pregnant for the first time, I was 25 years old and 47kgs. I literally ate to my heart’s content. I gave in to any craving for junk food, meat pies, fried noodles, cheese, chocolate.
Surprisingly, I didn’t gain much throughout the pregnancy. But near the end, within a few days, my appetite grew and I suddenly put on 5kgs – and got big purple stretch marks on my tummy. (So big lesson, gradual weight gain ladies!)
In total, I gained about 15kgs (pregnancy was 38 weeks long).
After I gave birth, I breastfed, and the weight instantly melted away. It definitely had something to do with natural metabolism or genetics or SOMETHING, because I wasn’t on a vigorous exercise regime, nor did I go to the gym. However, I was an active mother, going out every day, walking, carrying baby in a sling, and pushing the pram.
The stretch marks faded to a silvery colour over time. A very, very small price to pay for having a baby! I also did a lot of pelvic floor exercises.
When I was pregnant for the second time, I was 27 years old and 45kgs. I had a much healthier lifestyle and diet this time, but I still ate as much as I liked.
Again, I gained 15kgs in total (pregnancy was 38 weeks). And again, the kilos melted away after birth, with hardly any work on my part, and the stretch marks faded to silver. I felt that I was lucky with my genes. Once again, a lot of pelvic floor exercises.
Then it was 4 years between my 2nd and 3rd children. I was not very fit. I got tired easily and had very low stamina. I did do various spurts of exercise and sports, but no regular cardio workouts, or muscle building or toning exercises.
I was slightly concerned that after four years, I still had a small JELLY BELLY – as they call it in post-pregnancy circles. Since I was back at my pre-pregnancy weight, I assumed that jelly belly is due to loss of muscle tone in the abdomen.
Now, I say “slightly concerned” because, I guess if I was VERY concerned, I would have been motivated to do something about it. And the only person in the whole world who would ever noticed was me. Once again, a very small price to pay for the joy of having TWO babies.
With my third pregnancy, I was 30 years old and 45kgs. My lifestyle and diet had never been as healthy. Throughout my pregnancy I did lots of exercise, body stretches, I ate very well, I didn’t over eat, and I practiced a LOT of self-control with my cravings.
I put on 14kgs in total (which was really good, considering I was pregnant for 2 weeks longer this time, and delivered at 40 weeks).
A week after the third birth I was 8kgs over, which is completely normal.
But now, it’s been 3 months since the birth and I’m still 3kgs over. The weight isn’t exactly “melting away” like when I was 25, and the loss of muscle tone is a lot greater, so the jelly belly is obviously a lot bigger.
In addition to all that, I don’t seem to have the same natural reservoir of energy stored up. I’m even more tired, I need more sleep, I get more headaches, and my bones and muscles actually hurt when I use them.
Yes that’s right, I’m over 30! I’m finding it harder to keep myself fit and in shape! Haha how clichéd is that? But it’s the simple truth.
Of course, the “mummy tummy” is very normal. After all, my skin and muscles were stretched out like a balloon for 9 months. If I “let it all hang out” I look 3 months pregnant.
To be completely honest with you and myself, while I LOVE being a mother, I just don’t want to have a “mummy tummy”. And I can see how this will continue to become more of a problem as time goes by. So, I am determined to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, and flatten my tummy somewhat. And I have been inspired by some other mums I know who have done it.
So What to Do?
My husband and I are trying to improve our eating and lifestyle habits.
So we are eating very well – lots of raw vegetables, limiting processed carbohydrates and high-cholesterol meats, sugar and fats. However, our kids need all this stuff for their growing bodies, so they often get a different variation at meal times.
We’re including more exercise into our daily routine. For example, my husband rides his bike to the shops, instead of driving, and I walk the boys to school, pushing my newborn in the pram. This is actually great, because I get to chat with other walk-to-school mums in the park, and it doesn’t seem like work at all.
I’m also researching abdominal exercises specifically for mums, and I discovered a few fascinating facts about the mummy tummy and some simple exercises to help get me started… and I’ll share it all next time around.
Click here to see the whole story of Making Baby 3.