Calling All People With Opinions: I Need Your Insights

Most people when they go on vacation bring home something that reminds them of where they visited – a refrigerator magnet, shot glass or a “My parents went to Chincoteague Island and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” shirt.

My daughter, a history major studying for her master’s degree and a die-hard Jane Austen fan, is driving home from Minnesota as I write this. What did she buy on her summer vacation? “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” I can only imagine what she’ll buy in New York City next week. Maybe “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters”?

This is apropos of nothing and has nothing to do with today’s blog necessarily. But she told me about it as I was engrossed in research for my book (which is part of this blog entry) and it made me laugh.

Today’s blog is actually not a blog but an inquiry. I’m researching information on two subjects, one of which I will address today and the other in a blog later this week.

For the first subject, I’m curious about your insights – either personal experience or a global, intellectual perspective – on weight gain during pregnancy and subsequently weight loss post-partum.

Today, women are being told how much to gain based on their pre-pregnancy weight and BMI. Underweight women should gain 28-40; normal weight, 25-35; overweight, 15-25; and obese, at least 15.

When I was pregnant with my kids back in early ‘80s, I was overweight (between 165 and 180 both times) and told I should gain 30 pounds. I gained that 30 along with an additional 10 and more of its friends.

In the months and years that followed, I struggled with that “baby weight.” Even if I’d gotten to my pre-baby weight, I would still have been overweight. Fifteen years after having my kids, I still complained of my “baby weight.” And I wasn’t alone. Over the years I’ve heard many friends and relatives complain how difficult it is to take off the baby weight, and most never do.

When my mom got pregnant each time (there are five of us), she was either underweight or normal weight and gained no more than 20 pounds. A few weeks after delivery, you couldn’t tell she had a baby. I see photos of other mothers from the 1940s through the 1960s holding their weeks-old babies and they, too, don’t look like they just had a baby.

I know the medical establishment in the early and mid-20th century didn’t encourage women to gain much weight during pregnancy for many reasons. Also, the average weight of a woman at that time was 20 pounds less than today. Food wasn’t as complicated or as readily available then, either.

So my questions are:

What is it that makes it harder to lose weight after having a baby now as opposed to 30+ years ago or is this just an illusion?

Is the fact that more women enter pregnancy overweight or obese now than before play a roll?

What is your experience with pregnancy weight? Did you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight within six months of having the baby?

Feel free to email me at or leave a comment here with your thoughts. I appreciate your help. I need more than just my own experience to understand the subject better. Thank you!

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