Thursday, February 18, 2010

Weight Loss at 34 Weeks Pregnancy

The picture above is my corporate boot camp group last week doing our cheer at the end of class. You can see me there on the left side cheering along. I just thought I'd include this to show that the belly is still working hard :) 

The title of my post describes what's been going on with me this last week. Starting last Wednesday (mid week 34), my body weight started to drop. I usually weigh myself every other day (and sometimes every day), and up until that point, I'd been holding steady at the same weight since November (yes, you can see the belly is pretty big, so obviously, the baby is growing).

But, last week, my weight dropped about 3 lbs and held like that for a few days. At first I thought it was great because I was losing body fat. But then, my brain didn't feel it was right. Plus, I'd been kicking my own butt teaching boot camps sometimes 3 times a day, and I was feeling pretty sore and tired. So, with that known, I cut back my intensity a bit. I still make my boot campers work hard, but I'm doing more coaching and less actual demonstrating. This combined with eating a bit more food on high activity days has brought my weight back to where it was previously. It still isn't getting any higher, but at least it's no longer dropping.

Perhaps some women would be ecstatic to lose weight while pregnant, but for me, since I've barely put on any weight (as I've said, I've only put on about 15lbs), I just didn't feel right about losing now that I only have about 5 weeks to go. Knowing that I've been able to maintain pretty much all of my activity throughout this pregnancy has left me with the confidence that I'll be back in the game in no time after I deliver. And that, combined with breastfeeding and a good diet, will help me mold my body back to where I want it to be.

I've heard that with breastfeeding that your body likes to hold onto a bit of body fat no matter what you do. And, for some women, breastfeeding can be so catabolic that they actually lose muscle. No matter what happens in my case, I'm not going to not breastfeed just because there's a slight chance that I'll hold onto a few pounds after I have the baby. Breast milk is best and I refuse to feed my child formula just to look a certain way. The baby will ween soon enough and I'll get my body back at that time, even if it takes a bit longer.

Like I've said, I have about 5 more weeks to go. However, I have a strong feeling that this baby is going to come earlier than my due date because I've been experiencing a lot of contraction-like activity and the wicked low back pain that happens when my uterus does its thing (and it's NO FUN at all!). I'll keep you all posted though. For now, I'm off to teach my second boot camp of the day and because I took a lot of rest yesterday, I'm actually going to do both classes myself too (and they're hard!).

Cheers to a great pregnancy!!


Amy said...

Good for you on the breastfeeding! It is the best way to go, for mom and baby. I nursed my three boys til they were about a year old. With the first one, it was a struggle at the beginning but I am so glad I didn't give up because once you get past the hard part at the beginning, it is so convenient! Also, compared to other kids, my boys have rarely been sick - they have great immune systems! The one thing that really helped me was having a friend who had nursed 5 kids give me advice when I was having a hard time at the beginning: she said when the baby goes "WAAA", nurse him, and that will get your milk going and then things will even out. She was right! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

My wife had the experience of knowing 4 other ladies who gave birth within a week of her. The best she can tell breast feeding normalizes your weight. The two women who were over-fat before pregnancy and breastfed lost fat at an amazing rate for not really exercising (and mostly fat).

The two women who were very thin (one was a dancer) stayed a bit higher than their pre-pregnancy weight no matter how much they tried to lose.

That is just anecdotal. I have also read that breast feeding hormones actively mobilize fat into the blood stream (presumable for delivery to the milk), but it wasn't from a peer review journal. But it did follow the pattern that people with stubborn fat saw more movement than those who had not had it before.

Nicole said...

I am a competitive runner and breastfeeding my almost 20 month old. I finally got down to my prepregnancy weight about a month ago. I love nursing but it certainly did not help me with weight loss!

patty said...

im hopping around fitness blogs tonight... congrats on your preg, and good health.

for me, i kept at least 9 lbs on when breastfeeding, but like you, didn't really worry abou it-hadn't gained a whole lot during the pregnancy, so... the first day my children were fully weaned, i lost 3 lbs of wht i think was water weight. the remain fell off with normal activity and diet.

your body is amazing... it is a conduit for the good health of your baby. i'm sure w your background you now how important that fat in your breastmilk is for the newborn baby's growing body.

enjoy the nursing, enjoy the baby :). wishing you a safe and healthy delivery...

Unknown said...

Hey Cass, as for breastfeeding, it was the best weight loss tool for me! It helps in so many ways, my uterus was back to its normal size in less than 2 weeks... I am also now 15 pounds lighter than I was before I got pregnant (Liam turns 1 in one week). I was also at my pre-pregnancy weight by my 6 week appointment :) I wish you luck with nursing, stick it out and listen to what your body is telling you. You will get a lot of advice from nurses, some might be conflicting, just do what feels right for you!! Can't wait to see pictures!!!

big T said...

Thank you for sharing your journey. I am 30 weeks and still lifting and working out and you are really inspiring me.

Two questions: one, how many calories are you taking in? I'm just curious because you are working out so much and it seems your weight gain is "all baby" as they say!

Also,fat gain during pregnancy is important as it provides a buffer of energy stores that will be used during lactation after the birth. Do you think this is something you will need to plan for, nutritionally? In other words, increase calories during breast feeding because you do not have the fat stores?

Thanks for the info. Keep up the great work and I wish you a wonderful delivery!!!

Cassandra Forsythe said...


As far as calories... I'll be honest in saying I am not tracking, so can't say with certainty. I just eat when I want to and make sure the food is mainly good (even though I've been having potato chip cravings lately... argh!).

If I had to guesstimate, I'd say between 1800 and 2200 calories with lots of protein and fats.

I eat less when I move less and more when I move more.

And for body fat... well, I gained a bunch of body fat at the beginning of this pregnancy and now it's coming off. I've had plenty of feedback from people telling me that I'm definitely leaner now. Then, for breastfeeding, I'd love to lose more body fat, but will keep my calories adequate to ensure I produce enough milk. If I could end up lighter and leaner after pregnancy than I was before, that'd really make my day. I say this because I was about 6-8 lbs and 5% over my ideal body weight and fatness prior to pregnancy due to finishing my PhD prior.

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Anonymous said...

You are an inspiration! I maintained my pre-pregnancy fitness routine throughout my first pregnancy and I felt great as well. You've probably delivered by now but I just want to encourage you to keep it up as long as you can.

Your comments about breastfeeding reflect my experience. No matter what I did, I could not lose the last 3/4" off my waist, and of course my breasts were huge, and I clung to 5 lbs that wouldn't have been there otherwise. BUT, the moment I stopped (at 12 months) I was leaner than I had been since high school. So it was a sweet reward for hanging in there with the nursing. You can do this, too!