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That's My Gut, Not My Baby Bump!

For many of us, managing our weight has been a struggle. But now you're pregnant, and if you're anything like me, you might be worried about what your weight could mean for the outcome of your pregnancy. Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. I am a librarian, and the following information was gleaned from the reputable sources listed below the article and my personal physician. All sassy comments are my own.

RELATED: Big Mom, Small Baby

Will my weight harm my baby? Possibly, yes. BMI, or Body Mass Index, is the tool used to determine your health based on height and weight. A BMI of 18.5-24.9 is considered healthy, 25-29.9 is overweight, and anything over 30 is obese. While you may think of yourself as chubby, the results of a BMI test might prove differently, and the risks to you and your baby are too great to ignore:

· Gestational diabetes

· Preeclampsia

· Infection

· Thrombosis

· Obstructive sleep apnea

· Overdue pregnancy

· Labor problems

· C-section

· Pregnancy loss

· Macrosomia (large baby)

· Chronic conditions for your baby like heart disease or diabetes

· Birth defects

As scary as this list is, it doesn't mean these things will happen to you. Many overweight women have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies, but it is very important to not put on too much more weight if you were overweight before becoming pregnant. Doctors usually recommend a weight gain of 15-25 pounds for overweight women, and 11-20 pounds for obese women.

I mean, God, if you really need that doughnut—just eat it. But don't eat a whole box. Ask your doctor about how to eat well if you are overweight and pregnant.

You might be asking yourself questions like, "Will I have a cute belly?" and "When will I start showing?" If you're anything like me, you'll probably just look fat until the end of your pregnancy. As to when you will show, I actually have no idea. My research shows that everyone is different, but a lot of women said around 20-24 weeks. And that cute D-shaped belly thinner women get is probably not in the cards for you. You're getting a B belly. Which is kind of like a double gut. But so what? Your baby is in there, warm and cozy and getting plenty of nutrients from you. It doesn't matter what kind of belly you have—you have a baby. So don't let those basketball bump ladies get you down. Here are some burning questions I had that you may have too:

Where can I buy maternity clothes? Do not go to a regular trendy maternity store. You will get sad and possibly pregnant-lady mad in there. Shop online or at stores that specifically have plus-size clothes where you will feel no fat shame. Old Navy has tons of cheap, somewhat crappy maternity clothes. But at least they have size 16 for your (my) juicy thighs.

How can I cope with feeling like a fat lump and manage all these damn pregnancy hormones? Even if you were comfortable in your skin before pregnancy, it is my experience that pregnancy can make any previous insecurities triple in size—just like your butt. I like to pretend my regular gut is my baby bump and I rub it all day long with love. Because under the fat is my little baby, and that baby needs a mama that loves herself.

OK, I accept that I'm fat and pregnant. Is there anything I can do to make my pregnancy a healthy one? Yes! Do not go on a diet. This is not the time to be restricting calories. But you can (and should) eat a healthy, balanced diet that keeps the treats to a minimum. I mean, God, if you really need that doughnut—just eat it. But don't eat a whole box. Ask your doctor about how to eat well if you are overweight and pregnant.

Take care of yourself, talk to your doctor and don't let anyone (including yourself) make you feel bad about your amazingly beautiful, procreating body.

Exercise. The general rule of thumb for pregnancy is if you were doing it before you got pregnant, you can keep on doing it. But always talk to your doctor about appropriate pregnancy fitness routines. Staying active is one of the best things you can do for your baby. It doesn't have to be marathons though; walking is just fine. Swimming, stationary biking, running on the elliptical, practicing yoga and light weight lifting are all great activities. And I can honestly say, exercising gives me more energy. I'm pretty fatigued from growing this baby, but I manage to get in 30 minutes minimum of cardio four to five days a week, plus walking my dog, and I think it totally helps; although, there is a a very real danger that my ass might explode out of my old workout pants one of these days (which I'm sure everyone at the gym will enjoy).

RELATED: Tips for Managing Your Weight During Pregnancy

When I found myself pregnant again after my miscarriage, I was worried because my weight had gone up considerably from the previous pregnancy and the months of grieving. On top of feeling guilty for not losing weight before I got pregnant, I have to worry that my fatness might kill my baby or give it future diabetes. My doctor assured me that you don't get gestational diabetes just from being overweight and that it can affect thin women too. She told me to watch what I eat, continue with my regular exercise, and that she would most definitely alert me if I started gaining too much weight. In short, she told me not to worry too much and just be as healthy as I can—for my own sake and for the baby.

So to all the fat future mommies out there, to paraphrase Missy Elliot: "Love your baby gut and screw a tummy tuck, shake your butt, like yeah, bitch what!" But seriously, you're making a baby—take care of yourself, talk to your doctor and don't let anyone (including yourself) make you feel bad about your amazingly beautiful, procreating body.

Image via Twenty20/talking_mirror

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