Feeling Depressed About Weight Gain During Pregnancy?

If you are feeling depressed about weight gain during pregnancy and the months after giving birth, you are certainly not alone.

feeling depressed about weight gain during pregnancy

First of all, remember that weight gain during pregnancy is perfectly normal, as your body is busy creating a whole new person. Be proud of what your body is doing! A pregnant body is a beautiful thing.

As long as your doctor is happy with what the scales say, try to relax and enjoy the experience while it lasts. And if all else fails and you still feel depressed about the weight you are gaining during pregnancy – remember, it’s only a short time in your life.

However, while weight gain is healthy and normal – excessive weight gain is not.

Obesity on the Rise

Excessive weight gain is becoming increasingly common – according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2009), approximately 37% of Australian adults are overweight, and an additional 24% are obese.

This growing problem is largely due to our mostly sedentary lifestyles, lack of physical activity, and easy access to pre-packaged, high-energy foods (often with little nutritional value).

Statistics show that in Australian women over the age of 18

  •  31% are overweight;
  • 23.6% are obese;
  • and 34% of pregnant women are either overweight or obese, with a BMI (Body Mass Index) over 25.      

Weight Gain during Pregnancy

The experiences of pregnancy and birth bring huge changes to a woman’s life, both physically and psychologically, raising the risk of a a woman gaining excessive weight.

And it is not just in the more affluent western nations; according to the World Health Organisation, excessive weight gain during pregnancy is also increasing in developing countries. It is becoming a global problem.

Problems Associated with Excessive Weight Gain During Pregnancy

According to a number of studies, women who gain too much weight during pregnancy also increase the risk of obesity postnatally, for both themselves and their children. One in five women retain at least 5kg of their pregnancy weight, from 6 to 18 months after the birth. This weight retention was a strong predictor of the woman being overweight or obese, more than ten years later.

Obesity (a BMI over 30) has been found to be associated with major physical, psychological, social comorbidities and economic consequences.

Excessive weight gain during pregnancy (or at any time) can have a serious impact on health and quality of life, as it increases the likelihood of serious cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Other less serious health problems which may develop include sleep apnea, respiratory problems, gallstones, osteoarthritis, skin and skeletal disorders, and reproductive problems for women.

Unfortunately, weight-based prejudice and discrimination of the obese does occur in areas such as employment, healthcare, education, the media and interpersonal relationships, often leading to the psychological effect of leaving the individual feeling depressed.

Preventing Postnatal Depression

Feeling depressed about weight gain during pregnancy is only one of the potential psychological impacts; obesity may also result in postnatal depression, anxiety, stress, poor body image and low self esteem.

These are just some of the reasons why it is important to manage your weight even throughout your pregnancy.

But if you are struggling in this area, again, you are not alone. By seeing a psychologist with experience in this area, you can receive support and guidance around your dietary intake, exercise regime and lifestyle choices, and your emotional and psychological wellbeing.

Cassandra Gist Psychologist BrisbaneAuthor: Cassandra Gist, BPsych (Hons), MPsych, MAPS.

Brisbane Psychologist Cassandra Gist has a Masters in Health Psychology, and is able to treat clients aged from two years old right through to adulthood. She is experienced in working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, as well as children and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder.

To make an appointment with Brisbane Psychologist Cassandra Gist, try Online Booking – Loganholme. Alternatively, you can call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.