I’ve been hearing that a lot in my pregnancy. Which is a compliment, and nice to hear. Certainly better than, “Wow, you sure you’re not having twins?” I know that I’ve been gaining a healthy amount of weight in the pregnancy, and that things are going fine. So I’m comfortable and happy with how I look. The only person who thinks I look big is my mom- a couple weeks ago, she commented on how big my abdomen was getting. She wondered if she got that big with me and my brother. I have no doubt that she was bigger at term than I was two weeks ago. It’s just easy to forget when it’s been over 30 years. And I think she’s just so used to seeing my normal non-pregnant body, that it seems like such a huge change now.
The other day, I was saw a woman walking way ahead of me down the hall in the hospital, and noticed the uncomfortable waddle. As I scurried past her, sure enough there was a pregnant belly attached to her front. I thought to myself how relieved I was that I can still walk just fine, with no significant discomfort. I think it has helped that I haven’t gained excess weight, though of course many women have pregnancy-related pain despite normal weight gain.
I do find, though, that even the seemingly innocuous comments from people about pregnant women’s size can cause worry in my patients. Every so often, a patient will tell me that people have been commenting on how small she looks, and that she’s worried her baby is too small. I reassure her that her fundal height (the measurement from her pubic bone to the top of her uterus) is normal, and therefore there’s nothing to worry about. Ultimately, everyone carries differently.
And on the other hand, if people make comments in the other direction, that of course will make women self-conscious as well. Hopefully most people aren’t insensitive enough to purposely make a comment that a pregnant woman looks big, but perhaps it can happen inadvertently. Maybe they volunteer how far along they think the woman is, and it ends up being way off.
For me, I don’t mind that people tell me I look small for my gestational age. I won’t lie- it’s nice to hear. It’s the equivalent of any woman being told she looks thin. But the fact is, comments in either direction can make women worry. So hopefully people are mindful of that. And also, it helps for the pregnant woman herself to try not to worry about comments so much. Ultimately, her doctor will let her know if there’s anything to worry about with the baby possibly growing too small, or if the patient is gaining excess weight.