What I Wish I Knew About Pregnancy & Obesity

Illustrated by Anna Jay.
When I first Googled obesity and pregnancy, I was just one month pregnant with my first child and only partly prepared for the bad news. The rhetoric was alarming — words like “dangerous complications” and “life-threatening” filled my search results, along with rundowns on risk factors for everything from gestational diabetes to infant mortality. And, at the end of most articles, there was a statement that went something like this: Doctors recommend that obese women thinking about getting pregnant should attempt to lose weight before conceiving.
I remember thinking, Well, too late for that.
The truth is, there is almost nothing in the media available that gives you a good sense of what being obese and pregnant is actually like. There are a few high-profile women, like plus-size model Tess Holliday, who document what a large body goes through during pregnancy on social media and help render women like me less invisible. But, as someone who has been obese and pregnant, there are definitely things I wish I’d known ahead of time that the internet and common knowledge didn’t provide me.
So, I decided to break down some of those things here. Hopefully, this will spare a few women the same Google-induced panic I had to endure.

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