Like most women, I started my pregnancy wanting to do my best to ensure that my entire gestational experience would be 100% healthy. I vowed to follow all of the rules so my baby would have the most nurturing environment possible.
What nobody tells you is that the rules keep changing. You can’t follow all of them, because many of the rules contradict each other.
This morning, a friend sent me a link to an article about a study on pregnancy weight gain. According to the article, researches have found that women who gain more weight during pregnancy – even if they stay within recommended guidelines – run the risk of having overweight toddlers later on.
So, does this mean pregnant women should strive to gain less weight? Well, um, no. The article also mentions that women who gain too little weight risk having low-birth-weight babies. And if you live in El Paso County, you may have seen the health department’s recent campaign, called “A Healthy Baby is Worth the Weight,” encouraging local women to gain more weight during pregnancy to combat a low-birth-weight epidemic in our area.
Is this making anyone else’s brain hurt?
There also are contradictory studies about caffeine consumption, eating fish and every other recommendation out there. For women who are just trying to do the best they can for their unborn children, it’s enough to make you crazy.
This leads me to a suggestion for another scientific study: Which is more harmful to your baby, gaining a few too many pounds or spending your pregnancy stressed out about all the ways you could already be failing as a mother?
I suspect I already know the answer, at least within my own not-so-scientific study, in which I am the only participant.
According to the results of that study, I should toss all of those articles in my fireplace, relax on the couch and have another cookie.