"Who you are is not defined by your looks or weight."
Being plus size can already be a hindrance when having to deal with societal norms and media expectations. Adding a pregnancy to the mix can compound the situation even more, especially with news bulletins constantly telling us that fat people shouldn't bare children or that the risk to the mother and child is too great. In reality, women of all sizes all over the world are delivering healthy babies and are living to tell about it. For decades plus size women have been made to feel scared and guilty because of their weight. Slowly we are getting an influx of pregnancy books that focus on the plus size mother and preparing for her joyful event.
Writer, Brette McWhorter Sember (a plus size mother of two) and Ob-Gyn, Bruce D. Rodgers (a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist), M.D. have teamed up to give pregnant moms (size 14 to supersize) Your Plus-Size Pregnancy which they claim is "your new best friend and primary source for every scrap of vital information you will need to have a spectacular, worry free nine months and a safe, healthy delivery." This statement is a bit of an exaggeration. Further into the introduction it says to read this book as a supplement to your other pregnancy books and I strongly agree. Don't let this be the only pregnancy book you read.
One of the best things about this book has nothing to do with the authors. Scattered throughout are side bars with testimonials from plus size women about their pregnancy and birth experiences both negative and positive although slightly more negative than positive; but still an excellent opportunity to see how plus size women are being treated by medical professionals and could be used as a way to prepare your responses to similar situations.
The most important chapter is "Does My Weight Affect My Pregnancy". It briefly explains pregnancy risks and how to decipher percentages. What's great about this chapter is the section on understanding statistical information from medical studies on weight and pregnancy. It doesn't go into detail on the latest stats but uses an example to explain and most importantly, provide perspective.
There are lots of good nuggets of information like: "If your temperature under your arm is more than 101 degrees after exercising then you're getting too hot." It is also laced with moments of descriptive humor making it a light, easy read.
What bothered me most about Your Plus-Size Pregnancy was the focus seemed to be more on emotional well being than pregnancy and that pending moms have low self esteem regarding your body image and weight. If you're happy in your own skin you can skip chapter 8 all together and save it for a down day. "Most women have body-image issues during pregnancy no matter what their size." While I agree with this statement I think the book spent more time on this issue than anything else. Chapters 8, 10, 11 and 13 are all very similar in their message.
It also assumes pending moms have a permanent partner or some other support from family and friends. Single moms are left without assurance. A chapter on pregnancy for single women without support would have been nice.
Some of the plus size links offered in the back were not so plus size or offered a very limited selection for plus size women if anything above size 16.
As mentioned previously, this should not be your only pregnancy book (options offered in appendix) but it is one pertaining to plus size issues surrounding pregnancy. You will definitely need another pregnancy book for information on the stages of labour and delivery, comfort measures or a glossary of terms. While Your Plus-Size Pregnancy has a few interesting possibilities I would not call it the "ultimate resource". If after you've read all your other pregnancy books you want more, it has been out a few years so you can pick it up pretty cheap.
The 16 Chapters include:
* Loving Who You Are
* Dealing with Your Changing Body
* Working with Your Health Care Provider
* Testing, Testing, 1-2-3: Medical Care and Tests During Pregnancy
* Weighing the Facts: The Truth About Plus-Size Pregnancy Weight Gain
* Staying Healthy
* Does My Weight Affect My Pregnancy
* Feeling Good About Your Body
* Beyond Sacks and Muumuus: Plus Size Maternity Clothes
* Dealing with Self-Esteem and Stress
* Stuff that Holds You Up (Beyond a Good Bra): Finding Support
* Celebrating and Honoring Your Pregnancy
* It's Showtime: Labor and Delivery
* Leaky Watermelons and Sour Milk: Nursing as a Plus Size Mom
* You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet: Life After Birth
Barricade Books, 2005
Purchase Your Plus-Size Pregnancy from Amazon.com.
Purchase Your Plus-Size Pregnancy from Amazon.ca.