Nine bags of rice. One baby hippo. A 14-year-old boy. All these weigh about 45kg.
Imagine that on your pregnant body.
Jamie Kaur doesn’t need to. She actually put on that much weight during her pregnancy.
“After my terrible morning sickness subsided during the second trimester, I was giving in to every hunger pang and eating with a vengeance. Think five to six full meals a day, with three full servings each time,” says the 35-year-old.
By the eighth month of her pregnancy, Jamie nearly doubled her original weight of 55kg, tipping the scales at 100kg.
Recounting a particularly funny incident, she says candidly: “One of my friends, who had not seen me for a while, had a huge shock when she saw me during the later part of my pregnancy. She caught a glimpse of me from afar and shouted across the room: ‘Oh, my god, what happened to you?’”
Similarly, Melissa Klyne, 38, ate like crazy after grappling with severe morning sickness during the first two trimesters of her pregnancy. She literally ate for two.
“When I could finally stomach food properly, I was downing a one-litre carton of chocolate milk every day and chomping down two plates of rice each meal,” says the customer service trainer.
Her svelte 58kg figure ballooned to a hefty 83kg, which made simple actions like getting out of the car difficult.
“My husband had to pull me out of the seat because I couldn’t get out on my own. Everyone thought I was pregnant with twins,” she says.
As your baby grows and your body takes on a curvier and more voluptuous silhouette, gaining extra kilos is a given during pregnancy.
Even so, doctors say it’s no excuse to binge. Eating for two during pregnancy is an outdated notion, says obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Christopher Ng of GynaeMD Women’s and Rejuvenation Clinic.
“You should eat as per normal. It’s not the amount of food but the quality that matters,” he says.
The recommended weight gain during pregnancy is 12kg to 16kg, says Dr Tan Wei Ching, a senior consultant at Singapore General Hospital’s (SGH) Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
But if you’re overweight to begin with, you should put on less weight (and vice versa if you’re underweight).
Dr Ng says that, on average, most women put on the bulk of the weight in the second half of the pregnancy. In the first 20 weeks, the gain is only 2kg to 3kg.
For Jamie and Melissa, pregnancy was a time to let loose. It didn’t help that their families kept encouraging them to eat more for Baby’s sake.
“My mum was such a good cook, and my husband was encouraging me to eat more, too. He didn’t mind my weight because he felt it was good for the baby. But that obviously is not true,” says Jamie.
Melissa adds: “Thanks to my really bad bout of morning sickness earlier on, everyone felt so sorry for me. When I could eat, nobody stopped me.”