Mommyrexia: Avoiding Pregnancy Weight Gain

  • Remember you're acting as host to a baby
  • Watch what and how you eat
  • Stay hydrated
  • Scale exercise back for your baby
  • Be honest with your midwife or doctor. Request special care for the added risks involved. Ask to work with a nutritionist that specializes in eating disorders.
  • Seek professional counseling and assistance from family and friends if you're struggling to cope with your changing shape

"Most importantly, don't go it alone! Get the help you need for both you and your baby. Even if you feel it is not out of hand and you can manage it, still get some help!" encourages Kimberly Tessmer, RD, LD. "As you go through your pregnancy and gain weight (the average pregnant woman should gain between 25 and 35 pounds to have a healthy child) there may be more issues that surface that you are not ready to deal with. With proper care, you can overcome your eating disorder and have a healthy child."

The Celebrity Factor

Do super-slim celebrities such as Rachel Zoe, Bethenny Frankel and Victoria Beckham influence new mothers and mothers-to-be? Do they persuade other moms to go to extreme lengths to fight any excess weight gain caused by carrying a child? Apparently so! Maternity labels are producing smaller sizes while new mommy boot camps are multiplying across the country.

Christina chimes in, "I know that seeing celebrities barely change physically and after the birth be fitting into sizes I only dream of is very hard. Why are they so different than the average woman? And why does media insist on telling me that so and so is back into her size 2 dress two weeks after giving birth? That seems to perpetuate the thought if they can do it, so can I." She continues, "I know most of them deal with disordered eating and have trainers, Spanx, and nannies but that doesn't ever seem to be brought up. And my mind always seems to push those facts to the back."

Christina hits on a very important truth. We encourage you to remember that often those celebrities showcasing their flat abs and skintight wear just weeks after giving birth aren't the norm nor should they be! Along with the full-time help with both baby and home, personal trainers centered more on achieving a "look" versus a healthy mom, and chefs at their disposal, many are battling their own eating disorder demons.

Our final words of wisdom: Stay focused on being healthy -- for you and your baby. Seek support from family, friends, and within group settings, both online and off. Don't be afraid to reach out for professional advice from physicians, nutritionists, and other experts! Finally, embrace your ever-changing pregnant body. You ARE beautiful inside and out.

Have you suffered with mommyrexia? Share your thoughts!

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Over the last 17 years, it has been my great pleasure to interview some of the most regarded female elite athletes in the world on the topic of training, motherhood and pregnancy.

I have built a career on training and guiding pregnant athletes (sometimes talking them off the "I just ate two pounds of fudge" ledge") and, in fact, will be speaking to the International Olympic Committee in London this summer.

But I also work with everyday moms as well and can tell you there are two mindsets to pregnancy and fitness.

The "elite" athlete (this can include an everyday mom who is a devoted exerciser -- an Olympian at heart) understands that pregnancy is a temporary state. This is NOT the time to count calories, to worry about weight gain (in acceptable terms) and whether or not she will be bikini ready months after giving birth.

This worry drives me crazy! Because we have become so accustomed to the Hollywood mom bikini ready a week after birth ... we think this is normal. Uh, it's not. Hello airbrushing, on-call trainers and nutritionists and staged photos!

The true athlete embraces this time as a new kind of training. Five-time gold medalist Angel Martino (swimming) said it best. When she became pregnant, she said, "This is my new Gold medal training plan ... for my baby!"

The weight will come back off. Your body will be better, stronger than ever before. The list of Olympic mothers who came back to win the Gold is long and noble!

As a trainer, my most frustrating (and dangerous) pregnant clients are the ones "determined" not too gain too much weight or worry endlessly about what they are going to look like post-baby.

They tend to not listen. They tend to develop habits that are unhealthy for the baby and themselves. The hard reality is that you will gain what you need to gain. In my first pregnancy, I gained 60 pounds. I sat on my couch, ate, watched TV and worried about child birth. My second pregnancy, I was on the US women's bobsled team and working out harder than most non-pregnant women. I gained 58 pounds. My third pregnancy, I was teaching kickboxing and earned my second black belt. I gained 50-something pounds. (I stopped caring).

This story mirrors many of the Olympic athletes I have spoken to. However, your training during pregnancy (and it must be cleared with your doctor and be wise/safe) will help you get back into training after you have your baby and are ready to work out again.

Accepting Angel Martino's theory of the "Gold Medal Baby Plan," is the best plan you can have. Eat healthy. Get good sleep. Train safely for you and bay and let life take you where it takes you .... A stress free, happy mom makes for a stress free, happy AND HEALTHIER pregnancy and baby!

Hello moms and moms to be :)

I am on my 8th gestational week - baby seems to be fine and I feel I am fine but one big worry related to this article: I am terrified of the body changes. I never had an eating disorder but I am a light eater and very conscious of my body and weight. I have been an athlete all my life so having a lean body was never an issue and now that I need the weight to produce a healthy baby, I struggle with the thought of not going back ''to what it was'' after this little one comes out.
I am doing pre-natal yoga twice a week and will not go any further with physical exercise before my 12th week - personal decision - what can I do after to keep myself fit without any danger to my baby (and myself, of course). Any gals with experience out there?
It is my first and I just found out not long ago so it all a big question mark at the moment. Thank you all in advance,