The Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council just issued new, stricter guidelines on pregnancy weight gain, but up to 20% of women don't gain enough weight, and some of them suffer from what one blogger calls "pregorexia."
Maggie Baumann [pictured, with her two daughters] writes,
[F]or me, pregnancy was a nine-month battle in which I lived in a dissociated state from my body — horrified by my expanding "self" that protested every ounce of weight I gained.
I did not experience the freedom to eat for two; rather, I experienced the restriction of starving for two.
Disgusted by her (normal) weight gain of 33 lbs. in her first pregnancy, Baumann overexercised and restricted her eating during her second. As a result she only gained 18 lbs., experienced uterine bleeding and nearly miscarried. when her daughter was born, she suffered seizures, and later developed ADD — a doctor said poor prenatal nutrition could have been one cause of these problems.
Baumann says her eating disorder was triggered not by "thin celebrities," but likely by guilt over a previous abortion. Still, her experience highlights the problem with focusing too much on maternal weight gain. Everyone wants mothers and babies to be healthy, but gaining too little weight can be just as big a problem as gaining too much. Doctors recommendations need to be balanced to avoid adding to the huge stack of things pregnant women are already supposed to worry about, and — this part has been said before, but it can't be said enough — those of us who aren't doctors need to refrain from judging women on how much weight they gain.