Zoe’s Story

I started my pregnancy at 26 stone 9lbs, which is the heaviest I’ve ever been. I’m a big comfort eater, I’m on medication which is known to cause weight gain, and 18 months previously I’d experienced a traumatic miscarriage at 16 weeks pregnant. As soon as I saw that positive test I knew my weight would be an issue during my maternity care.

When I first saw the obstetric consultant at 12 weeks with the baby I went on to lose, she told me “you absolutely must not gain any weight at all during this pregnancy” so I didn’t have high hopes now I was even heavier.

I’m a very anxious person, and went into this pregnancy with the idea that I would refuse to be weighed, but when the time came I didn’t have the confidence to speak up and refuse so went along with it.

Photo by Daiga Ellaby

As in my previous pregnancies, I’m suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum. By the time I met a midwife for my booking in appointment I was 25 stone, meaning I had lost 23lbs within my first 9 weeks of pregnancy due to sickness. I bought this up at the time, but since they had no record of my pre-pregnancy weight it was dismissed.

When I went to my 12 week scan, the sonographer asked me not to sit on the bed as she wasn’t sure it would take my weight, and had to go and ask if I needed a specialist bed bought in which was so humiliating and totally ruined the experience for me – I wanted to leave immediately.

I then met with my consultant, since I’m having a planned c section following an emergency c section with my youngest daughter. The conversation immediately turned to my weight. I explained I know I’m overweight but I’m concerned because I’m losing weight due to HG. His response was “well any weight loss helps” and asked if I’d like to be referred to a nutritionist, which I declined.

I was also told that I would be having regular growth scans from 28 weeks as overweight parents tend to have bigger babies (my daughters were 8lb 8oz and 6lb 4oz, the latter also being an HG pregnancy).

Courtesy of Embracing Mum

I was weighed again at my 20 week scan. I’m now 23 stone 6lbs. I have lost another 22lbs, bringing my total weight loss during this pregnancy to 45lbs, or 3 stone 3lbs. This time I was congratulated for losing so much weight!

I explained again that I have HG and this level of weight loss is actually concerning me, to I was told that it’s reducing my BMI so it’s a positive thing. At this point I asked if they’d be concerned about someone in the ‘normal’ BMI range, they said yes, but didn’t have an answer as to why they’re therefore not concerned about me.

I feel horribly let down by medical professionals who are not acknowledging that this level of weight loss due to sickness is problematic, no matter what size you are. I’ve struggled with my weight most of my life and have quite a difficult relationship with food, having lost lots of weight previously following restrictive diet plans.

I’m not only concerned about my health right now, but the health of my baby, and how I will mentally cope with the idea that sickness related weight loss is positive following birth when I’m no longer being sick and losing weight.

Zoe is a mother and aspiring Doula from Norfolk, UK. Her blog is called Embracing Mum, where she shares little tidbits of her life as she navigates her journey through both. You can find her on Instagram where she posts body positive content and is fighting for change.