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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Friday, September 15, 2006

My Weight Re-Visited

Yesterday I went back to the gynecologist for another exam and to see if my progesterone shots were doing the job of making sure my baby stayed put. We are happy to report, all is well and I am doing fine with excellent blood pressure I might add. For the past two weeks, the baby has been in a head down position and it looks like he/she is ready to make his/her appearance soon.

I was a bit anxious as I sat in the Doctor’s office yesterday. I wanted to tell him that I thought the dietician was full of sh*t and I did not want to follow her advice (she is a colleague of his) but I instead listed my objections:

1. I felt her analysis of my “ideal weight” 58-60 kilos was unrealistic for my body type.

2. I do not agree with taking pills instead of eating healthy, real food.

3. Her restriction on diary products seemed extreme and just plain wrong.

4. Her goal of having me lose 5 kilos, or 10 pounds during my 8th month of pregnancy seemed impossible and pretty crazy.

He listened to me, and then said the following:

1. Since I began pregnancy I have gained 12 kilos, 26 pounds and he feels that is plenty.

2. He agrees that losing 5 kilos at this stage is hard and I should not try to do it.

3. He thinks taking a calcium pill instead of having some dairy is fine.

4. He hopes that I maintain my weight for the next 8 weeks and not gain any more. I feel guilty about this and do not want to disappoint him but know that is unrealistic for me. (When I hopped on the scale, I had lost .5 kilos or 1 pound from 2 weeks ago.)

Although I like this gynecologist a lot I cannot believe some of the cultural differences Italians and Americans have concerning weight. I know America is fat; it is a fat country. Italy on the other hand is a very visual country but asking healthy pregnant women to gain a maximum of 10 kilos or 20 pounds during the entire course of their pregnancies seems unrealistic. 5-10 pounds here or there does not seem like a big deal to me but in Italy, it is. A friend of mine said her boss gained only 6 kilos during her pregnancy, which is 12 pounds. She is of medium height and medium build, Yikes!

I just re-watched “Super Size Me” last night and was grossed out by the fast food lifestyle. Having said that I feel I make wonderful choices, I do not eat fast food, junk food and I do not drink soda, at all. I cook whole foods, a large variety of many fruits, vegetables and grains. I feel healthy which is what matters to me.

Part of me wishes I were back in the US where I would be praised by my friends, family and doctors for being active, looking healthy and eating right. Here I am chastised, critized and made to feel like I am harming my body and my baby.

***NOTE: I want to thank everyone for their supportive comments. It is hard when everyone around you thinks differently than you do and you do not receive much support. I knew I could count on my expat friends and blog friends to lend a helpful ear.

***NOTE #2: I do not understand why drinking 3-5 espresso shots a day, tanning until you look like an expensive alligator purse, driving without seatbelts/car seats (esp. for kids), riding a bike without a helmet are all okay. However, if you gain 5-10 pounds extra during your pregnancy, you are a thought of as a criminal.

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At 5:54 AM, Anonymous J.Doe said...

In regards to your note #2, it is OK to do all those things even while pregnant, (at least the 3 Espresso's according to my OB/GYN in Italy when I was pregnant).
I still think judging by your pictures that you look fine-not fat at all for being 8 months pregnant and certainly not obese.
I'm glad everything is fine with the baby and the BP. This is what is important.

At 6:04 AM, Blogger Ebony and Ivory said...

Good for you Gia! You stuck to your guns and you are doing well. When you have your healthy baby you should go pay a visit to that dietician and show her that evrything and everyone is fine!

At 6:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Gina:

I am 5'5" and normally weigh about 120. When pregnant with my daughter I gained 35 pounds and with my son 50 pounds. I was enormous and my babies were teeny (6 pounds 7 ounces for the girl and 5 pounds 8 ounces for the boy). As a side note, I weighed 120 within 6 months of having both of the children. I believe that some people use pregnancy as an excuse to go hog wild with their diet - (gosh, doesn't food taste good when you're pregnant?!) - but that if you're diligent about healthy eating then you should listen to your internal regulator -- your body tells you what the baby needs. With my girl it was bing cherries (pounds of them) and with my boy it was meat!

I have also noted that everyone has an opinion about 'what's best for the mama' - whether it's weight gain, sleeping, or breast feeding. Listen to what your heart and body are telling you. Also Gina, I have noticed in some of your posts that you've been worrying about your weight even before the retarded dietician gave you the list of things to do while pregnant (coffee while pregnant - 3 espresso's per day?? Fake sugar? Pills instead of milk? LOSING WEIGHT?!) Chill out and enjoy the final month - you'll look back and ask yourself why you spent that wonderful time fretting about your weight.

Take care, Dr. J.

At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoy these last months being pregnant and think about your baby. Sounds like the doc needs his head examined ;} !

Best wishes!

Arizona minivanmomma of 3 kiddos


At 12:55 PM, Blogger Tina said...

It's good to see you've got a head on your shoulders and can stick to your personal values, despite what a quack dietician says. Brava! :-)

They'll have to hold their tongues when they see how beautiful and healthy your baby turns out to be. :-)

At 4:47 AM, Anonymous Laurie said...


need any of us say more????? Glad you are listening! Baci!

At 5:03 AM, Blogger avery said...

I completely agree with you Gina. I think it's insane to tell an 8 month pregnant woman that she needs to lose weight. I had gained 3 kilos by my 3rd month and my Italian doctor told me I had to really be careful with what I eat and 3 kilos was too much too fast but because there were other complications he didn't push it too far. I lost the baby at 4 months but I am absolutely certain that if it was a healthy pregnancy he would have given me a good lecture about the "dangers" of gaining weight when you're pregnant. I know my doctor in the U.S. would have had a different view of things. In my opinion, I think you should listen to your body and what it is telling you, not those crazy Italian dieticians.
You seem perfectly healthy and I know your baby will be healthy as well.
Here's to a happy, healthy and sane last month of pregnancy! I'm so excited for you :)

At 5:18 AM, Blogger Ms Adventures in Italy said...

Gia, you know yourself and they are full of it!!! I am outraged for you and I hope that you just learn to smile and nod and then go do what the F you want. :) Hope to see you soon, girl.

At 2:22 PM, Blogger miss cupcake said...

Hi Gia,

I can identify with Note 2 here in Argentina. Good on you for sticking to your guns.

Just remember you are absolutely fine as you are, you're just in a different culture, that is all. I miscarried (week 8) a few weeks ago and the doctor advised I do nothing and wait for natural miscarriage (in the US or Australia I would have been scheduled to have a d&c immediately) Here, I'm privately insured with a good cover yet they do nothing.

I've been waiting for weeks for "it" to happen naturally to no avail. I'm now inspired to go back to my doctor this week and demand a d&c. To hell with culture, sometimes one needs to rely on one's own judgement.

Good luck on the birth; make sure they don't do what you don't want them to do. In Buenos Aires, an average child birth, even the first, take a couple of hours, max. because everyone (unless you specifically say no) is injected to induce the birthing process. It is all a little crazy but that's "culture".

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

You rock -- you are a healthy, beautiful woman, and only you can know what is best for you and for your little sprog. :) Wow, if I had a doctor jumping down my throat whenever I put on 5-10 extra pounds, I'd go crazy. And I'm not even pregnant!

At 7:54 AM, Anonymous Michelle said...

I believe that every physician has a different set of guidelines based on their training and personal opinions. With that said, you are healthy and happy and look great to me, so it seems that you are doing what is best for your baby. Try not to worry. Like you, I tend to think it would be odd to diet during pregnancy. Portion control is good for everyone, but cutting out altogether certain items (dairy), especially during pregnancy, seems contraindicated to me. Do what feels right to you, because it is your body and your baby. You are healthy, and have been eating well. When I was pregnant with my children, I tried to simply eat balanced meals and not snack. Gaining weight with pregnancy is inevitable, but everyone is different, so it's difficult to say what someone should or should not do based on other's experiences.



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