Does This Baby Make Me Look Fat?

Jennifer Wolff Perrine, SELF magazine

Cutting calories. Diet pills. Cleansing. In a survey by SELF and, half of pregnant women confess to disordered eating and body hate. Will you be one of them?

Related: 20 Superfoods for Weight Loss

Nearly half of women polled use disordered eating to control weight while preggers.
- Eat only certain foods: 49% of the disordered eaters do this. Pregnant women need to avoid some foods for safety reasons, but experts warn against doing so to control your weight.
- Restrict calories: 21% Although it's important not to gain an unhealthy amount of weight, you shouldn't ever try to lose during pregnancy, the March of Dimes says.
- Exercise too much: 4% Pregnant women should get 30 minutes or aerobic exercise most days. But this minority takes it to extremes, risking metabolic effects or injuries that could harm the baby.
- Use diet pills or laxatives: 3% No one should do this, period. To be safe, pregnant women should get the nod from a doc before taking any meds, over-the-counter or prescription.
- Purge: 2% Bulimia during pregnancy raises the mom's risk for gestational diabetes, heart problems, a cesarean section and postpartum depression.
- Fast or cleanse: 1% Fasting is never OK for a growing baby, or her mother, says Anna Maria Siega-Riz, Ph.D.

Related: Shed Pounds Without Starving

Large percentages of women say that "pregnancy made me more insecure."
- 68% of thin women: Only 5 perfect of thin women say pregnancy raised their body confidence; 28 percent say it stayed the same.
- 61% of normal-weight women: Although 11 percent of normal-weight women got a body-image benefit from pregnancy, and 28 percent felt no change, most still say they lost confidence.
- 46% of women with a history of eating disorders: Women with current or past eating disorders felt marked pressure to gain less weight than other pregnant women.
- 45% of slightly overweight women: Slightly overweight women were most likely (at 20 percent) to say pregnancy gave them more body love; 35 percent felt no difference.
- 30% of obese women: Big women felt confidence in their baby body. But, perhaps with heightened health risks on their mind, they also worried about weight gain and felt pressure to control it.

Related: Yoga Moves for Flat Abs

What you gain should depend on how much you weight now. The Institute of Medicine outlines what's ideal.
- 28-40 lbs for thin women: In our poll, 35 percent of thin women gained less than this, and 38 percent gained more.

- 25-35 lbs for normal-weight women: Got twins on board? If you start out at a healthy weight, the IOM says you can up that to 37 to 54 pounds healthfully.
- 15-25 lbs for overweight women: Only 39 percent of slightly overweight women surveyed were able to keep their gain under the limit.
- 11-20 lbs for obese women: More than half of obese women polled exceeded the 20-pound limit. Yet a mere 13 percent of obese women had docs who told them they were gaining too much.

More from SELF:
5 Simple Steps to Cellulite-Free Skin
3 CrossFit Total-Body Workouts
50 Healthiest Snacks
6 Secrets to Firing Up Your Metabolism