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Dads, Battle the Baby Bulge During Your Partner’s Pregnancy

The week of July 20 is Healthy Pregnancy Week at DietsInReview.com.

twin babiesDr. Clint Springer is the father of twin four-year old boys and is currently expecting a daughter in the fall. He is also an Assistant Professor of Biology at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA where he studies the effects of climate change on plants.

Pregnancy not only means changes with your partner’s body, but if you are not careful it may mean some for dad, too. It happened to me when my wife was pregnant for our twins. Prior to the pregnancy I was not in prime shape, I had just completed a doctoral program and made a major life transition from graduate school to my first position that moved us half way across the country. However, after the pregnancy I was thirty pounds heavier than before. I was astounded, I had no idea I was gaining weight between the stresses of a new job and the preparations for the twins’ arrival. 

So what caused this unexpected weight gain? First, I was not active at all and my diet was out of control. For example, when my wife was pregnant she craved cheeseburgers from a fast-food restaurant that was less than a block from our apartment. A few nights a week we would eat there and stop on the way back at the conveniently located ice cream establishment that shared a parking lot with our complex.

Second, I spent very little time thinking about my health and far more time thinking about the well-being of my wife and soon to be born sons. Of course this is a natural thing to do; in fact weight gain during pregnancy for male mammals is a natural process as well. A number of studies report an increase in male mammal weight during their partner’s pregnancy as well as increased levels of testosterone and cortisol.

As I write this, my wife is pregnant again and this time I am doing things differently. I no longer eat what she eats nor do I lead a sedentary lifestyle. Now I keep a food diary and I exercise on a regular basis. Fortunately, these activities are paying dividends. I have lost eight pounds. Trust me, you do not want to be caring for your new baby carrying your own “bun in the oven.” Take control of your health now, it will be much harder after the baby arrives.

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July 23rd, 2009