updated 13 Dec 2011, 10:25
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Tue, Sep 13, 2011
The New Paper
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Very big but not belly happy
by Chai Hung Yin

My pregnant belly has drawn a lot of gasps and remarks from well-intentioned people lately. "Are you popping/bursting/exploding soon?" is the most common question, when in fact, I have two more months to go.

In a routine check-up last week, my baby girl was estimated to weigh 2.1kg - slightly big for a 32-week foetus.

In fact, it is the size of a 33-week-old foetus.

Everyone has been saying my tummy looks big. And when they know I have another two months to go, they gasp. Even strangers in the lift have the same reaction. From the canteen uncle to the cleaning aunty, everyone seemed concerned.

And when I snack in the office, remarks like "you are eating again", "are you having a boy" and "are you having twins" come flying.

Some even liken me to the blimp or a round ball with limbs.

I take it in with a wry sense of humour. But now, after doing this story, I am concerned.

Having gained 12kg so far, with a doctor's warning to watch what I eat, it finally dawned on me that my baby might turn out big. Too big.

How did I end up with a possibly big baby?

As a first-time mother, I am constantly worried that my precious little bundle of joy does not get enough nutrients, based on my first trimester's experience.

Then, I had no appetite - all food made me feel sick. A few times, I threw up everything I ate. Even fatigue helped me to lose weight.

My appetite improved in the second trimester and I ate to make up for lost time.

Even then, I continued to worry about insufficient nutrition for my baby, especially since I've not been eating at regular meal times because of work.

Poor baby has to starve with mummy, I thought.

So, I started grazing - eating small meals throughout the day. Or so I thought. Eventually, I simply ended up snacking in between meals.

I've probably been overdoing it, as a pregnant woman needs only an additional 300 calories a day - equivalent to a slice of bread with butter.

Besides, there's the traditional advice of taking tonic such as home-brewed birds' nest and chicken essence for a strong and healthy baby.

Against my doctor's advice, we brew chicken essence and birds' nest at least twice a month. Sometimes, when I feel really tired, we will even brew red-date tea.

Now, I'm going the other way - worrying whether my baby will be too big.

Especially since I'm petite, although a bit on the plump side, before pregnancy.

Will I be experiencing what all these mothers with big babies have been experiencing?

Will my newborn even fit into clothes and diapers meant for newborns?

Time will tell.

But one thing is sure. No more durians, ice-cream and chocolates for now.

To my little girl, I'm not sure if I'm eating well, but I'm doing my best for the sake of your future.

Keen to see you soon. Love, Mummy.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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