Last week, I was flipping through a Star magazine (grocery lines are really slow sometimes!) and there was a spread of celebrity pictures with the headings “NORMAL” and “NOT NORMAL.” Stamped across a picture of pregnant Britney Spears – sporting a very cute little belly – were the words NOT NORMAL. Britney’s six months pregnant and almost “ready to pop”… could her “huge” size be due to twins, an accompanying article hypothesized?

Staring at Britney’s trim little belly – barely big enough to carry a grapefruit, let alone a baby two-thirds of the way to full-term – I wished the Star magazine writers of the world could see me near the end of a pregnancy: with a belly so big that I look like I’m in danger of toppling over onto it at any moment and then, stuck, just lying there, arms and legs waving helplessly in the air.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology states that women, unless they start off overweight or underweight, should gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy. Most pregnant women I know gain on the high end of that range, and not one of them has had a 35-pound baby: in addition to an expanding bust and extra fluids, pregnant bodies like to pack on a little cushion.

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