If you walk into the office of my OBGYN you will see nothing but tiny pregnant women. If you ask their due dates you will almost fall back in your chair. Women who are six and seven months pregnant sporting a tiny little bump that you would think is brand new.
I remember looking around during my first pregnancy and thinking "I wish I can look like that at six months pregnant". But I guess this is to be expected in a country where even the first lady can rock a bikini while in her 3rd trimester and look great.
While I read about "skinny pregnancy" being a trend in the US, here in France it is a way of life. Maternity clothes are made in Extra Small and sell out quickly. There is actually no secret formula and the women are definitely not starving themselves.
So how do they stay so thin and healthy while pregnant?
1) Eat well, eat fresh
While you can find a fast food restaurant in every corner in the US, they are a hard to come by commodity in France which means women make healthier choices. Most people buy their food fresh each day or at least every few days and even in a country where people can eat their weight in bread, the bread is baked fresh every day and does not come in a plastic bag - meaning there are no added preservatives or conservatives (for all of my francophone readers)!
Most French people walk, everywhere. A crazy concept I know since very little can be done in the US without a car, but here it is a way of life. Mothers walk their kids to school, people walk to work and to the store and it isn't unusual to see people biking to work rather than driving even in the winter.
3) Medical System
There is such a strong social emphasis on prenatal (and postnatal) care that doctors and hospitals take a very active role during pregnancy. From the first appointment my doctor has made it very clear what his expectations are of me and definitely takes the time to explain what is/isn't healthy. There is definitely no "eating for two" mentality but rather about educating what should be eaten to maintain a healthy weight for both mom and baby.
And let's not forge the wonderfully state funded re-education classes that help get your um...muscles back into shape after birth.
4) Life in Moderation
While French women take extra-ordinary care of themselves they also know when too much is too much. You probably won't bat an eye at a pregnant woman enjoying a nice glass of champagne (aperitif) from time to time or indulging in a mousse au chocolate with her caffeinated coffee. Because as in all French culture, it is these small pleasures that make life worth living.
What do you think about skinny pregnancy and this way of life? Do you think it's healthy?