Why You Gain Weight in Your Butt

Baby's got back, indeed! Here's why pregnancy weight can make its way to your butt.
pregnant woman

Sarra Fleur Abou-El-Haj

An old wives' tale says that if your face looks rounder during pregnancy, you're having a girl, but if the cheeks on your backside get bigger, there's a boy in your belly. Although there's absolutely no science to indicate if that's true, there is a sound explanation for why you gain weight in your butt when you've got a bun in the oven.

If you're an average, healthy woman, you can expect to pack on about 30 pounds during pregnancy, says Anita Sadaty, M.D., an ob-gyn based in Great Neck, New York. A lot of that is fluid -- your blood volume increases and you retain water to support your baby -- but a whole seven pounds of that added weight could be attributed to nutrient storage. "As the baby grows in your uterus, your body creates deposits of fat, protein, and other nutrients that will be used to help you make breast milk when the baby arrives," says Kathleen M. Rasmussen, Sc.D., R.D., professor of nutritional sciences at Cornell University and chair of the committee on Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines at the Institute of Medicine.

In other words, your body is putting junk in your trunk -- and that's a good thing. "The rear end is exactly where we want a woman to put on weight," Rasmussen says. "Fat stored there is not visceral, it doesn't end up in hard-to-break-down adipose tissue the way it would in her abdomen, making it much easier to lose after pregnancy."

Those fat stores are necessary to support the growth and development of your baby, but you don?t want to overdo it. It can be dangerous for you and your developing baby if you gain more than the recommended amount for your body type -- in your butt or elsewhere, Rasmussen says. Staying active throughout your pregnancy and doing tush-toning moves can keep your weight gain in check and help firm things up back there, says fitness trainer Andrea Orbeck, who has helped several celebrity clients look great throughout their pregnancies. "No need to spend hours at the gym -- you'll notice a difference if you go for walks and do daily sets of 20 squats and lunges at home," Orbeck says.

It's also good to be realistic about your expanding butt and to give yourself a break. "It takes nine months for your body to put on all that weight, and it can take nine months to a year for you to lose it after the baby is born," Sadaty says. Bottom line: Your body wants to put on weight, and it?s going to store it in the best place it sees fit -- which is why you gain weight in your butt. So try to embrace those sexy pregnancy curves while you've got them -- you can worry about losing that extra junk in the trunk after your little guy gets here.

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Copyright © 2014 Meredith Corporation.

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