At Southdale ObGyn, we believe that women should have choice and voice when it comes to their healthcare. Some patients say that the scale is the most dreaded part of their healthcare appointments. We want to share that if you want to skip the scale, that’s okay! But, here is why we will still offer it.
Weight, particularly Body Mass Index (BMI), can be risk indicators for certain conditions like type-2 diabetes, heart concerns, and other issues. Additionally, unusual weight fluctuations may indicate health concerns. However, your weight isn’t the whole picture of your health, and some women say that having to get on a scale prevents them from making appointments in the first place.
If you’d prefer not to be weighed, you can decline or ask your healthcare provider to explain if there’s a specific reason they’d like to take your weight. If you are open to being weighed, we will always respect your privacy by not reading the number out loud. You can also let us know that you would rather not be told the reading and have it kept only in your records for the provider’s usage.
Tracking weight gain during pregnancy isn’t just about the numbers on the scale but also about gathering clues about your baby’s growth. Your pre-pregnancy weight will give your doctor a baseline to know how much weight gain is appropriate during pregnancy; underweight and overweight mothers may have an increased risk of various complications. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy may increase the baby’s risk of health complications.
It’s important to remember that many things increase your weight during pregnancy, including your uterus, breasts, placenta, amniotic fluid, increased blood volume, and additional fat stores; plus the baby(ies)! There’s no one-size-fits-all number for appropriate weight gain, so your provider will likely want to keep track of your weight gain as an indicator of overall health.
If you’re a current or former sufferer of an eating disorder, stepping on the scale can feel very triggering. You can decline to be weighed or ask that you not be given the numbers. Your healthcare provider will discuss with you if there are any important reasons for taking your weight at a particular appointment.
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) suggests that 20 million women and 10 million men across America will experience an eating disorder at some point in their lives. Eating disorders are serious but treatable illnesses that can affect anyone. If you’re concerned that you or someone you know has an eating disorder, reach out to your healthcare provider for help. NEDA offers a screening tool to help you determine if it’s time to seek help.
Preventative healthcare is important, and regular exams can help you feel more comfortable over time. If there’s a particular reason you avoid scheduling appointments, talk through that reason with your healthcare provider. Your provider may have alternative options for you. It’s important to be seen, even if you decline certain types of examination. Your healthcare provider is here for you, and we want you to be comfortable—we’re your partner in your healthcare journey.