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Fit Pregnancy cover model Kate Dillon (February/March 2011) said flexibility came in handy as she approached her due date (Dec. 14, 2010). "I'm going for as natural a delivery as possible," Dillon said in an interview during her 37th week. "My doctor and I have a pact that if my labor is progressing well, she won't give me an epidural, even if I ask for one. But if it's taking a long time, she will-and I'm thinking I'll be fine either way. I'm not emotionally invested in what happens."
Dillon, 36, may be best known as a highly successful plus-size Ford Model; she appeared on an episode in season three of America’s Next Top Model to talk to the contestants about body image. Did pregnancy have any effect—positive or negative—on her own body image? “It’s funny, I feel really good. I’ve gained plenty of weight, 37 pounds, but I’m fine with it,” she says. “I’ve kept very active, which I think has helped a lot.
“And I’ve loved feeling curvier,” Dillon adds. “I didn’t gain weight until about 15 weeks, but my hips got wider, which made my waist look smaller. On the other hand, yesterday I noticed cellulite on the front of my thighs! The front!”
In addition to speaking out about body image, Dillon is passionate about women’s and girls’ empowerment issues. A year ago, she co-founded The Komera Project, which provides scholarships for seventh- to 12th-grade girls in a tiny Rwandan village. “We started small,” she says, “just enough to engage the community in the value of educating these girls, who in turn become engines for social and economic gains.”
Here’s the entire interview:
Fit Pregnancy: How are you feeling?
Kate Dillon: I feel really huge! But I actually have felt so great, until just recently. It’s hard to just put on a pair of shoes—if I could only bend over! I am full of baby.
And looking back I can say I was lucky, I got pregnant easily and didn’t have any complications with getting pregnant. But I was sick the first trimester and bedridden for six weeks; the second was marginally better; and then I started to feel like myself again at around 28 weeks. I could eat, I wasn’t so tired, I could cook for my husband again. So 28 weeks to 37 weeks were fabulous.
FP: Do you like being pregnant?
Dillon: I think if I’m being totally honest, it’s really challenging for me. I don’t consider myself a weak person, but I have such renewed respect for women all over the world who do [this] without a fraction of the support I had. It is a heroic thing to do gracefully, I have not been so graceful. But now it’s really exciting.
FP: What kind of birth are you planning?
Dillon: I’ll be in hospital, but I’m going for as natural a delivery as possible, hoping I won’t have to be induced, but if I go past 41 weeks, my doctor says she will induce. Seems reasonable for my first time. And I’m open. My doctor and I have a pact that if my labor is progressing well, she won’t give me an epidural, even if I ask for one. But if it’s taking a long time, she will—and I’m thinking I’ll be fine either way, even if I get a C-section. I’m not emotionally invested in what happens.
I did not hire a doula, and now I’m totally regretting it. But my husband, Gabe [Levin], was adamant that it just be him and me in the delivery room. He’s really nurturing.