Fertility and pregnancy * Women's health * Weight loss

Celebrity mothers' weight loss after birth puts pressure on mums

Celebrity mothers  weight loss after birth puts pressure on mums Lack of support in post-natal care for tackling obesity

High-profile celebrity mothers such as Myleen Klass who quickly and publicly return to their pre-pregnancy weight are putting pressure on ordinary mums to do the same - despite having very different lifestyles.

A new survey from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and website Netmums has also found that there are critical gaps in antenatal and postnatal care from midwives.

More than 6,000 mothers were questioned during the survey, and the key findings were:

  • Six out of ten mums felt that celebrity culture put more pressure on them to lose their post-pregnancy weight quickly.
  • During their first antenatal appointment, 60 per cent of women said their midwife did not have enough time to discuss their concerns about weight management and nutrition.
  • Over 70 per cent said that the NHS should provide midwife-led antenatal classes to address healthy eating and weight management.
  • Nearly 85 per cent rated the overall care that they received from midwives regarding healthy eating and weight management as "neutral", "poor" or "very poor".

When asked to describe how women felt about their body and weight while they were pregnant, comments ranged from "disgusting!", "elephant-like" and "fat ugly big, embarrassing and felt down", to a few positive and affirming comments, such as "happy and proud" and "I loved my bump".

In fact 40 per cent of the women in the survey considered themselves to be overweight when they became pregnant.

Almost all of the women surveyed said that during pregnancy they did not go to NHS-provided antenatal classes that addressed nutrition and weight management, with over 70 per cent saying that they think the NHS should provide midwife-led antenatal classes to address healthy eating, weight management and obesity.

This supports the RCM's own views that dealing with obesity is one of the top three issues contributing to the increased complexity of maternity cases stretching the midwifery workforce.

RCM General Secretary Cathy Warwick commented: "There is a real need to address the issue of obesity, and this survey shows this is particularly important for women.

"The growing volume of evidence shows that the health of an obese mother is further compromised by the pregnancy and also has an impact on the health of her unborn baby."

This article was published on Mon 15 November 2010

Image © anna - Fotolia.com

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