31 December 2008

Forget the altar, the key to catching a man is pregnancy

If your male partner is involved in your pregnancy, according to a new study, he is more likely to hang around following the birth and better bonded to the baby three years on.

Interestingly, the study suggests that marital status is not necessarily a factor in the results. "It is the decision that couples make to strengthen commitment and move in together that is important, rather than marital status per se," lead researcher Natasha J. Cabrera, of the University of Maryland in College Park, said in a university statement.

Source: Journal of Marriage and Family, December 2008.

Closing the baby factory?

According to Ok!, Angelina Jolie aka the human baby factory is risking her life if she plans to have another baby within the year.

"Her previous pregnancies ended with emergency caesarean secions," an insider tells OK!. "She's been told that, at the least, she should not get pregnant for a year after her last deliver, and it would be safer if she did not get pregnant, ever."

I'm not sure this is necessarily a bad thing. How many kids does she have now? Six? How on earth can you possibly give each child the attention that they need when you have to do a head count on a daily basis to make sure all of your brood is in tow?

Source: http://www.okmagazine.com/news/view/11022

Another bouncing baby Palin

Alongside his uncles Track and Trigg, newborn Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston was born to Bristol (Sarah Palin's 18 year old daughter) and Levi, her boyfriend of three years yesterday. As a high school drop out, Palin caused quite a stir during the election campaign for not only being a pregnant teen but for also being unmarried. The drama hasn't stopped for the young couple, however. Levi's mother was recently arrested on felony drug charges.

I don't know what bothers me more, naming a baby Tripp or the fact that he's a Republican.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/9q3szc

30 December 2008

Heelarious? I don't think so.

Yeah. I nearly choked on the vestiges of my mum's xmas biscuits when I saw these 'Heelarious' HIGH HEELS for baby girls. The style above are described thus:

"Your little one will look fabulous in these soft crib shoes designed to look like high heels! Each pair of heelarious heels is packaged in a darling purse-shaped gift box, complete with a rhinestone closure. Pink patent heel with zebra satin lining for infants size 0-6 months."

Uh huh. Okay so we have already firmly established that the idea of pregnant women wearing stilettos is basically ridiculous. In fact, stilettos are pretty ridiculous for any woman with any aspiration to actually walk. And now we are looking at baby's first high heels. As if it wasn't bad enough that 11 year old girls know how to put on makeup more skillfully than most adult women or that Miley Cyrus, at 15, has a 22 yr old boyfriend and posts racy photos of herself on MySpace. The innocence of childhood for young girls (if it ever even existed) has well and truly been lost.

Although wearing makeup and high heels have become rites of passage for young Western women, let's leave our baby girls alone. Babyhood, the last relic of 'innocence' and vulnerability, and until now, has been a rare time when girls don't have to worry about sucking in their stomachs, wearing jeans that are too tight or prancing around in shoes that pinch their feet.

Heelarious? I'm not laughing. Are you?

Source: http://heelarious.com/ava.php

28 December 2008

Hey Facebook breastfeeding is NOT obscene

For those of you rockin' mums who not only breastfeed but who also happen to have a profile on Facebook you are probably abreast (pun intended) of the current status of breastfeeding photos on the networking site: they are not allowed, considered 'obscene' and pornographic. Images of areolas apparently are too racy for the standards of the website and so they have systematically deleted photos of women breastfeeding and in some cases has deleted accounts altogether. Considering users continue to post photos of themselves in various states of undress, many of which are not deleted, the idea that breastfeeding is pornographic is so antiquated it feels like this argument is so five years ago. If Angelina Jolie can appear on the cover of a magazine with her boobs out and everyone thinks it's beautiful, why on earth would it be inappropriate for everyday mums to celebrate their powers of lactation??

What can you do?

1) Join the FB group 'Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene' (65,000 mums have already joined)

2) Participate in a virtual nurse-in hosted by posting a photo of yourself or any woman lactating to remind Facebook administrators that breastfeeding is legal and appropriate in public and should also be allowed on the website.

Read more:

27 December 2008

Hold on to your jobs ladies.

If you are pregnant in Australia, beware: a new government report reveals appalling holes in the job protections supposedly afforded to women taking maternity leave. Pat McDonough, a co-author of the report called A Pregnant Pause, said a "'culture of antagonism' towards pregnant women workers and women on maternity leave is alive and well". In the economic downturn, these women workers would be more vulnerable than ever. "They're a soft touch," she said, "especially women on maternity leave who are out of sight."

Although Australian women have had job protection following maternity leave for 30 years, half of the women surveyed had nevertheless lost their jobs, were offered inferior positions or part-time work.

McDonogh sums it up quite nicely: "Everyone thinks the laws will protect them but in lots of cases the law means squat."

Source: http://tinyurl.com/8n6b3d

A Jungle Book Christmas

Pete and Ashlee have posted a first photo of their new baby on Wentz's website. Surprising that Ashlee is still talking to him after a week's worth of embarrassment and blabbermouthing.

Sources: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20249106,00.html

Avoid caesars with vitamin D

According to a new study from the Boston University School of Medicine, women who have a deficiency of vitamin D are four times as likely to have a caesarean birth. The authors of the study think that vitamin D deficiency has an effect on muscle strength which may contribute to difficulties giving birth.

"At the turn of the 20th century, women commonly died in childbirth due to 'rachitic pelvis,' " write Anne Merewood, MPH, IBCLC, from Boston University School of Medicine in Massachusetts, and colleagues. "Although rickets virtually disappeared with the discovery of the hormone 'vitamin' D, recent reports suggest vitamin D deficiency is widespread in industrialized nations. Poor muscular performance is an established symptom of vitamin D deficiency, [and] the current US caesarean birth rate is at an all-time high of 30.2%."


26 December 2008

Prepregnancy body image counts!

A new study out of Temple University tracking 1500 women has found that prepregnancy body image influences the amount of weight gained during pregnancy.

Women with misperceptions about their prepregnancy weight are thought to be more likely to gain excessive weight while pregnant. The researchers argue that overweight women who thought they were at a 'normal' weight prepregnancy are at the most risk of gaining too much during pregnancy (nearly 8x more likely to gain too much weight). Women of 'normal' weight who thought they were overweight before pregnancy are also, however, at risk of gaining too much.

Source: http://uk.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUKTRE4BM4MS20081223

Wentz sour on breastmilk

Leave it to Pete Wentz to warm your heart on Christmas.

After talking about his sexual escapades with recently pregnant wife Ashlee Simpson, today Wentz described tasting his wife's breastmilk as "soury and weird". He went on to tell Sirius Satellite Radio, "The baby loves it, it's the only thing he's had a chance to have."

Ya think?

Source: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=7&entry_id=33953

23 December 2008

Gestational paintings...

Following on from a week when a woman gives birth to her 18th child, I thought I had seen it all. Apparently not. A British woman will have her pregnancy immortalised on mantle pieces forever with a nativity scene painted on her belly and sent to her friends and family on a holiday card.

Hallmark here we come.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/9dzn4t

Follow celebrity parenting styles in new book

As if People magazine hadn't elevated celebrity motherhood to a new stratosphere of cultural importance, a new book slated for release in March 2009 claims to provide its readers with the inside secrets of Hollywood pregnancy. Entitled The Black Book of Hollywood Pregnancy Secrets, the authors interviewed a number of celeb mums including Angelina Jolie, Kate Hudson,Tina Fey and Katie Holmes about 'real' celebrity motherhood (whatever that is). While the thought of having an even closer look inside the uteruses of America's most famous mothers (and considering my book about celeb pregnancy will be much better....*hiss*!), I did find one great tidbit from Helena Bonham Carter, 42, an actress known more for her sartorial mishaps than her stellar parenting skills. Upon being chastised by a stranger for drinking coffee she said to the man:

"You try nine months of gestation and self-abnegation before you start censoring my diet. Your mother was probably on vodka, and do you have three heads?"

Sources: http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7013492495

Vindication for fat?

I've spent a lot of time on this blog attempting to highlight the discrimination and resounding medical bias against obese pregnant women. A new Scottish study perhaps vindicates overweight pregnant women who have been denied access to IVF without losing weight prior to treatment. According to the study, maternal age is a more important factor than weight when it comes to the success of the procedure. Dr Abha Maheshwari, clinical lecturer in reproductive medicine at the University of Aberdeen, said they had expected costs to be higher in overweight and obese women. "Everybody should be encouraged to lose weight, but treatment shouldn't be declined on weight alone." Although there are still significant risks associated with maternal obesity (obese women have more miscarriages than women of average weight), some doctors argue that fertility drugs can help to overcome the negative effects of obesity on fertility.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7790561.stm

21 December 2008

Stripping off aint no thang

I think I'm now officially sick of Kate Winslett. Sorry, call me cynical but I get really annoyed with the suggestion that when women have babies somehow they don't care about how they look anymore, as if bodies are no longer important. As a celebrity, I would think that Winslett would be inordinately body obsessed. After all, she has said a number of times in the media that the way she looks is important and that she is frustrated with emphasis placed on weight in Hollywood. She told The Sun:

“It’s never nudity for the sake of nudity. But the physical act of taking my clothes off on film, in a roomful of people? That gets easier because I’m used to it.

“And after you’ve had kids and you’ve been in that delivery ward, frankly, goodbye vanity, goodbye self-consciousness!”

I don't know. Maybe I'm totally wrong here. Does birth make you less self-conscious?

Source: http://www.entertainmentandshowbiz.com/kate-winslet-kate-winslet-thanks-pregnancy-for-making-stripping-off-onscreen-comfy-200812217245

20 December 2008

And baby makes 18...

The Duggars of Arkansas have just welcomed their 18th child and mum Michelle is already thinking about their 19th..but they have run out of 'J' names..

My ovaries hurt looking at this photo.

Source: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20247340,00.html

Pregnancy = career suicide?

Poor Lindsay Davenport. Following the happy news of a second pregnancy, the sports media has gone into overdrive claiming that by 'pulling out' of the upcoming Australian Open, the American tennis star's career is ultimately over.

Considering Davenport and many other female athletes like Paula Radcliffe and Jana Rawlinson have taken their careers to new heights following pregnancy and motherhood, it seems unbelievable that such antiquated views of the 'ravages of motherhood' continue to inflect mainstream representations of female sporting heroes.

If anything, at the young age of 32, Davenport will be a proud mother of two and continue her legacy as an American tennis great.

Who says that pregnancy has to be career suicide?

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/SPORT/12/18/tennis.davenport/

A December rant

For those of you that have been sad for my lack of posting this month, I apologise. I was in LA again last week being interviewed for a Candadian documentary about celebrity motherhood and then in San Fran taking a much needed holiday. Whereas I used to be somewhat in awe of Hollywood, even an up close and personal encounter with Keifer Sutherland outside of my hotel (the Hollywood Roosevelt), couldn't snap me out of my current celebrity malaise. Hollywood has become Hollyweird. Although celebrity gossip still makes me wiggle a little bit, I think my views on motherhood have gotten a little more radical in the last year and Ive become much less willing to accept tabloids/blogs that are so sickeningly praiseworthy and reverential of Hollywood mothers that actually do manage to spend time with their kids. I think the whole celebrity motherhood machine is ultimately destructive and often I feel like I'm the only one who thinks this considering most mainstream publications have a close and personal relationship with certain celebrity mums because Hollywood pregnancy has become the bread and butter for tabs like Us and People that depend on the good will of celebs for revenue in an industry that is ultimately dying thanks to the Internet.

So what does this mean? Well nothing really. I'm continuing on with the blog and a book this year but I guess I'm looking to take this blog in new directions for 2009. I want more personal content from readers and hopefully manage to be less reliant on the mainstream media for stories.

Anyway, that's my rant. Any thoughts? Is anyone else as annoyed with Hollywood as I am at the moment?

18 December 2008

Kelly Rutherford still breastfeeding *shock*

Us Weekly is currently freaking out that Gossip Girl star, Kelly Rutherford has brazenly admitted to continuing to breastfeed her 2 year old son Hermes (um, is your son a handbag?)

"It's an amazing bond with your child," says the Gossip Girl star, 40. "Some cultures do it up to five years, normally. I thought, 'Well, I'll just do it as long as it feels right for my son. I was thinner after my pregnancy than before, and I think a lot of it was the nursing. They say it helps your body get back to shape in a natural way."

Go for it, girl.

Source: http://www.usmagazine.com/news/kelly-rutherford-still-breastfeeding-2-year-old-son

Ashlee: Wentz you gonna leave him?

Sometimes people dont know when to shut the %&$# up.

Take Pete Wentz for example. His lovely new wife Ashlee Simpson has just given birth to their first child. So how does he repay her?

He goes on Howard Stern and tells the world of satellite radio about their first sexual encounter, her pregnancy weight (150 lbs), her pre and post-pregnancy bra size (C to D cup) and his passing thoughts of having a threesome with her sister Jessica.

Way to be lame!

Source: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/tvguide/392598_tvgif17.html

Kickbee or kick me?

As I always say, I have seen the future and it is not good. Called the Kickbee pregnancy belt, some enterprising American PhD student has created a belt that tracks foetal movement through electric currents and then transfers the data via Bluetooth and posted directly to Twitter with a message like 'I kicked mummy at 6 am'. So basically this is a way to introduce foetuses to the virtual world before they are even born. Future versions will update Facebook pages. Virtual babies making virtual contact.

I'm waiting for the iPhone application.

Source: http://www.gearlog.com/2008/12/kickbee_pregnancy_belt_starts.php

29 November 2008

Fat mothers, no more?

Looks like the days of 'eating for two' are well and truly over. Obesity during pregnancy is public enemy #1 in the eyes of biomedicine.

In Chicago (where I currently am blogging), Northwestern University's School of Medicine is opening a centre focusing exclusively on 'treating' and researching obesity, especially in pregnancy.

According to recent statistics, in 2007, almost half of the women who gave birth at Northwestern Memorial's Prentice Women's Hospital (where I was born!) were categorized as overweight, meaning they had a body-mass index between 25 and 29.9 before pregnancy. An additional 12 percent had a BMI of 30 or greater, the definition of obesity.

In Melbourne, it is suggested that more than 30 obese women are presenting at hospitals every month which is a huge increase over the last five years. At least 35% of pregnant patients are now considered to be obese. Doctors are saying that overweight pregnant women are "posing serious challenges" as it becomes increasingly difficult to monitor foetuses on ultrasound machines and monitor their heart rates. On a more practical level, medical staff complain that the hospital does not even have appropriate trolleys to transport pregnant women who weigh more than 150kg. As a result of the reportedly 'huge' rise in overweight mothers, Australian obstetricians are suggesting that obese women should have their weight vigiliantly monitored throughout pregnancy.

Unsurprisingly, overweight women are now being encouraged to seek out gastric band surgery prior to falling pregnant as a means of avoiding the 'risks' associated with obesity during pregnancy.

So rather than providing services for overweight women to learn about sensible weight loss, they are being encouraged to look to a surgical solution. This comes from the same band of obstetricians who continually lament the high rates of caesarean sections throughout the developed world (many of which are attributed to obesity in pregnancy). Surely, there has to be a better way to lower high rates of surgical birth associated with obesity other than asking obese women to have surgery to lose weight.


Debra Messing: on her post-baby body

In a candid interview with Shape, Debra Messing has admitted that all of the tabloid hype around her pregnancy weight gain (18 kg) in 2004 made her pretty depressed. Unlike other celebs who seem to drop their baby weight before the kid even has a name, Messing says:

"On one page it showed all the actresses who got skinny in six weeks or less (after giving birth), and on the other page was me! I was so depressed and frustrated. I was exhausted! I couldn't work out three hours a day and do my job as a mother and an actress. So I took the pressure off. I cut back on seeing the trainer but started eating healthier. Ultimately I'm very proud of how I dropped the weight because I think it was the healthy approach. I've finally taken ownership of my body."

I'm back. Did you miss me?

Hello all. I bet you thought I had given up on you. I havent. I've just been taking a bit of a blogging holiday since submitting the old dissertation. I needed to have a bit of a rest from the grind of celebrity pregnancy so now I'm back and ready for a new season of blogging goodness.

Here is the latest:

I'll be blogging from the US for the next month as I'll be doing a bit of work in Chicago and working on a documentary about celebrity motherhood in LA over the next few weeks.

I've decided that the blog is going to take a new direction.......drum roll please...........

The Baby Bump Project will now be accepting submissions from guest bloggers.

If you have a way with words, a keen interest in celebrity, pregnancy, body image or motherhood, you are welcome to pitch your ideas or send in a sample post (about 200-500 words). Not only will you develop a public writing profile, I can offer you the possibility of becoming a permanent contributor to the site.

I am also looking for interns (perfect for undergrad students in media/gender/women's studies) who want experience and a chance to do research. Tell me in 500 words or less why you want to be a part of the Baby Bump Project: not only will you be working on one of the most popular pregnancy blogs on the net, you will have the chance to work as a research assistant as I work on my forthcoming book.

Send all submissions/queries to babybumpproject[at]yahoo.com.au

05 November 2008

The future of waterbirth?

We may have seen the future of waterbirth...but is it good?

"... the mother will enjoy the spacious service area, a height adjustable birthing seat, a raised seat for wading, an attachable seat for her companion, a swing-out grab bar for hanging, and programmable massaging jets for her back. Moreover, this tub features a waterfall simulation to entertain the mother. A gentle lighting system is also integrated."

Is this a birth pool or a hot tub? Where are the cup holders? More importantly, when is the pool party?

As for the 'waterfall simulation', I think pushing a big baby out of a much smaller opening is entertainment enough...

Source: http://tinyurl.com/6nuwqe

03 November 2008

Pregnant with contradictions

Ahhh. The joys of post-thesis bliss.

Moving right along. You would think that scientists could make up their minds. 3 new reports suggest that:

1) light drinking during pregnancy could benefit the baby: mothers who have a drink every so often are more relaxed and therefore, have babies with better cognitive and emotional outcomes

2) caffeine intake of more than 200mg per day (about one small latte) leads to low birthweight babies.

3) gaining 'too much' weight (over 40 lbs) leads to big babies (over 9 lbs).

Can somebody please make up their mind?

Sources: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,445532,00.html

31 October 2008

Celebrity envy

Tori Spelling has revealed that she looked to Jessica Alba for inspiration to lose the weight after the birth of her second child, Stella.

She says, "I would look at pictures of myself and compare them to Jessica Alba, who had her baby two days before me. I'd see photos of her two months after and go, 'Look at her!'"

She adds, "The best way to lose weight is to make it a family affair. It has changed my life. It's easier now because I'm not as focused on it. Take your time. If you get obsessed, you'll miss out on great moments with your children.”


28 October 2008

Saggy boobs? Don't blame breastfeeding

Some of you will pleased to know, a study has just been published in Aesthetic Surgery Journal that debunks the very widely held perception that breastfeeding causes saggy boobs. Well, it doesn't. The authors argue that greater age, higher BMI, greater number of pregnancies, larger pre-pregnancy bra cup size and history of smoking were significant risk factors in the development of sagging breasts.

Considering complaints of saggy breasts are one of the most common reasons for undergoing plastic surgery post-birth, it looks like women will have to blame their saggy boobs on something other than childbearing.

And yes, I did take that photo in Thailand. In fact, I probably know a little bit too much about breast implants as a result.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/5m9br3

Fertility police

As if the entire process to undergo IVF wasn't hard enough already, according to new legislation in Victoria, women seeking IVF will have to undergo CRIMINAL CHECKS in order to receive treatment. On top of the already long process of medical examinations and screening women have to undergo to receive treatment, the new bill would 'would deny people access to treatment if a conviction for sexual, serious violent offence had been recorded or if the person had a child protection order made against them.'

I thought it was particularly horrible when lesbians were being denied IVF without medical documentation of infertility. Now, all Australian women are going to be subject to what amounts to a criminal background check when they are already feeling pretty vulnerable. What is really astounding is that Australians with a criminal record are procreating willy nilly and no one seems to care because they can do it 'naturally'.

The Victorian police have no business or right to interfere with Australian wombs.

Source: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,24562002-2862,00.html

26 October 2008

Jenna Jameson: baby bump

Oh yeah. Remember I mentioned that porn queen Jenna Jameson is pregnant? In the spirit of Minnie Driver and the informal baby/preggo photo, Jameson has posted her preggo belly on her MySpace page.

Source: www.myspace.com/jennajameson

Closing a chapter

Yeah. I'm freaking out a little bit. As of today, I've done the final copy edit on my PhD thesis. As you all know, pregnancy, baby bumps and body image have consumed my life for the last three years and three months. I'm clearing out my office as I type and I'm actually feeling a little bit sad that I won't have this monster of a project to work on anymore. Don't get me wrong: at various points during the writing of this beast, I have wondered whether I could actually get through it. Now, it's over (well, not until Friday, officially).

I've spent the past week writing about my Thailand surgery trip as a distraction and I'm still reeling from the surgery that I watched. I sort of can't believe I was there and that the whole trip even happened. After spending time with the surgeons and hanging out with some of the women having surgery, I have to say, the whole pregnant celebrity thing really seems insignificant compared to what average women are dealing with everyday.

I'm really eager for suggestions for future posts. Celebrity pregnancy is a little ho-hum at the moment. In fact, I would really like to go back to when I first started this blog and readers sent in their personal stories about pregnancy and body image.

Anyway, this is a bit of a hodge podge. Feeling very out of sorts!

23 October 2008

Why is birth painful?

I came across an interesting article in Salon suggesting that the pain of childbirth basically serves no purpose and is merely a hangover from evolution. Some anthropologists have argued that labour pain served as a means of letting women know that they should seek assistance, ultimately, as a mechanism to lower rates of infant and maternal mortality. If women received help, they were less likely to bleed to death. The strongest evidence seems to be that all cultures have traditional birth attendants which suggests that assistance during birth was considered to be critical.

The question remains, it seems, as to whether labour pain has lived out its usefulness for women. As the author of the article suggests, this theory is problematic for natural childbirth advocates because this evolutionary perspective implicitly argues that birth is dangerous and not 'natural'.

I'm not sure I agree with this argument in general. After all, babies heads have become substantially larger over time and a woman's pelvis has pretty much stayed the same. In a nutshell, it seems pretty clear to me why giving birth would hurt.

Source: http://open.salon.com/content.php?cid=31854

22 October 2008

Talking about miscarriage

IM BACK...to reality, that is. I said goodbye to sun, sand and surgery yesterday and will be blogging as per usual from now on.

Great article today in the New York Times about the persistent silence around the experience of miscarriage and is a nice antidote to John McCain's dismissive statement about women's 'health':

A British group of women is discussing their experiences of miscarriage and insensitive doctors on Mumsnet: www.mumsnet.com

Read more about it here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article4964678.ece

17 October 2008

Tales from Thailand

Okay so I have a super dodgy internet connection so that has totally blown my blogging plans but I'm going to attempt to get in all I can right now. I spent all day yesterday at Phuket International Hospital interviewing surgeons, following patients around and sitting in on consultations...and I WATCHED A BREAST AUGMENTATION SURGERY. Like not just 'watched', I mean I got in scrubs, stood over this women on a gurney and chatted to the surgeon as he did the operation, explaining every single step in great detail. It was perhaps one of the most confronting and absolutely amazing things I have every done in my life. But...of course....it's all very complicated, especially because it was only 2 hours before that I had met the woman having the surgery. It was very strange to see her lifeless on a table having her breasts basically taken apart and put back together when just earlier she had been choosing which implants she wanted.

I'm not going to give too much away right now as there is a whole article that will be published in the next few weeks but I will say that medical tourism is a very complicated issue. I was blown away by the doctors that I met. They are highly-educated, highly skilled surgeons who are actually caught between a rock and a hard place, trying to cater to the market of foreign patients that are flocking to Thailand for medical procedures but also trying to practice ethically.

All I can say is that I don't know what to say. Still trying to process everything and this has definitely changed some of my views on plastic surgery.

I met a woman who had had lipo, breast life and body countouring all in one go. She wasnt doing it because she wanted to be the hottest mum on the block, she was doing it because she wanted to feel better about herself. It is very easy to judge women who have these procedures as being selfish and narcissistic. When they are sitting in front of you, clearly in pain from having their body parts shifted up and expanded....it's hard to feel anything but sympathy. What I saw in that operating room was intense. I cannot even imagine the pain that this woman will feel when she is recovering for the next few weeks.

On the upside, I got to fondle a big basket of breast implants.

More to come.

Oh, Phuket is beautiful too :-)

13 October 2008

Live-blogging from Thailand

OMG. Sorry, I know you're probably thinking I'm really slack for not having posted in a few days. Well, this is the deal. I'm off to Phuket, Thailand tomorrow morning for a week to follow a group of Australian women who are having post-baby plastic surgery. I'm sitting in on consultations, watching some surgeries and interviewing doctors. Basically, I have an all-access pass to get the inside scoop on this growing market and medical tourism more generally. This is all research for a magazine article I've been commissioned to write and also for my forthcoming book. I've been trying to get myself organised for the past few days so please excuse my silence of late....much more to come.

I will be blogging (with many photos) from Phuket for the rest of the week!

Oh and my thesis is due in 2 weeks! WHOOOOOHOOOO!

10 October 2008

Midwifery, vindicated at last?!

According to an international review of maternity services, women who are cared for by midwives rather than GPs or obstetricians are less likely to lose their babies within the first six months of their pregnancies.

In a huge analysis of 12,000 women in 4 countries, researchers argue that women who were supported by midwives were much less anxious than those treated by other health care providers. As a result, they experienced fewer miscarriages.

Obstetricians are unsurprisingly annoyed with the findings.

The best part of the study?

Women being looked after by midwives were less likely to be admitted to hospital during pregnancy, episiotomies or require pain medication and were more likely to have vaginal births, feel in control during labour and better able to initiate breastfeeding.

As the most comprehensive study of this kind ever, the analysis also showed there was no significant difference between the women who were looked after by midwives or obstetricians when it came to foetal deaths after six months gestation, length of labour, induction, intervention, premature births and admissions to neonatal intensive care units.

For all the midwives out there, go on...say it....


Source: http://tinyurl.com/3mb4k9

Ange breastfeeding on W magazine cover

A gorgeous photo of Angelina Jolie breastfeeding one of the twins and taken by Brad Pitt is featured on the November cover of W magazine. There are not many photos of celebrities breastfeeding...this is definitely a good start. Of getting pregnant, Ange says:

“I think one of the life changing things that he [Brad] did, one of many, is that I was absolutely never going to get pregnant. I never felt that it was the right thing to do. Now I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. It taught me a lot about life, just the process of it, and now we have three other beautiful children that wouldn’t otherwise be here.”

Source: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=644672

09 October 2008

Millbank Report

Childbirth Connection has just released the Millbank Report about Evidence-Based Maternity Care in the US. Basically, this report provides suggestions for reforming the American maternity system which is, for intents and purposes, crumbling. As a result of the escalating numbers of caesareans and inductions being performed, the report notes that maternity care is contributing to the skyrocketing health care costs. Not only is pregnancy the number one reason for hospitalisation in the US, six of the ten most common procedures billed to medical insurance or Medicare are maternity related. Caesarean sections, in particular, are the most common billed procedure for Medicare, private payers and for all payers combined! The report points out that even when women have relatively uncomplicated births in hospitals the costs begin at around $7,000 and for a caesarean can go up to $16,000. Women who deliver in birth centres, in contrast, are charged around $1600 and often the outcomes in these centres are very good and women are satisfied with their care. The report also stresses the importance of midwifery.

Read more here: http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10575

07 October 2008

Minnie D: Myspace for my baby!

Forget selling your soul.. I mean baby photos to a tabloid for a few mill. Minnie D. slipped in a photo of she and baby Henry on her MySpace page.

Much more beautiful than those horrible posed photos!

Source: http://tinyurl.com/3pw5k4

02 October 2008

Melissa Joan Hart: bring on the drugs

This is something you don't hear very often. Melissa Joan Hart says she regrets her decision to give birth 'naturally' to her second son, Braydon (now 6 months old).

"I kinda regret that one," she revealed.

"But the thing is, the healing was so much faster," the 32-year-old explained. "I didn't have to get the drugs out of my system and was moving around a lot more."

"I labored at home for 9 hours and then went to the hospital for an hour and a half - two pushes and he was out," she said.

Anyone else out there regret saying no to an epidural?

Source: http://www.usmagazine.com/news/melissa-joan-hart-i-regret-no-epidural

BBP in Vogue Australia

The Baby Bump Project got a mention in an article about prenatal weight gain in the November edition of Vogue Australia (p.174).

30 September 2008

Paid maternity leave? looks like not a chance

So looks like the whole maternity payment scheme in Oz is sinking. Small business is apparently upset because they will have to contribute to the superannuation accounts of women on maternity leave. A number of others are whining about the plan possibly not being means tested.

I find this amazing and actually it strangely crossovers with some things I have been mulling over lately. Here are some facts:

In the last 40 years, the Australian fertility rate has declined from 3.55 babies per women in the ‘baby boom’ of 1961 to a historic low of 1.73 in 2001. The fertility rate first started to decline in 1976 and ever since that time, the population has been below replacement level (2.1 babies per woman). Since 2001, however, Australia’s fertility rate has been slowly increasing. Fertility rates reached their highest level in ten years – 1.81 babies per woman – in 2005. This was also a time when Australia recorded the highest number of births since 1993.

As there is still no national scheme for paid maternity leave and given that provisions for childcare in Melbourne are woefully inadequate, being pregnant and ‘at work’ is still seen as perhaps visually and culturally inconsistent. This may point to a ‘backlash’ against feminism(s) both by the Australian government and women themselves. In spite of hard-won changes to Australian women’s legal and political status over the last 30 years, anxieties about pregnancy and motherhood clearly continue to brew. If the second wave of feminism encouraged middle-class Australian women to expand their understandings of themselves beyond marriage and motherhood, the falling birthrate in Australia clearly sits uneasily with the more recent trend of postponing motherhood.

Many of the women in my study were quite anxious about clinging to their positions in the paid workforce or having to make a somewhat defeated ‘choice’ to stay at home for a certain period of time to be ‘full-time’ mothers. They seemed genuinely frustrated and, at times, angry that the versions of feminist discourse presented to them in women’s magazines and by celebrities, for instance, seemed to suggest that being a mother and having a career is a seamless negotiation: that women can ‘have it all’. Ways of combining motherhood with other feminist aspirations are rarely discussed in the current Australian political climate. Rather, it is the women who are blamed for wanting to both have a working life and look after their children. This 'backlash' against maternity leave also particularly highlights the fractured and partial adherence to everyday feminisms by many Australian women themselves.

29 September 2008

Paid maternity leave

Today, a landmark government report will recommend that Australian mothers receive up to 14 weeks of paid maternity leave.

Currently, only 43% of Australian women are entitled to paid maternity leave. One in six mums is back to work before their babies turn one month old.

According to the proposed plan, women would be paid the equivalent of minimum wage at the cost of $500 million to the government. This is quite controversial and a number of critics are suggesting that the expenditure is too great especially in the face of a 'global financial crisis'. Others have suggested that the scheme has to be means tested. Some groups are worried that if the scheme is passed, women of 'childbearing age' (read: early 30s) will be discriminated against in the workplace.

Let's just remind ourselves of one fact: Australia is one of the only two developed nations in the world (the other being the US) that does not have a scheme for paid maternity leave. British mums get 39 weeks. Swedish mums get 18 months. Bulgarian mums get 2 years.

Sources: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24415549-12377,00.html

28 September 2008

Jessica Alba bikini body

Jessica Alba: 4 months post-birth. I think 'Wow' is not nearly sufficient.

Source: http://www.usmagazine.com/news/jessica-alba-shows-off-post-baby-body
Photo credit: Clasos.com/Splash News

24 September 2008

Weight-lifting for two?

The Daily Mail is shocked that British mum-to-be Sarah Jane Cousins is still lifting weights just 11 days before her she is due to give birth:

'I feel fantastic. I have no stretch marks and have kept my blood pressure where it should be. I haven't put on much fat, my muscles have stayed strong and I always feel so much better after going to the gym. My midwife is really pleased with how healthy I am.'

Women are not supposed to gain too much weight when they are pregnant but of course they have to gain some weight. You are supposed to exercise but not too much. Women can never women. This woman is exercising with a personal trainer and her midwife is happy with her health. Why shouldn't she continue to train? It annoys me that pregnant women who do look after themselves are made spectacles simply because they are breaking the mould.


Source: http://tinyurl.com/4lnyj5

23 September 2008

Paltrow: off my list!

Gwyneth. What's happened? I thought we had an understanding. You were one of the only 'normal' celebrities left.

Looks like Oprah now has some competition for 'world's biggest narcissist'.

Gwyneth Paltrow has launched her own 'lifestyle' website which is basically a template for how to be like....her! Just when you thought she couldn't get more pretentious, she's named the site 'GOOP: nourish the inner aspect'. First of all what the heck is 'GOOP'?

She claims on the only fully finished page of the site that she wants you to invest in a 'real' life....

I say her life is 'good' because she is Gwyneth-frickin-Paltrow and she has lots of money to make it 'good'.

Seriously wtf?!

Check it: www.goop.com

Post-baby body

Gwen S. one-month post-baby.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/49afay

Nip and tuck and IVF?

Porn star Jenna Jameson is pregnant with twins. Seriously, what is the deal with multiples lately? Is all of Hollywood having fertility treatments? All of the twin pregnancies comes hot on the heels of new warnings from the British government about fertility tourism. Many British women are traveling overseas to receive fertility treatment and coming back with twin and triplet pregnancies. This, according to the British government, is costing the NHS because of higher costs associated with multiple pregnancies. Overseas clinics are apparently more inclined to transfer more embryos into the womb, whereas British clinics tend to only do one at a time because of the medical risks. The treatment is also considerably cheaper overseas. Australia has even jumped on the fertility tourism bandwagon. The Cairns Fertility Centre will open next year with a 5-star resort attached to the clinic. The director describes the centre as a "one-stop-shop" for conceiving couples looking for a bit of relaxation. In addition to the medical facilities, the 12-storey building would include luxury hotel apartments serviced by a swimming pool, gym, spa, barbeque area and restaurants. Beauty therapists will be on board as well as cosmetic surgeons. Apparently, the clinic will be the largest in the world. Women can have a nip/tuck while they also have IVF.

We have seen the future and it is not good.

Sources: http://tinyurl.com/4cumzr

Pucker baby number 3

Jools Oliver, wife of British chef, Jamie Oliver, has announced she is pregnant with their third child. The former model has openly discussed the couple's fertility issues and she was contemplating fertility treatments as it was taking so long to fall pregnant for the third time around. She is due in April. Jamie is dying for a boy.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/4gqb5j

19 September 2008

Camilla Alves talks some sense

Finally some sensible celebrity advice:

Camilla Alves, partner of Matt McConaughey, had this to say about being pregnant and having a caesar in an interview with BabyCenter:

"It’s a hard thing to be pregnant. Your hormones are crazy. Your body is changing. It’s a major change. I really enjoyed being pregnant, but I certainly didn’t love it."

"If there’s any advice I could give to a pregnant women, it’d be to have a natural birth. With c-sections, there’s a lot of pain and recovery is not fun. You already went through the whole pregnancy, and you don’t want to sit around for six to eight weeks in recovery. I don’t understand why healthy women go in and schedule a c-section."

"Women need to give their bodies time to rest. I really recommend that a woman who has the time, take that time to rest, because you’re not getting much sleep."

Source: http://tinyurl.com/524xjj

J.Lo and Gwyneth working it out

J.Lo has announced that she just started using a nanny but that nevertheless, she spends 'every free moment with the babies'.

Somehow, I don't really believe that.

Lopez is apparently happy with her post-baby body. "The triathlon really helped get me in better shape, and snapped me back into my body. I don't weigh myself a lot. I still have 10 lbs., or so. [But] I don't have any problems with it. I never felt I had to get rid of it."

Gwyneth Paltrow also wanks on to Oprah about her post-baby fitness regimen and you can watch a video of her working out with the trainer she shares with Madonna. You can see her bouncing around doing this ridiculous cardio dance routine. I would be embarrassed to have this footage out in the public domain.

Watch it here:

Sources: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20226785,00.html

18 September 2008

Breast best for bouncing back

Ah Tori. She has blabbed to Ok! magazine that after 3.5 months she has stopped breastfeeding so she can lose her baby weight:

"I haven't lost the weight yet! I'm wearing Spanx," she revealed. "I just stopped breastfeeding so now I can start a diet program. Getting back to working out is the hardest part but we have a really active lifestyle."


Clearly, Tori doesn't know about the University of Georgia study that appears in the August issue of International Breastfeeding Journal in which the researchers found that breastfeeding BOOSTS post-baby weight loss. Women who exclusively breastfed their babies lost more weight than mothers who used formula or formula and breastmilk ('mixed feeding')

Sources: http://www.okmagazine.com/news/view/9074

17 September 2008

IVF: pregnancy waiting to happen

Gotta love a little media spin. 2 article about IVF on the same day using the same stats with very different arguments:

Headline: Celebrities give false hope to IVF mums
In this story, the Daily Telegraph claims that only 2% of women over 45 become pregnant successfully through IVF.

"Despite the increase in success rates in women over 40, the majority (over 40) who come for IVF treatment go away without a baby," he said.

Headline: IVF boost for women in their 40s
In this article, women in their 40s have apparently 'doubled' their success rate with IVF over the last 2 years. One doctor is quoted as saying the success rate now amounted to, "a realistic chance" for older women, particularly those aged 40 or 41."

Of course, both articles conclude that IVF is not an 'insurance policy' for women who wait too long. *sigh*

Sources: http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,24359180-5005941,00.html

16 September 2008

E.Lo: not pregnant, just 'fat'

Eva Longoria is not pregnant, in case you were wondering. The poor woman has had to defend herself constantly. Lately, the scrutiny of her seemingly 'bloated' belly has taken on a new level of creepy obsessiveness in the media.

Eva recently told everyone to 'chill out' about all of the pregnancy speculation. Desperate Housewives castmate Felicity Huffman 'supported' her:

"She’s just fat, that’s all there is to it!" Huffman said on Saturday in Los Angeles.

Right. I hardly think that Eva Longoria is 'fat'. Gotta love women supporting each other.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,422843,00.html

Minnie Driver: 'debuting' her post-baby bod

Minnie D. one week post-birth, looking remarkably slender.

Source: http://www.usmagazine.com/news/minnie-driver-debuts-post-baby-bod

15 September 2008

Sexy maternity lingerie: yawn?

New maternity lingerie just hitting stores called Cake. Not very inventive. The gals at Hot Milk have been doing this for awhile now. What annoys me the most is that women are supposed to feel 'empowered' by looking at images of sexed up preggos. I don't know about you, but I think this kind of sexualisation of women's bodies is just as problematic as it is for non-pregnant women. I'm not sure why maternity lingerie has gotten so hypersexualised. It almost feels like designers are obsessed with compensating for the fact that pregnant women have been asexualised for so long that now they are oversexualising them as if to force 'sexy' down our throats. Besides, the women in these types of catalogue images only reinforce the notion that pregnancy is attractive on certain women as long as their bellies are appropriately contained, tight and seemingly not 'fat'.


Source: www.cakelingerie.com

Steel yourself, ladies.

Another gallery of celeb post-baby bods:

Billie Piper: scales are the work of the devil

Billie Piper, gotta love her. Even though she her new show, Secret Diary of a Call Girl is bloody good, no one really cares about that. Every question is asked is always about being pregnant. Here are a few highlights from a BBC interview:

On being chased by cameras constantly:
"People's fascination with people being pregnant is kind of weird. I do eat and I eat a lot. I don't find it annoying though because when I found out I was pregnant people were saying, 'Are you going to make an announcement?' and I kind of thought no because it really has nothing to do with anyone."

On weight gain:
"I don't weigh myself ever. I think scales are the work of the devil. I think they are just awful, it's an awful thing the scale. Every time I go to the doctors they do weigh me and I ask them not to tell me."

On maternity clothes:
"I've never wanted to dress up more and find ways to dress the stomach and my breasts because I've never had them before. I have these new found curves and I have been quite happy about dressing it all. You get a whole new wardrobe, it's exciting."

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/hi/music/newsid_7612000/7612395.stm

14 September 2008

Ulrika Jonsson hates her post-baby boobs

It was only a few weeks ago that Swedish mother of 5, Ulrika Jonsson was railing against the skinny post-baby bodies of her fellow celebritiy mums. She claimed she was not going to worry about losing weight and was proud of her stretch marks. Today she written that she hates her huge post-pregnancy breasts and is planning to have them reduced:

"In my first pregnancy in 1994 when I was 27, I went from a D up to an FF-cup. When I moaned about this to my dear friend Vic Reeves, his eyes lit up and he asked whether the double F stood for ' F***** g Fantastic'.

I set a record this time when I was pregnant, though - I eclipsed all physical possibilities, I thought, when I had to order an I-cup over the internet. Marks & Spencer goes up to a J-cup but its best seller is a 36C.

I was truly repulsed by my breasts and I think my husband, Brian Monet, was stunned into a nine-month silence. I likened myself to a fat, ageing porn star.

Standing in the shower, I could not see the rest of my body when looking down. And don't even get me started on the backache and the painful red grooves the bra straps left on my shoulders.

Which brings me to the post-pregnancy bust. If anything could be less desirable than bloated, humongous 'mummy bags', it's a deflated pair.

You see, I know what's coming over the next few months. Not unlike a tyre with a slow puncture, they will gradually diminish and I will, before you can say the word 'mammoplasty', be left with what can be described only as two ping-pong balls in bin liners."

I've conflicted about this. I think women should be able to make choices about what they do with their bodies. One person's decision to have plastic surgery has nothing to do with me. But, at the same time, it makes me uncomfortable that she frames her justification for wanting a reduction around whether or not her husband would approve. She also says she is not doing the surgery for 'self-esteem' reasons like other women who want to have bigger breasts so they can feel more 'womanly'. Well, of course she is?! If she is uncomfortable with having large breasts and is constantly trying to hide them, I'm not sure how that isn't a matter of self-esteem.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/5z872p

13 September 2008

Pregnant parking

The other day I was chatting to mum who lives in Chicago and she mentioned how she thought of me when she saw parking spots set aside for pregnant women in a local shopping centre. She said she was kicking herself not having a camera to take a photo for me.

On one hand, shops like Babies R' Us are acknowledging that sometimes pregnant women just want to park close to a shop without hassling around. At the same time, however, the idea that pregnant women 'need' these special parking spaces also reinforces the notion that pregnant women are 'disabled' and physically weak. In March, in California, legislators proposed that pregnant women be allowed to park in 'disabled' spots but the proposal never left the ground. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has said the bill's sponsor had good intentions, but that it isn't appropriate, especially considering pregnant women need to be encouraged to physically active.

What do you think? Should pregnant women be entitled to special parking spots?

Rebecca Romijn: caught on film

Finally! Rebecca Romijn, 5 months pregnant with twins, out in LA yesterday. Right. Anyway. She hardly looks 'huge'.

12 September 2008

Garner is growing

Word on the street is that Jennifer Garner is due as early as October. By the size of her belly, I would say probably not until at least the end of the year. Any speculations?

Source: http://tinyurl.com/4w576b

Sheer dress? Sheesh.

"It's not exactly the type of dress you would expect to see a pregnant mother wearing."

That's what the Daily Mail had to say about Billie Piper's sheer gray dress she sported yesterday in London.

I mean really. So it's sheer. Big deal. Considering that most days we see pregnant celebrities flaunting their naked bellies or in some state of undress, a sheer dress is like the maternity equivalent of a hijab.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/3l4h6e

11 September 2008

Moral panic Thursday!

I love a good moral panic. As you probably have noticed, I haven't even touched on Sarah Palin and all of this teen pregnancy tomfoolery. Rather, my attention turns to freebirthing. Yet again.

According to the Daily Mail, as a result of a midwife shortage in the UK, women are being 'forced' to have 'dangerous' homebirths. The maternity system in the UK is so overcrowded, understaffed, and apparently un-hygienic, many women have opted to have their babies at home. Dame Karlene Davis, a midwife said:

'Technology and the internet has led to people thinking they can do freebirthing. If a woman has had a positive experience then people think it’s something worth trying."

Damn that technology. Putting ideas in women's heads. Lead them not into temptation! Even though the British government is unwilling to acknowledge the midwife shortage and birth rates continue to rise in the midst of a crumbling system, I highly doubt that the majority of women in the UK are freebirthing or even homebirthing, for that fact. In most of the West, homebirthing is still rare and unfortunately, women are more willing to suffer the ills of public medical systems rather than have babies at home because they are not given the proper information nor the support to make that choice if they so desire. All of this malarky and panic over freebirthing is evidence of a resounding fear that if women give birth on their own or at home with a midwife, obstetric 'expertise' will be undermined. In Australia, the government is considering giving midwives the power to prescribe medications and to deal with Medicare as a way to cope with understaffing. And why not considering births in Oz are at the highest level since 1971? Of course doctors have attacked this proposal with more 'risk' talk saying that more babies will die if midwives have a greater role in hospitals. No wonder women in Australia and beyond are sceptical of homebirth and freebirth: doctors keep telling them they will die or their babies will die. Sure there are always risks but scare tactics will not fix underfunded and understaffed maternity systems.

Sources: http://tinyurl.com/5kf22l

09 September 2008

Minnie Driver: mother

Minnie Driver gave birth on Friday to a baby boy, Henry Story Driver, in LA. The world can continue to turn.

Source: http://tinyurl.com/5jbcc6

Men: missing all logic and reason

In the immortal words of Jennifer Aniston as she spoke of her philandering ex-husband Brad Pitt, it seems that Jerry O'Connell (hubby to Rebecca Romijn) is missing a 'sensitivity chip'.

O'Connell went on Conan O'Brien on Friday to say that Rebecca was 'huge' and that he told her this regularly. Right. Well, twins will do that to a gal.

He's now issued an public apology:

"I regret calling my wife 'huge. I meant to say that there are specific areas of my wife that are larger than normal and growing every day. All other portions of my wife are quite petite. I apologize to her and will be coming home with flowers."

A dozen roses per baby?

Totally off topic: No photos of Rebecca Romijn have surfaced as yet. Interesting.

Source: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20224278,00.htm

Eating for two: it's harder than you think

And just when you thought pregnant could not possibly get more complicated.

So, for a long time scientists have been wanking on about how women need to continually remind themselves that when they are pregnant they are certainly not 'eating for two'. Newspapers have been blazing with headlines about women programming their foetuses for obesity if they even look at a block of chocolate.

Well. Now, it seems that according to new research from Dr. Helen Budge of Nottingham University, pregnant women who eat too little can also program their foetuses for obesity. Having too few calories in the womb inflames fat cells and this inflammation 'damages' the body's ability to metabolise properly. Thus, foetuses are at greater risk for obesity later in life.

Right. And how did Dr. Budge come to this conclusion?

By testing sheep. That's right. SHEEP.

And her solution? Budge says women must eat a 'healthy, balanced diet'.

How in the world are women supposed to know what 'healthy' or 'balanced' is anymore if science keeps moving the bloody goal posts?

Source: http://tinyurl.com/6ogava

08 September 2008

'Natural' birth is best?

Mothers who give birth naturally are more responsive to the cry of their baby than those who choose to have a Caesarean, American research suggests.

A research team at Yale carried out brain scans on 12 women two to four weeks after they had given birth - known as the early postpartum period.

Half had a Caesarean, the other half gave birth naturally.

The differences in brain activity were found in regions that not only appeared to influence a mother's response to her child, but also to regulate her mood.

It seems oxytocin, the 'love' hormone is a critical factor in the bonding process.

The researchers suggest that women who have caesareans should be encouraged to cuddle their babies straight after birth.

I think this is all a bit problematic. Sure we have known for quite a long time that oxytocin does a number of important things for birth and bonding. Yet, making sweeping claims on the basis of a sample of 12? Hmmm.

Anyone have a different experience? Did you have a caesarean? How was your bonding experience? Did you get to cuddle your baby straight away? If not, how long did you have to wait?

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7594282.stm

07 September 2008

A look back at maternity fashion

As you can probably gather from reading my posts, I am a little bit obsessed with maternity clothes. As I've been writing and re-writing and then re-writing my thesis (which is due now in less than 8 weeks!) part of my work has been constructing a history of Australian maternity wear. And much to my surprise, there has been basically nothing written on the subject. For those of you in America, you have Pregnant Pictures written by Sandra Matthews and Laura Wexler. It's not a maternity clothing history but it is one of the most comprehensive collections of images of American pregnancy and a lot of you can learn alot about the history of maternity fashion just by looking at the images.

Anyway, I spent the better part of Friday at the State Library of Victoria looking at issues of the Australian Women's Weekly in a search for maternity fashion images. I was surprised to find that maternity fashion never featured in the magazine until the 1960s and even then it was not really until 1966 and more so around 1971 that maternity clothes were even considered to be 'fashion'. As in the image above, pregnant women were never really featured in advertisements together. It's actually hard to tell that the gals in the ad above are even pregnant. The A-line dresses that they are wearing are pretty mainstream when it comes to fashion of the time period and there is nothing distinctive about their dresses that says 'pregnancy'. For the most part, in the 1950s, pregnant women were only pictured with their 'husbands'.

I was surprised, however, to find a number of advertisements for stretch mark creams which suggests the body fascism directed at new mothers in the present day is actually not 'new' at all. 'Ugly' stretch marks have been marked as the bane of a mother's existence for quite some time now in the west. Also, lots of ads for maternity bras from Berlei which go on about 'saggy' post-baby boobs.

06 September 2008

Naomi Watts: bump alert

Six months pregnant Naomi Watts was spotted out in NYC looking pretty fabulous. Love her dress!

Source: http://tinyurl.com/6rd2sz

Gwen S: post-baby

Gwen Stefani has made her first post-baby debut since having her Zuma two weeks ago. She was snapped on her way to a postnatal appointment in LA.

Source: http://www.usmagazine.com/news/gwen-stefani-debuts-post-baby-bod

04 September 2008

J.Lo talks about pregnancy in Elle

J.Lo is featured in the latest edition of Elle in which she reveals a bit about her pregnancy:

On being pregnant and commissioning a book of photos of herself for Marc two weeks before giving birth: “I was like, How am I going to rock this moment of my life?... I felt very womanly. Marc was in a dream. He loved it.”

On not being able to get pregnant right away: “We knew nothing was wrong with either one of us—I had been checked, and he had kids already. I knew Something’s not ready here, in my head or in my life, and when it is, I know it’s going to happen.”

On first realizing she was pregnant: “I was sitting down doing hair and makeup and I felt a flutter. The weirdest little…flourish. My makeup artist said ‘What’s the matter?’ I didn’t say anything, but in my head, I was like, I have life inside me!”

On her pregnancy: “We came off tour and I said ‘I did the superwoman thing, I finished the tour—now I need you to take care of me. I love doing things for you; if I’m not cooking, then I’m picking out a shirt. But this is the first time in my life where I’m just going to be a little bit selfish. I don’t know if I’m going to have kids again, so I want it to be a beautiful experience. I don’t want to have any drama. I want to just be smiling every day.’"

More photos from the shoot: http://www.elle.com/coverstory/14295/jlo-fashion-jennifer-lopez-favorite-fashion-designer.html

03 September 2008

Epidurals don't always work!

And I thought having a caesarean was bad with pain medication...

A woman in the UK is planning to sue her hospital for failing to give her proper pain medication during an emergency caesarean. After an epidural, Sarah Carberry, 27 says she could still wiggle her toes and feel her legs but her doctors said that was 'normal'. When they started to cut into her womb, she was quite understandably in agony.

Note to self: wiggling body parts before major surgery = not good

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2660774/Mother-sues-hospital-over-caesarian-birth-without-pain-relief.html

02 September 2008

Atomic Kitten back to feline form

Atomic Kitten singer, Jenny Frost has shed all of her baby weight and then some but says she misses her pregnancy 'curves':

'I put on four stone when I was pregnant and had this great bottom. I loved it - for once, I had curves! I wanted to lose my baby weight , but I hoped I’d keep my bum. But that went and now I’ve got nothing to fill my jeans.'

And apparently she lost the weight through nutrition alone and 'never works out'.

Yeah right.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1051579/How-I-lost-FOUR-stone-Atomic-Kittens-Jenny-Frost.html

31 August 2008

Ashlee Simpson: not worried about weight

Ashley Simpson has responded to critics saying she is obsessed with her pregnancy weight gain. She posted little retort on her MySpace blog:

My size 0 jeans...by Ashlee Simpson-Wentz

Today I read on a blog that I went to the doctor and he said I was overweight and I cried and went to Planet Blue (because I was blue) and bought 6 pair of size 0 jeans. Now it is ridiculous to read such nonsense about oneself so I thought I would address this one...
1. My doctor says I am right on target with my weight gain
2. Have not been to Planet Blue in at least two years
3. Love my maternity jeans ..they have stretchy tops it is awesome!
4. My closet full of size 0's are being worn by Pete right now and he looks hot in them :)
So now that I have cleared that up let me tell you...carrying a child is the most inspiring, emotional, amazing experience of my life. My weight and my pant size are the absolute last thing I am concerned about. I am only concerned with having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. People who talk and judge pregnant women's weight need to get a life!!!
Peace and Love,


29 August 2008

Minnie Driver: pregnant bikini poll

Remember those pregnant bikini photos of Minnie Driver I posted the other day? As I was perusing the interwebs, I came across a poll at Popeater asking whether people 'approved' of Driver wearing a bikini.

This is what they found:

What's your take on bikinis while pregnant?
Why would you?60%
Why not?40%

How soon do you think Minnie will have the baby?
2-4 weeks41%
4-6 weeks27%
Within 2 weeks22%
6+ weeks10%

28 August 2008

Mummy makeover story

Looks like I'm writing a story about post-baby plastic surgery holidays for one of the Melbourne weekend magazines. So. If you you or anyone you know has had a mummy makeover (or is thinking about it) or gone overseas to have a bit of a post-baby nip and tuck, please email me.

27 August 2008

Eating for two

Charlotte Church is apparently freaking out about her weight and she doesn't want a ‘bum bigger than her bump’.

‘I’m trying hard to regulate what I eat,’ she tells the Sunday Mirror. ‘Indulging yourself is the down side to pregnancy.’

Her daughter Ruby is 11 months old. Charlotte is due in November.

Source: http://www.nowmagazine.co.uk/celebrity-news/271372/charlotte-church-i-don-t-want-a-bum-bigger-than-my-bump/1/

26 August 2008

Breasts are not just for babies anymore?

Brits are all up in arms because TV presenter Kate Garraway appears to be breastfeeding a calf in a promotional poster for a documentary she is promoting about cross-feeding.

'I'm on a journey to find people who believe milk has to be from the breast, people who buy it, sell it, people who give it away and people who even feed each other's babies,' said the 41-year-old.

'To many this might seem weird, but they challenge us that it's actually much weirder to give our babies cows' milk than it is to drink milk from another woman.'

Other People's Breast Milk, one in a series of female-led documentaries, will be broadcast on Channel 4 on September 9.


Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1048622/Kate-Garraway-faces-outcry-provocative-photoshoot-shows-breastfeeding-calf.html

Minnie Driver bikini stylin

In case you forgot, Minnie Driver is still pregnant.

Source: http://www.idontlikeyouinthatway.com/2008/08/minnie-driver-is-somewhat-pregnant.html

The Brangelina Bunch

Apparently Brad Pitt shot a series of photos of her and the brood for the November issue of W. He last collaborated with W in July 2005 for a series of photos of he and Ange dressed up as a 1960s married couple, very sensitively released shortly after he and Jen were splitsville.

Source: http://www.usmagazine.com/news/brad-pitt-photographs-angelina-jolie-and-kids-for-w-magazine

Porn star pregnancy. No, seriously.

Porn queen Jenna Jameson, 34, is pregnant. The 'devout Catholic' says she is still in a state of shock but she and her martial arts fighter boyfriend, Tito Ortiz, are ecstatic. Strangely, there was a fake news report last month that she was pregnant after she appeared in the PETA ad above. She says she wasn't pregnant at the time but it prompted to her to have a test and she was actually pregnant.

Sources: http://www.usmagazine.com/news/jenna-jameson-confirms-she-is-pregnant

25 August 2008

Laila Ali in fighting form

Laila Ali is featured in the September issue of Pregnancy magazine. As the daughter of Muhammad Ali, Laila, also a professional boxer and host of American Gladiators, is planning to have a homebirth:

"Society tells you, 'You get pregnant, you go to the hospital,' and that was just naturally what I was going to do, but once I saw that there was another option, it just fit me," she explains. "I want to be fully present. I don't want any medications. I just want to be in control of the situation -- as much as I can be anyway."

Of course she's working out four days a week and trying to eat well:

"I always thought I was going to gain a lot of weight because I'm a big girl naturally. I walk around at 175 lbs, I'm 5'11", and I love to eat," Laila reveals. "I thought, 'Oh God, I'm going to be like 250 lbs and huge.' I know a lot of women have that fear. But because I'm already a big girl, I was just imagining myself to be a giant."

"I haven't had any problems, no cravings or nausea," she says. "I have gained 25 pounds, but I'm going to go back to that gym and work it all off so I'm not really worried about it."

Source: http://www.etonline.com/news/2008/07/63040/index.html

22 August 2008

Big stars, bad baby names

Oh no she didn't!

Celebrities can get away with a lot these days. Wearing outfits that don't match. Washing their hair with Evian. Having personal umbrella holders.

Gwen Stefani had another baby boy by caesarean on Thursday. And she named him......

Zuma. That's right Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale.

Seriously. SERIOUSLY?!

Source: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20210744,00.html

21 August 2008

Maternity fashion has just become 'fierce'

Christian Siriano, the designer from Project Runway, is designing a maternity line called Fierce for Moody Mamas slated for production in Spring 2009. Siriano "thought it would be great" for a gay man to partner with two women who haven't given birth to create a maternity line.

Sources: www.moodymamas.com
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The Baby Bump Project by Meredith Nash is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.