13 July 2008

Fat and Pregnant

I don't know about you but I'm pretty sick of reading about obesity. Australia was recently crowned the 'Fattest Nation' just edging out the United States and let me tell you, every second article in the papers lately is about the 'ticking timebomb' of fatness.

It comes as no surprise then that there is now a new genre of obstetric care emerging to accommodate pregnant women who are more generously proportioned. A new Centre for Bariatric Obstetric Care is opening in Ann Arbor, Michigan outfitted with special equipment to 'manage' the pregnancies of morbidly obese women.

Contrary to what seems to be logical, obese pregnant women are advised not to gain any weight at all during pregnancy, and instead, are encouraged to lose weight. Whilst it is clear that there is an impressive list of legitimate risks associated with obesity and pregnancy outcomes, one gynecologist has noted that pregnancy is effectively 'obesity's ground zero'. If anyone else has noticed, a range of headlines lately have been about how eating junk food, for example, in pregnancy can causes 'irreparable' lifelong damage to foetuses, predisposing them to being overweight by the age of 3. Now, it seems, it is okay to blame overweight women for obesity in the next generation. This is worrying. As much as fat is something that has come to be feared, my concern is that 'fat' has come to be a scapegoat for the privileging of foetal rights over maternal rights. For a while it was just women who smoked and drank that were blamed for foetal abuse, will having an extra piece of cake now carry the same moral weight?

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/13/magazine/13wwln-essay-t.html?_r=1&ref=magazine&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin

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