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).
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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.