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
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