The Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, a German organisation, has officially recommended that women should not rush to lose weight post-baby and that celebrities set a 'bad example'. The advice will be used as official guidance for British mothers and also drafted by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
The IQEHC says that weight gain is normal in pregnancy and that "women are exposed to many unrealistic images of female body size, and body size around pregnancy or after birth is no exception."
While it is nice to hear that at least one government will actually be taking steps to unacknowledge the undue pressure many women experience when it comes to body size after having children, at the same time, I think that this kind of proclamation is pointless. Merely stating that women shouldn't feel pressure to lose weight is not necessarily going to improve a woman's body image. It is unrealistic to think that the world will get rid of tabloids or stop publishing news stories about pregnant celebrities and skinny post-baby bodies. What I would really like to see are practical measures that could easily be implemented by maternity services and hospitals around the world including free counseling services for women, free exercise classes and supportive mothers' groups. Acknowledging that the focus on celebrity bodies and slenderness is dangerous for women (pregnant or not) has been long established by feminists. It puzzles me as to why the idea that skinny celebrity mums set a bad example is like a revelation. If anyone had bothered to ask everyday women what they thought about body image it probably could have been established this a long time ago.