30 July 2009

Pregnant with no bump

Supermodels don't get pregnant, according to London Fog.

Giselle Bundchen shot these ads with a noticeable bun in the oven but um..her bump is mysteriously missing from the images which will be shown in a new campaign starting in October. Dari Marder, Chief Marketing Officer, explains:

"Although Gisele was photographed while pregnant, most of the shots have been retouched to respect her privacy during this wonderful and personal time in her life."

Seriously, since when has Gisele or Tom Brady, for that fact, every been worried about their privacy? She announced she was pregnant weeks ago!

London Fog = fail.

29 July 2009

Pregalates: Tash talks about the importance of exercise

Welcome to the first of many articles covering the issues of exercise during your pregnancy. There’s heaps of information out there, some of which can be conflicting and if you’re a first time mum, it can also be extremely daunting.

In my experience, the first thing people do when they find out they’re pregnant is start to worry about all the things they can’t do.

I’m suggesting that you turn that way of thinking around and focus on all the things you CAN do. Being pregnant isn’t a disease, women have been doing it for years all over the world and coping quite nicely thank you very much!

To drag your arse up to do anything when you’re pregnant is hard enough, but to drag your arse up to do exercise – get outta here!! Pregnancy is a time for sitting comfortably on the sofa with your feet firmly OFF the ground and your hand firmly IN a bag of chocolates…is it not?

Well, I’m here to try and convince you otherwise. I’m happy to share with you that nowadays, it’s widely accepted by midwives and GPs that exercising while you’re pregnant is more than just a good idea. It’s a way to keep body and mind focused on the job at hand – first class baby baking.

Stress hormones (or cortisol levels if we’re being technical) are heightened during pregnancy and as soon as you do any form of exercise, they get cancelled out with happy hormones (which can only be a good thing!).

Not only does exercise make you feel better emotionally, it also helps to reduce the likelihood of injury or those common complaints we all read about like back ache, water retention, sciatica (pain down the sides of your legs), difficulty sleeping, losing balance, weight gain….should I go on?

The first myth to dispel is that exercising whilst pregnant puts you or your baby at risk. Rubbish! (PROVIDING of course that you aren’t jumping out of planes or climbing bare rock faces unaided). It’s perfectly ok to start a new form of exercise and most people opt for pilates or yoga, swimming and walking. These activities are gentler than running or spin but still extremely effective.

Why you should consider exercising throughout your pregnancy:

• During labour you can concentrate on enjoying the process with the knowledge that your body isn’t going to give up on you
• Your body’s going to bounce back a helluva lot more quickly after all the fun’s over with
• You won’t feel as uncomfortable in your new body 24/7
• Varicose veins will be kept at bay
• Back ache will not raise its ugly head
• Water retention around the ankles will be something you associate ‘other’ people with.

I know what you’re thinking. “When am I supposed to find time to fit exercise into my day? I’m at work for 10 hours, asleep for 8 – I need to eat, wind down and relax.” By my calculations, that still leaves you with at least an hour when you’ve done all those other things, at least three times a week to do some exercise. I promise you (and I don’t promise things lightly, let me tell you 1) that your body, your pregnancy, your labour and your mind will all thank you for it in the long run and if you think you have no time BEFORE the baby arrives…..boy, are you in for a shock when it does finally grace you with its presence!!

I would love to hear from you! Email your questions about pregnancy exercise or anything else to tasha[at]pregalates.com

xx Tasha

Pregalates DVD giveaway question:

What is the scientific name given to the stress hormone that is heightened during pregnancy?

Remember: First person to email me with the correct answer wins . You must be a fan of both Pregalates and The Baby Bump Project on Facebook in order to be eligible.

28 July 2009

Pregalates comes to The Baby Bump Project

Hold on to your hats everyone...

The Baby Bump Project is proud to announce a partnership with Pregalates

Pregalates is the name given to series of world-first, trimester specific workouts devised, filmed and led by Tasha Lawton, widely known around the traps here in Australia and the UK as something of a pilates guru. Tash is a highly experienced pilates instructor, TV presenter and writer in the field of pregnancy exercise, health and wellbeing. She honed her pilates skills in Melbourne and filmed the DVDs when she was pregnant. She has appeared in national media in Australia and the UK. Tash has written exclusively for Midwives Online, appeared on television (most recently 9am with David and Kim), radio and has worked extensively with professional athletes.

I am absolutely chuffed to have Tash on board with The Baby Bump Project to bring her depth of experience to you, my lovely readers.

So what does this mean?

1) Tasha will be writing a monthly exercise column providing tips and support for exercise in pregnancy, postpartum and beyond. We are keen for you to write to Tash with your questions and hopefully with each column Tash can answer your queries. Drop Tasha a line at tasha[at]pregalates.com

2) As each of Tash's column will be chock full of useful information, you, dear reader, have the opportunity to WIN one of Tash's fantastic pregalates DVDs just by reading her post.


After each column, Tash will include a question at the end of her post. The answer can be found in her column. The first reader that responds with the correct answer and emails me at babybumpproject[at]yahoo.com.au WINS.

Is there a catch?

1) The only provision of the contest is that in addition to being the first reader to answer the question correctly you also MUST be a FAN of both THE BABY BUMP PROJECT and PREGALATES on Facebook.

What if you don't win?

Have no fear. Even if you don't win, Tash is offering The Baby Bump Project readers a very special offer: an EXCLUSIVE 15% discount when you order online. Just enter the discount code: BBP0001.

Ikea: Breastfeeding not on the menu


Hear that Ikea? I think you're looking at a boycott.

27 July 2009

Mums of the month

The Rugby Breastfeeding Cafe, a Warwickshire-based support group where local mums can meet up to feed their babies and chat in peace, has found an innovative method for fundraising: a calendar featuring mums breastfeeding from all walks of life in order to 'challenge views people might have about breastfeeding'. A recent article in the Telegraph describes the photos as 'provocative'. Rosie Evans, 28, organised the calendar and says "It shows that you can be young, trendy and sexy and still be a breastfeeding mum."

I'm not so sure. While I'm all for empowering women to feel comfortable to breastfeed and to feel sexy when they are doing it, I think this premise is problematic. I get annoyed when people say that 'you can still be a mum (or breastfeed) and be sexy' as if the two things are always going to be mutually exclusive. Maybe I'm an idealist, but I just don't like the thought that mothers today will always have to worry about 'proving' that motherhood isn't the end of their sexual lives. While it can do nothing but good to get more images of women breastfeeding in daily life, at the same time, why should we have a calendar to prove that?


*Interesting, the Rugby Breastfeeding Cafe has already complained about the tone of this post, apparently I'm not being supportive enough. I don't see any place here where I'm not being supportive of breastfeeding, of a woman's right to breastfeed in public or the breastfeeding support group.

If you read closely, my criticism is not about any of these things, it is about the over-sexualisation of women's bodies and the quite complex struggle women have in trying to negotiate being mothers and sexual beings in a culture that implores that women be sexy all of the time. I don't think publishing a calendar remedies this, sorry!

One of the organisers seems to suggest that I haven't talked to breastfeeding mums so somehow I just don't understand. If anything, I think I've built my academic career on talking to women about being mothers. I always try to be thoughtful and sensitive on this blog in between being funny with moments of smug every so often. I thought about deleting the post but changed by mind. This is an open forum, if you disagree with anything I have to say, you are most welcome to leave comments, as always. In saying that, this is an open forum for me too. It irks me that the person from the Rugby Breastfeeding Cafe that bothered to comment actually didnt provide a contact name or email address for me to respond to her directly and appropriately. I've removed the images that were originally posted (which I thought would be only be a boon for calendar sales or at least direct traffic to the site).

24 July 2009

Kendra Wilkinson: author?

I think Girl Next Door, Kendra Wilkinson is taking over my life.

Now, the pregnant former Playboy bunny is writing a memoir that will be published next summer.

According to Us, "The memoir will be a humorous, relatable, fish-out-of-water tale that captures the spirit of one of the most beloved Playboy cover models in history."

Just what the world needs.

I mean seriously, how on earth is she going to write a book? Has the publisher seen the rhetorical abortion that is her blog?

23 July 2009

Birth behind bars

According to a recent report in the New York Times, there are still states that keep pregnant inmates shackled during labour and birth. In some cases, an inmates legs, wrists and even abdomen are chained, quite obviously making medical treatment difficult. Although the Federal Bureau of Prisons last fall called for an end to the practice except in cases where inmates are a danger to themselves or others, it is thought that some women are still shackled in spite of state regulations.

After birth, the treatment of new mothers is no better. Most prisons make no provisions for inmates to be with their newborns. Infants are typically taken away from the mother immediately and either sent to live with family members or placed in foster care. According to a 2000 report in Time, New York, Nebraska and Washington State are the only exceptions; prisons in these states have nurseries in which infants are allowed to live with their mothers for a year to 18 months. Understandably, it is debatable whether infants are better off living in prison at the most critical point in their little lives. There is a dearth of research regarding long-term psychological effects of prison life on children.

In New York, however, the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility opened the nation's first prison nursery 100 years ago, and today its parenting program has had dramatic results. Only 10% of women who successfully completed the program returned to prison, in contrast to 52% of inmates overall.

There is some hope for pregnant inmates. There are a number of organisations across the US that try to organise volunteer doulas (traditional birth attendants) to help to empower pregnant inmates. The Peace Tree Prison Doulas serve incarcerated women in North Carolina penitentaries. They offer two main services to these women; each week they facilitate a pregnancy, labor and postpartum discussion group based on the womens' interests and needs, as well as provide continuous birth doula support when inmates go into labor. After delivery, they provide continuous postpartum counseling and breastfeeding support.

How can we deny pregnant women their right to a safe birth?

21 July 2009

Breast is not always best

I can feel a controversy brewing.

Joan Wolf, an American academic, examines the medical studies on breastfeeding in painstaking detail in her forthcoming book.

Her conclusion?

“The evidence to date suggests it probably doesn’t make much difference if you breastfeed.

And the many of the world's leading experts agree. While breastfeeding is beneficial for babies, some of its benefits have apparently been 'oversold' to new mothers. Wolf, herself a mother and one that did breastfeed her babies, says she was shocked by the information that she found. One of the major problems she says is that it is very hard to separate the benefits of the mother’s milk from the benefits of the kind of mother who chooses to breastfeed. In the UK, for example, the highest class of women are 60 per cent more likely to breastfeed than the lowest, so it is not surprising that research shows that breastfed infants display all the health and educational benefits they were born into. In effect, breastfeeding studies could simply be showing what it’s like to grow up in a family that makes an effort to be healthy and responsible, as opposed to anything positive in breast milk.

Michael Kramer, professor of paediatrics at McGill University, Montreal agrees. He has advised the World Health Organisation, Unicef and the esteemed scientific body, the Cochrane Library, and been conducting research into the health effects of breastfeeding since 1978. “The public health breastfeeding promotion information is way out of date,” Kramer says. The trouble is, he said, that the breastfeeding lobby is at war with the formula milk industry, and “neither side is being very scientific ... when it becomes a crusade, people are not very rational.”


17 July 2009


Preggos: Beware the swine!*


Seriously, is anyone out there wearing a mask in public? Considering there are 'stylish maternity sickness vomit bags', why hasn't some bright spark started making pregnancy specific swiney masks with pictures of little foetuses covering their mouths?

*Yes, I know swiney is deadly for pregnant women in some cases. But it's Friday, and I'm having a bit of fun.

16 July 2009

The secret is out

Has anyone else noticed that almost all of the Victoria's Secret 'Angels' are preggers (except for Miranda Kerr)?

Clearly, parading around in your knickers improves your chances of conception.

13 July 2009

Grin and bear it, ladies: pain is supposed to be positive

Apparently, women today aren't as stoic as their ancestors when it comes to pain in childbirth.

Dr Denis Walsh, a senior midwife and associate professor in midwifery at Nottingham University, said: "A large number of women want to avoid pain. Some just don't fancy the pain [of childbirth]. More women should be prepared to withstand pain."

"Over recent decades there has been a loss of 'rites of passage' meaning to childbirth, so that pain and stress are viewed negatively," he added, arguing that patients should be told labour pain is a timeless component of the "rites of passage" transition to motherhood.

Now, while I think that in certain contexts epidurals are sometimes overused, why on earth should women suffer through pain if they don't have to? Does it make you a better mother?


10 July 2009

Encapsulate your placenta

I'm baaaaaack!

What better way to herald my return to blogland than a post about placenta. Eating placenta, that is. I've written a bit about placenta eating already. This week in Time, however, Joel Stein revisits his first experiences with his wife's placenta in Time.

The most fascinating part of his story is not that his wife wanted to eat her placenta. Apparently, for $275 you can get someone to come to your house and cook up your placenta, "freeze-dry it and turn it into capsules to help ward off postpartum depression and increase milk supply". The 'placenta pills' are presented in a glass jar with a card, a CD of lullabies and a satin pouch housing part your child's umbilical cord, fashioned into a heart.

I haven't been able to find the service that Joel Stein and his wife used but I did find a number of 'placenta encapsulation services' like this one and this one or this one. I never knew such a thing existed. Most of these services charge about $200 for processing and encapsulating your placenta. But seriously, you might as well just do it yourself for $75 with a placenta encapsulation kit.

Yay or nay?

02 July 2009

Big holidays and big babies

Sometimes even bloggers need a little break.

I'm off to Fiji to reinvigorate my politically incorrect tan. See you in 7 days!

I leave you with a photo of the largest baby girl born in Australia: 6.28kg (14lbs). Mum puts it down to her healthy stockman's diet.

"I lived up on a cattle station near Charters Towers right up until about six weeks before she was born.

"I was working on the station but once I found out I was pregnant I became a governess but we all still ate the same food as the others who were working - really hearty meat and veges."

01 July 2009

Seeing double

Introducing new additions to the Parker/Broderick family, Marion Loretta Elwell and Tabitha Hodge, born in Ohio last Monday.

Photo credit: Robin Layton/AP

Stuck in a moment

Over at Pacing the Panic Room, a baby girl has been born. A little while back, I wrote about this awesome dad for chronicling his partner's pregnancy with absolutely gorgeous photos. He snapped her feeling a first contraction as they were doing their weekly photo.

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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.