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From our blog.

“Mommyrexia”, a dangerous trend

AMY GARDNER / August 5, 2011

The Today Show did a great segment on celebrity pregnancy last week.  Dr. Nancy Snyderman weighed in on the unhealthy message skinny pregnant women are sending to the general public angrily stating it’s an “upper East Side, obnoxious, white girl problem”.

Are these celebrities sending the wrong message to women?  Likely so, but they aren’t solely to blame. The media plays its part by constantly glorifying svelte pregnant and post-pregnant bodies.   In the Today Show segment we watch Heidi Klum strut down the catwalk 6 weeks after having a baby.  Commentators rave about this amazing accomplishment (her body).  Her pregnancy “diet and fitness tips” are published in People magazine as a guide to other women.  Her body appears to be the most inspiring achievement throughout the life-giving process.  What about the fact that she grew a human being, gave birth to it and was now a mother?

I can only imagine the pressure around body image in the modeling industry.  Unfortunately, it’s not isolated to that industry.  A lot of women minimize major accomplishments in their lives in light of (perceived) body imperfections.  Can you blame them?  Thinness certainly seems important in our culture.  Fortunately, many women find pregnancy and motherhood provide them with a sense of purpose and empowerment.  They are able to see the the true extent of their physical and emotional strengths.  One of my former clients who has recovered from anorexia reflected on her journey into motherhood saying “it helped me see what’s truly important in life”.

It’s natural for body image issues to come up during pregnancy; the body changes rapidly and this can be difficult for any woman regardless of whether she has or has had an eating disorder.  It’s discouraging to see additional pressure being placed on women through the media.

Growing a baby is hard work.  Pregnancy should be a time to slow down, take it easy on yourself, feed yourself nourishing food and listen to your body.  Obsessing over weight gain and body image only lessens the incredible experience of pregnancy.  Not to mention, restricting food or over-exercising can starve the fetus leading to long-term developmental issues in the unborn child.

Watch the Today Show segment here.

Visit the American Pregnancy Association for tips on wellness during pregnancy.