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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Designer Pregnancy: From Fab to Flab

Pregnancy is one of the happiest times in a woman’s life, except for the morning sickness, the hormonal changes, the wacky cravings, the hot flashes, our altered bodily functioning, and the labor itself... Well, maybe pregnancy isn’t as glamorous as we make it out to be. Maybe, that’s a healthy place to start: pregnancy is not as glamorous as we make it out to be.
            In America, “thin worship” dominates our thoughts and decisions, especially as women trying to measure up to an elusive standard of beauty. Sadly, this obsession with weight is now influencing women in pregnancy. In pop culture, the term “pregorexia” is used to describe individuals who have taken exercise and nutrition to excessive levels during pregnancy. Essentially, these women overdose or under dose on nutrition and exercise, focusing on weight rather than health. This has devastating consequences on both the baby and the mother. For mothers with pregorexia, early osteoporosis, physical exhaustion, and low calcium levels are among the most common effects. For the developing baby, pregorexia may cause low birth weight, mental retardation, and physical birth defects.
            There are several factors influencing the development of pregorexia. Glamorizing pregnancy is one. Real women are comparing their own experiences with pregnancy to the celebrity experience. As you can imagine, the average woman is both disappointed and frustrated when her pregnancy doesn’t reflect that of her celebrity role models. Celebrities have infinitely more resources and money to spend on their personal appearance; and where they don’t have money, they have media. Many pictures of celebrity moms “soon after giving birth” are discreetly altered to make the model appear more toned and radiant—more thin—than she is in reality. Consequently, new moms, having psyched themselves up for glamorous pregnancies, set themselves up for failure and end up feeling bad about themselves.
            Pregnancy is one of the happiest times in a women’s life. Whether you’re pregnant, or know someone who is, rejoice! Savor the experience for what it is: miraculous. Promote positive feelings and thoughts, foster a spirit of gratitude, count your blessings, especially the little one inside your own body! Most importantly, don’t play the comparison game. Don’t fall for the trap of glamour; it is both unrealistic and unfair. Just be you.

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Written by: Rachel Bailey

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