Obesity is without a question a huge issue in Australia and it is something that everyone should be aware of and that everyone should do something about.  However it is not always as simple as that when we are plagued with fast food adverts in prime time TV viewing and just about everywhere else we as consumers we go.
So what about pregnancy and weight gain?  Is this growing risk of obesity perpetuated when women become pregnant and do a lot of the obese women statistics come from pregnant women never losing their baby weight gain?  According to research the answer is a definitive yes – the Cochrane report (2007) states that women who don’t lose their pregnancy weight within 6 months of giving birth are at much higher risk of being obese or overweight 10 years later and that on average women retain 40% of their pregnancy weight gain 12 months after giving birth.
The average weight gain in pregnancy is said to be between 12 – 14 kilos but for many women the number is far greater and a recent research study by the Royal College of Midwives (December 2010) in the UK points the finger of blame to a lack of nutrition education from the midwives to the pregnant women in pre and post antenatal classes.  In this study over 6,200 mums took part and a whopping 84% said that they received no support from their midwives on BMI and a healthy weight gain either during their pregnancy or post birth but is it really fair to blame the midwives for our over consumption during pregnancy?  The primary role of the midwife is to ensure the safe delivery of the baby and the health of the mother – should they also now be taxed with the role of keeping the mum in a healthy BMI range during and post pregnancy?

The problem may be more to do with the fact that many women become pregnant when they are already at an unhealthy weight so the focus should perhaps be to getting into a healthy BMI range before coming pregnant or losing your baby weight before becoming pregnant again – as once the woman is pregnant and if they then have an unhealthy BMI, dieting is obviously not a good route for the pregnant woman to take.
So what role should the midwives play in weight loss and nutrition?  Perhaps a universal nutrition guide should be created and given to mums at the beginning of their pregnancy which discusses the importance of good nutrition and how the “eating for two” concept is misleading when a pregnant woman only needs 300 calories per day extra.  This guide could list healthy foods to snack on during pregnancy and what foods to eat when the mum has midnight cravings, exhaustion and foods to eat when the leg cramps, tiredness, emotion and sickness kick in.  This would serve to put mums in the driving seat with their own pregnancy weight gain destiny where good nutrition choices can be made.
Post pregnancy is a different matter as this is a huge task and one that any midwife would not have the time to coach mums through.  However – more advice could be given on the best and healthiest ways that mums could lose their pregnancy weight and again some kind of universal guide would be useful to be distributed to new mums.
The UK midwives study also points the blame to the unrealistic celebrity culture we live in with 59% of mums surveyed feeling that the celebrity culture has put more pressure on them to lose their baby weight but as most mums don’t have trainers, chefs and surgeons they feel the pressure is unrealistic.  So as with most things weight related the media – and magazines in particular – create an unrealistic target.  And perhaps when mums have not slipped back into their pre pregnancy jeans 6 weeks after their baby’s birth they become despondent and give up.  Celebrity’s do lose their baby weight in a ridiculously fast amount of time – and most in under 6 weeks.  But they cannot be compared with ‘normal’ mums as they simply don’t live the lives that we lead and we should not compare our baby weight loss with theirs for one second.  They have a huge amount of help to look like they do and they themselves feel a huge amount of pressure to lose their weight which often has them resorting to taking a cocktail of diet pills and prescription drugs to help them lose the weight – and many resort to surgery too.  Not to mention the retouching in the magazine articles which eliminate any ounce of fat or imperfection which makes all mums go ‘wow, look at how good they look, I wish my stomach looked like that…”.
At Lose Baby Weight we work with hundreds of mums and we believe every body is different and every mum loses weight in a different way and no one should place unrealistic pressure on themselves to lose their baby weight.  Every mum has different pressure points and stresses and post partum weight loss needs to be tackled in a safe and healthy way without undergoing dramatic and dangerous methods to get there.  We believe that when mums have recovered from their birth (usually about 6 – 8 weeks post delivery) that this is when a healthy eating and exercise regime should begin to be incorporated and that the focus should absolutely be on optimal nutrition and not starvation.  On all of programs our mums start their day by having a nutritious smoothie for breakfast which provides all of the essential vitamins and minerals to feed their body and ensure it is functioning at a cellular level.  We also specialize in breastfeeding weight loss plans and the products we use support a strong milk supply.
We advocate a weight loss goal of approximately 500grams per week if breastfeeding and of 1kg per week if not on the breastfeeding program.  See our Testimonial results from mums page to see what they say about our plans and programs.