Wednesday 26 April 2017

Bring back the stern doctor terrorising his pregnant patients into following a strict diet

'The maternity hospitals are right to be so concerned about it. What they need is the power – and the manpower – to do something about it.' Stock image
'The maternity hospitals are right to be so concerned about it. What they need is the power – and the manpower – to do something about it.' Stock image

Fiona Ness

No one, least of all pregnant women, enjoys being reminded of their weight. In fact, just try bringing it up, then sit back and watch as they rage into their Häagen-Dazs. But with yesterday's report that rising numbers of overweight pregnant women are risking their own health and serious complications in the birth of their child, we have at least made a start. Pregnancy, it seems, is the one area where fat-shaming is actually allowed.

Because unless you're Claudine Keane, up until now it's been taken as a given that when you get pregnant, you've got a licence to let things slide a little. You're going to get 'fat' anyway, so you might as well have that extra biscuit. And all during a period when physical activity is becoming more and more difficult to maintain. Didn't Milla Jovovich put on three stone during her pregnancy? You can always work off the 'baby weight', afterwards.

The National Maternity Hospital has reported that more than a third of all attending expectant mothers are now classified as overweight. One-in-eight is classified as obese. The hospital's study comes after a UCC report found that more than half of Irish mothers who lost an infant in the weeks close to birth were either overweight or obese. This is hard reading for mothers who may have lost a child in such circumstances. By implication, they are shouldering some of the responsibility for their child's death. But while we're dishing out responsibility, what about the doctors themselves who didn't do a better job of managing their patients' weight?

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Don't Miss