Weight Bias in Maternity Care

This is a great post about how the medical industry treats weight during pregnancy. Though this story is specifically about a plus-sized woman, I think there is a huge debate to be had about the medical industry focuses on size (big and small) to the determent of our overall health.

As some may note from my recent post “Body Shoptalk,” I’ve become more aware about my own body issues through pregnancy. Though you may not face the same challenges as this woman, I REALLY hope you read it so that we can continue having discussions about what weight means to having healthy pregnancies and living happy lives.

The Gayby Project: Making the Next Generation of Fabulous

I don’t know how, besides cut and paste, to re-blog from a Blogspot site, so here it is. Feel the outrage yet?

Check out more of her brilliant writing here: http://wellroundedmama.blogspot.com/

Weight Bias in Maternity Care: Weight Harassment and Over-Testing

Here is an email I received some time ago, detailing one plus-size woman’s experiences with weight bias and harassment during pregnancy. I have redacted her name and location to protect her identity.

Her story perfectly illustrates several common forms of weight bias and obesity stigma that negatively impacts her medical care.

Is it any wonder that many people of size avoid seeing care providers when this is the treatment they get?

The Story

My name is xxxx, I live in xxxx with my [four children] and husband and I am a plus-size mama expecting my 5th child…I am 5′ 5″ and weigh around 200 lbs. (sometimes more, sometimes less).  I am…

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  1. lovingthemarriedlife · March 6, 2015

    Wow this is horrible to read…I read the line about not breastfeeding and taking caffeine pills and I wanted to cry!!! How could the Dr. tell this mother to not breastfeed when there are many benefits of breastfeeding including having a high metabolism and weight loss from the amount of calories burned! This is the type of dr. that makes the obese community hate size 0 women and mistrust doctors with their scare tactics… this is so hurtful in so many ways I wish I could give that lady a hug! Every pregnant women should gain around 3olbs and that is all for a singleton pregnancy and eat right to avoid diabetes no matter what their pre-pregnancy weight… it’s not just for overweight think about all the media tabs blaming Kate Middleton’s weight on her first miscarriage the media was so ready to make Kates weight the fault of her pregnancy how horrible she must have felt having millions of people blaming her skinniness on a terrible loss that could have happened even if she’d had a “healthy weight”

    • thecommonostrich · March 6, 2015

      It is horrible to read, but I’m glad you did. I’ve found that many doctors use weight as an easy answer for why something is “wrong” with your health. It frustrates me not only because it shames us into thinking our bodies are to blame, but is also makes it hard to get at the real root of a problem.

      I don’t mean to down play the real risks associated with unhealthy weight (be it overweight or underweight.) This story pissed me off so much because the mother seems to live a healthy life, regardless of her size. Even so, her doctors zeroed in on her weight which lead to some wildly terrible care for her and her child.

      • lovingthemarriedlife · March 6, 2015

        Exactly no one should be told that they are the cause if something bad happens during pregnancy… I’m not saying people shouldn’t avoid unnecessary risk to the fetus but to treat this mom who’s never had a problem during her pregnancys as bad as a pregnant drug addict is wrong go scare someone who is actually doing damage to their child and themselves…

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