Pregnancy

Is 'skinny-while-pregnant' a dangerous trend?

July 28, 2011 at 7:21 AM ET

It used to be that when you’d see a pregnant woman, the  “oh, you’re eating for two” comment would be common place.

That was until celebrities would show up in photos looking svelte days or weeks after having babies.

The skinny-while-pregnant trend has hit some women who strive for barely-there bumps and are obsessed with a post-baby body, pronto.

 

That some maternity clothing sites sell size zeros, and women are fed a mythic notion that they can be skinny while pregnant, has some experts concerned.

“It absolutely can have a devastating effect on a woman who is very highly conscious about her weight,” says psychotherapist Robi Ludwig. “At its extreme, onlookers have created a buzzword for the trend: Mommy-rexia. Though not a medical diagnosis, doctors say if taken too far gaining too few pregnancy pounds can also be bad for the baby.”

Babies whose growth are restricted at birth can be at an increased risk of developing long-term developmental issues, says Dr. Rebecca Brightman, a New York City ob-gyn.

Discussing the subject on TODAY, NBC chief medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman says the biggest risk of not gaining enough weight is nothing but serious: “You’re starving your fetus,” Snyderman said, adding that both overeating and undereating are bad for pregnant woman.

Snyderman says she finds the celebrity-fueled fixation for the perfect body before and after pregnancy absolutely disturbing. “At a time when we’re talking about Africa’s greatest famine in 60 years, I find this particularly vulgar…[the idea] that your body is deformed while you are pregnant.”

She adds: “We have become cuckoo about hating our bodies, and this self loathing…pregnancy should be nine months of root beer floats and bliss, and deal with it afterwards. I think this is an Upper East Side, white girl, obnoxious problem."

Ultimately, unrealistic weight-reduction expectations give lots of new moms the baby blues.

So what do you do if you're desperate to get back into those skinny jeans? Relax.

Doctors stress that a normal weight woman should gain between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy and expect to lose it a year after giving birth.

What do you think? How do you feel when you see someone who is pregnant but skinny?

TOP