Thanks to celebrities, the media and even some ill-informed doctors (who diss people like Jessica Simpson for gaining too much weight), there’s a new eating disorder on the rise called “pregorexia”–this time it’s pregnant women who are starving themselves.
Termed “pregorexia”, this eating disorder is described as an extreme preoccupation with dieting and exercising while pregnant to avoid gaining the 25 to 35 pounds of weight doctors usually recommend (which is not always accurate because we all know that every woman is different).
Pregorexia is said to affect 5% of all women. When you consider that over 4 million women give birth every year in the U.S., that could amount to as many as 200,000 women who suffer from this “unnatural desire not to gain the 25-35 suggested pounds that physicians recommend.”
Why are pregnant women so obsessed with their bodies and their weight? Because they are striving for that perfect body, according to clinical psychologist Sari Shepphird. She told Today.com:
There’s more social pressure on women to look thin during and after pregnancy. But pregorexia comes with very serious health problems.
When moms-to-be start changing their behavior and focusing solely on that number on the scale, they are putting both themselves and their baby at risk. Women face an increased risk for depression, anemia, and hypertension, while their malnourished babies are often miscarried or born with birth defects.
So can we blame Hollywood for this? Possibly. All of the latest nude pregnancy photos of celebs certainly don’t help. In fact, they just perpetuate the myth that there is such a thing as a perfect pregnant body–when all of us who have gone through it, knows there isn’t. Stars like Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, Cindy Crawford and of course, Demi Moore have all exposed their naked pregnant bodies on the covers of major magazines. And of course, they look perfect with nary a stretch mark, vein or excess fat in sight. But that’s because they are photoshopped and airbrushed to perfection–not because they really look that way. Yet, we all have a way of forgetting that when we stand in the check-out line.
Can we blame the media too? Of course. They are the ones who are putting those photos out there. But they are also the ones who are the first to criticize people like Jessica Simpson for gaining too much weight during her pregnancy. How many articles have you seen in the tabloids about this? Let’s leave the poor girl alone and celebrate the little life inside of her. How about that for a change?
And even doctors are to blame in some respects. Like I wrote about earlier, there was the one who basically called all of us fat slobs because we can’t control ourselves when pregnant. Yeah, that’s the way to get women feeling great about themselves during a time when we already feel, perhaps, at our worst.
Our society’s unhealthy obsession with looks and weight is out of control. Not only is it affecting women, teens and young girls, but now it’s affecting babies that haven’t even been born yet. Let’s stop the madness and encourage all women to be happy with whatever weight, shape and size they are–even when they’re nine months pregnant!