Jenny Willott: Women should focus on the joys of being a mother not losing weight

June 2, 2014 12:01 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat Minister for Women and Equalities Jenny Willott is today urging new mothers to focus on the joys of parenthood, not losing weight.

Jenny welcomes a new report by Susie Orbach and Holli Rubin which explores the health and psychological impact that body image can have on pregnant women and new mothers.

The report, Two for the Price of One: The impact of body image during pregnancy and after birth shows how preoccupation with body image problems can be unconsciously transmitted down to their children.

Discussing the research at the Royal Free Hospital, Jenny said:

"There is a relentless pressure on all women, celebrities or not, to be thin all the time and research shows mothers who are preoccupied with body image problems are not only damaging their bodies but these negative attitudes can be passed onto their children.

"It's sad that women feel pressured to lose weight so quickly after pregnancy, and it isn't healthy. That's why midwives and health visitors are vital players here. Pregnancy and the early months after having a baby should be a time when a women's focus is on her health and wellbeing, and that of her child, not losing weight."

Over the past year, a group of midwives, health visitors, health psychologists and psychotherapists have been meeting to discuss possible solutions. This group agrees that the best way forward is to raise awareness within the professions and to help midwives and health visitors to support mothers.

The Royal College of Midwives, the National Childbirth Trust and the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association, have all expressed support in the scheme.