Rules, rules, rules

May 28, 2009

The Institute of Medicine has put out a new set of recommendations for how much weight pregnant women should gain over the course of their pregnancy.  And, if that wasn’t enough, they added to the expectations by recommending that overweight and obese women lose weight before getting pregnant.

Now I understand that this is all with the best of intentions and promotes healthy babies and I am a big fan of healthy babies, but I am also concerned that this contributes to the already overburdened expectations that are put on women of child bearing age. 

I remember completely freaking out when I was first pregnant with M and looked at the food section of What to Expect.  The dietary recommendations were so complicated and hysterical, causing me to worry that I was going to permanently damage my child if I didn’t eat the perfect amount of grains, proteins, legumes, fruits, etc.  I was so worried that I started making an excel spreadsheet to get myself organized.  Luckily the sane part of my brain kicked in quickly and I never opened the spreadsheet again.  But the pressure was real.

Already the list of what you should and shouldn’t do as soon as you find out you are pregnant is incredibly long: no alcohol, no smoking, change your exercise regimen, avoid certain fish, no soft cheeses, etc., etc., etc.  And once you’ve had a kid, if you are breast feeding, you continue to watch your diet carefully.  But now, if you think you might become pregnant and you fall into certain weight categories, you need to jump on the overly conscious eating bandwagon even earlier.

It just seems like this is yet another addition to the list of things that women need to do in order to be “good” mothers and it just doesn’t seem fair.  I mean, if you are going to add something to that list of expectations, at least take something else off. I’ll take a glass of wine here or there, sushi, or stinky cheeses.

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