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The Scourge Of The Pregorexics

Aug 9, 2008
Gone are the days when being pregnant was an excuse to eat for two. Women that had spent much of their lives on diets gave themselves over to the brooding and nesting instinct and allowed themselves to sit back and nurture the new life growing inside of them. Of course, there were those who did this in the extreme and became excessively overweight to the point of endangering their offspring, but in general it was considered a good thing to put your feet up and put on a couple of stone.

The tables have turned in the other direction now. In woman's quest to have everything, the perfect post baby body has entered at the top of the wish list and women are now pushing themselves into gruelling exercise regimes throughout their pregnancies in their bid to look immaculate after childbirth and to keep up with standards set by celebrities that come equipped with personal trainers and chefs.

How, and just as importantly why, would women want to put themselves through this during pregnancy right at a time when they should be absorbing all the nutrients they can get? When they should be making the most of any rest time they can get would they be out pounding the pavements in a bid to stay a certain way? Is it vanity or an attempt to keep themselves fit and healthy for childbirth and beyond? Women have managed for many years to come through childbirth without a fitness plan leading up to D day.

This new phenomena has even been given the name pregorexia - a take on the eating disorder of anorexia but for pregnant women. Markers that you are pregorexic are your proud boasts that you do not 'look pregnant from behind' and that you can still fit into your pre-pregnancy jeans until at least six or seven months.

Of course, there are some naturally slim women who will look this way whilst pregnant because of their genes but if it is not natural then it shouldn't be forced.
Babies will very rarely suffer because a woman's body is very adept at leeching all the nutrients it needs to send to the baby but go through childbirth and see what it takes out of you. With not enough reserves your energy levels will be at an all time low, right when you are having to get up for midnight feeds.

As well as gruelling exercise regimes, these mothers are literally starving themselves to ensure they don't gain too much weight during pregnancy. One of the main food groups they cut out is dairy because of its high fat content but this is just crazy. Calcium is needed by mother and baby more now than at any time in their lives and to deprive either party is sheer craziness.

Red meat is also something that women need during pregnancy for its high iron content. Pregnant women need, on average, fifty per cent more iron than the average woman and without it they will become anaemic which can lead to all sorts of problems when it comes to the birth itself where blood loss is likely to occur.

Extreme dieting and too much exercise during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight babies. Low birth weight is linked to heart disease, depression and poor growth and cognitive problems in later life.

Staying as active as you previously were whilst you are pregnant is a good thing to keep up to ensure you don't lose any of your flexibility and to aid with childbirth but a diet that is rich in essential nutrients is absolutely vital for a healthy mother and baby.
About the Author
Health expert Catherine Harvey looks at what makes a woman go to extremes during pregnancy to keep her figure.
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