19 May 2010
Body image putting pregnant women at risk
Pregnant women may not be meeting guidelines on daily fruit and vegetable intake. © istockphoto
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Pregnant women may not be eating enough fruit and vegetables, according to preliminary findings of a study by RMIT University and the Parenting Research Centre.
Researchers are investigating women’s experiences during pregnancy. In particular, they want to understand the challenges women face and how these impact on women’s health and wellbeing during pregnancy.
Preliminary results from this study suggest that pregnant women are not meeting the Australian Healthy Eating Guidelines on daily fruit and vegetable intake.
As the health of the pregnant woman has important implications for her later health and that of her baby, an understanding of what impacts on women’s eating and other lifestyle habits is important.
Principal researcher, Jessica Tata, said that women in general were under so much pressure to be healthy and to look a certain way, and these pressures seemed to be increased during pregnancy.
"The term 'yummy mummy' has become popular and may place additional pressure on pregnant women who are already experiencing and dealing with a lot of change in their life," Ms Tata said."
In particular, women who are unhappy with their body weight and shape and who have difficulties controlling their eating may be particularly susceptible to the pressures of the 'yummy mummy' ideal and experience difficulties coping with the changes during pregnancy.
"If we can understand women’s experiences during pregnancy and the barriers they face in living healthy lifestyles, then we can learn how to best assist women to achieve healthy pregnancies."
It is important to note that this preliminary result is based on a small sample and that more women are encouraged to volunteer to participate in this project to help represent the experiences of all Australian pregnant women.
Women aged over 18 and who are within the first 18 weeks of pregnancy are needed to take part in the study, which involves completing two confidential surveys during their pregnancy.
For more information or to volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone the Parenting Research Centre on (03) 8660 3500.