The cynical targeting of this ‘initiative’ almost takes my breath away then leaves me feeling rather sad and defeated; as if people who are struggling to survive don’t have enough to contend with. They are targets for a dangerous enterprise to restrict weight gain in pregnant women. Laudable though the ignorant may see this as, the fact that it is still taboo, even in the near hysterical atmosphere and obsessive devotion to losing weight and counting calories, should sound an alarm.
If this provokes ironic weight gain and long term health consequences in their children like it did in the Dutch post war study, it is the parents who will have to answer for that not those conducting this experiment. That’s an important point, because the hook selling the programme is that it will be good for them and their babies.
During pregnancy, the body’s metabolism has to adjust enough to grow another human life, in a relatively short period of just 9 months. Its priority is to maintain a constant and regular supply of energy as any interruption could be utterly devastating to foetal development. This is crammed into a short enough period and at specific times its rate can be even more astonishing. Deliberately encouraging a lack of energy and potential nutrient shortfall can lead to long term and irreversible developmental and health consequences.
At this time the body’s capacity to alter its rate of use-of energy- can slow, for want of a better word to such an extent that tremendous weight gain can occur, which is unsurprising given this state. Yes it varies tremendously and can overcompensate sometimes to a very marked degree similar to when one has been on a diet. Those who’ve ever had a’ break’ within a long weight loss diet and have eaten what they wanted,for a week, say on holiday, know just how much one’s metabolism can adjust by the amount of weight they can put on in a short time, sometimes a pound or more in a day, on average.
That is because dieting slows the rate of burn and this break is not long enough for it to adjust itself to a greater setting. Pregnancy can mean the metabolic rate reaches a similar crawl, dieting at that time is simply not a good idea and can cause a rebound within the pregnancy itself or after giving birth. Given that there is the issue of post natal mood, one side effect of both restriction and the body conserving its energy can be mood disorder especially clinical depression, when you add that to the hormonal flux which itself can see to trigger post natal depression, it is not a time to get radical with the need for energy.
Science, although, I’m not even sure if this counts as that has a sad history of experimenting with the more marginalised and under resourced communities of society, it ought to know better by now, but seeks to continue using these people as guinea pigs. Someone has to be, but not with calorie cutting, it should be with a non invasive method of metabolic alteration-when that is found.
And the fact that these women are not being informed of what could be palpable risk to their unborn foetuses is lacking in conscience to say the least, let alone the experiment itself. There is no evidence that this sort of intervention will slim mother or child long term, but those who believe in it, believe hard and will not stop trying until they can get the results they want.
Whatever the weight concerns of society, this is just not a good idea, full stop and I cannot understand why it is being allowed to happen and who these people are accountable to if anything goes wrong. If they seriously wanted to aid pregnant women they could have look at other factors, training and monitoring of stress and its relief and better balance in the diet, if necessary.
Exercise especially to help with delivery could be a good idea too, especially when it comes to post natal health. Stress has long been linked with provoking weight gain in those susceptible but also with the development of diabetes, ditto, so it is important to know what a difference can be made by managing this. These women would be an apt target audience for that and the findings could be of use to others.
Calorie restriction can be incredibly stressful an exhausting, not least because of the range of defences the body uses to try and fight it off, which is why it doesn't work, the aspect of the body conserving energy means less available and there’s the stress of not being able to respond according to your needs and desires, ergo, fatiguing.
That doesn’t attest to the other things going on in women’s lives, looking after other children/family, and working. A real difference could have been made to contribute to better outcomes, instead, they might as well be a slimming club what’s wrong with people who cannot see anything but calories and what people eat?
The co-director of this programme says;
“obesity in pregnancy may be contributing to the epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes that we are seeing today.”
That’s right, MAY, that’s a rather small word for a taking a risk with these mothers and their prospective children, but then it’s like there are grades of humans to be experimented on, and they have been assigned lowly.
All of this dubiousness nestles nicely not just in the mania for calorie manipulation, several of these women had gastric bypass surgery and feared weight gain, such a shame that hard won losses compromise the women’s ability to put foetal development first. The growth of which is the basis of a lifetime.