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Most new mums have low self-esteem and feel under pressure to lose baby weight, survey shows 21-10-13

Most new mums have low self-esteem and feel under pressure to lose baby weight, survey shows 21-10-13

Weight gained in pregnancy has a negative impact on the self-esteem of 82 per cent of new mums and around a third (31 per cent) feel under pressure to get back to their pre-pregnancy size because of society and the media’s obsession with ‘ideal weight’, a survey has found.

Monday, 21st October 2013

Weight gained in pregnancy has a negative impact on the self-esteem of 82 per cent of new mums and around a third (31 per cent) feel under pressure to get back to their pre-pregnancy size because of society and the media’s obsession with ‘ideal weight’, a survey has found.

The survey of 1,015 new mums, conducted by Slimming World, looked at the reasons why women decide to lose the weight they gained in pregnancy and the impact this has on their health, self-esteem and families. 

Yet while many women feel under pressure to keep up with celebrity mums in the media, the study found that when it comes to making changes to lose weight, internal feelings like wanting to feel better about their size and body shape (22 per cent), increasing self-confidence (19 per cent) and improving health (17 per cent) are far more likely to persuade new mums to start a diet than celebrity culture (one per cent) and social pressure (two per cent).

“In recent years we’ve noticed a huge increase in the column inches given to celebrity mums who slim back into their pre-pregnancy body only weeks after giving birth,” says Carolyn Pallister, Slimming World dietitian and public health manager. “Yet while these celebrity mums are often said to encourage fad diets, our study suggests that in fact they have little influence other than to make women feel guilty and inadequate.

“Rather than going on a diet to keep up with the latest celebrity slimmer, the majority of new mums’ priorities are far closer to home – their own health and self-esteem plus that of their family. Some 86 per cent of the mums we polled said they felt that losing weight by making healthy lifestyle changes had resulted in them becoming better parents as they had more energy, a better understanding of healthy eating, more confidence as a parent and felt better able to help the family get active. This is hugely important and shows how important new mums can be in influencing the whole family to have a healthy lifestyle.

“Losing weight by making healthy lifestyle changes is better for health than following a quick fix faddy diet and it’s more likely to result in long term weight loss too. In our study, 70 per cent of new mums waited for at least three months before joining a Slimming World group, suggesting that new mums are waiting until they feel ready to make those long-term changes before taking action – which leads to even greater success.”

The survey was conducted ahead of the launch of a new website (http://www.slimmingworld.com/mums) created jointly by Slimming World and the Royal College of Midwives that offers advice and health tips to mums and mums-to-be through every stage of their pregnancy, from pre-conception to post-natally.

Louise Silverton, Director for Midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives, says: “This survey shows that weight gain in pregnancy can have a long-lasting impact on women’s health, self-esteem and confidence as a parent.

“We recognised that there are confusing and conflicting messages about how to manage weight before, during and after pregnancy and there’s a huge need for straightforward clear information and healthy lifestyle advice. So we’ve worked with Slimming World to provide a resource that we hope will help improve the health and self-esteem of women and help them to confidently pass on healthy habits and lifestyles to their families.”

Case study

Mum of five, Suzanne Morley, from Mablethorpe in Lincoln, had been overweight all her life, but really started to put weight on after having children. The 32-year-old had gained weight with each child and hated the way she looked.

“My confidence was so low that I just didn’t want to be seen. And with four children to look after I didn’t feel like I was doing the best job as a parent either. It definitely affected my self-esteem. At my heaviest I weight 19st 12lbs and when I saw celebrity mums on the TV looking amazing only weeks after giving birth, it made me feel even worse about myself. I was just fed up with being a big mum and I just wanted to be me. That’s when I decided to join Slimming World.

“I’ve now lost 9st 12lbs and life is completely different. I fell pregnant after losing a few stone and my midwife was keen for me to keep attending Slimming World as she said ‘it’s not a diet, it’s just healthy eating’ – which is right. My labour for my fifth child was the best I’ve had and I feel so healthy now. I’ve stopped relying on ready meals and began cooking healthy homemade curries or chillis for the whole family. My confidence has gone through the roof. I’m a real hands-on mum now. We live near a beach and I love joining in with the kids playing football, cricket and tennis. I’m no longer on the sidelines and I feel like a confident mum who is giving her children the best possible start in life.”

Key survey stats
The survey of 1,105 new mums, who had given birth within the last 2 years, was conducted on the Slimming World member website in September 2013. Key statistics included:
• 51% said gaining weight in pregnancy affected their self-esteem
• 82% said retaining weight after giving birth affected their self-esteem
• 31% said they felt under social and/or media pressure to be an ideal weight after having their baby
• 38% new mums were tempted to follow a quick-fix faddy diet to lose their baby weight, before joining Slimming World
• 70% of new mums wait for at least 3 months before joining Slimming World
• 78% new mums lose 1-2lbs per week at Slimming World
• New mums said they felt more calm and peaceful, more energy and more positive and confident and less downhearted and low.
• 80% of new mums said their self-esteem had improved since joining Slimming World
• 86% of new mums think losing weight with Slimming World has made them a better parent – 74% have more energy, 59% have a better understanding of healthy eating, 58% feel more confident as a mum, 51% feel they can help their family have a more active lifestyle


-ends-

For more information on the survey of for further comment from Carolyn Pallister, Slimming World dietitian and public health manager or successful member Suzanne Morley, please call Leigh Greenwood on 07940 582491 or email leigh.greenwood@slimming-world.com . To contact the RCM call the Press Office on 020 7312 3456, or email  pressofficer@rcm.org.uk


To view the website go to: www.slimmingworld.com/mums

Editors notes

About Slimming World
Slimming World works in partnership with the Royal College of Midwives to provide healthy eating advice for mums to be and new mums. It is the only major weight loss club to support women through every stage of their pregnancy from pre-conception to post-natally. Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell (OBE, FRSA) 44 years ago and there are now more than 10,000 groups held weekly nationwide via a network of more than 3,500 Slimming World Consultants who receive specific training in dietary aspects and the role of physical activity in weight control. The highly developed training focuses on facilitating behaviour change in a caring group environment, acknowledged by experts as being the most effective way to support long-term weight management. Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, Food Optimising, and the principles behind Slimming World’s philosophy are based on a deep understanding of the challenges faced by overweight people. It integrates practical, up-to-date dietary advice with a highly developed support system based on caring and compassion. For more information visit www.slimmingworld.com or call 0844 897 8000.

About the Royal College of Midwives
The Royal College of Midwives is the voice of midwifery. It is the UK’s only trade union and professional organisation led by midwives for midwives. The vast majority of the midwifery profession are RCM members. The RCM promotes midwifery, quality maternity services and professional standards. It supports and represent its members individually and collectively in all four UK countries.  The RCM influences on behalf of its members and for the interests of the women and families for which they care.  For more information visit the RCM website at www.rcm.org.uk.