We are all constantly being bombarded with tales of obese Britain and how we are shoring up health problems for the future generations even before they are born yet new research reveals a shocking lack of information being given to expectant mothers on how to manage their weight during pregnancy.
Cookery writer, food expert and mum-of-three Annabel Karmel is cooking up the most important campaign of her life. Annabel – who has sold more than four million books worldwide – is on a mission to help pregnant mums before their babies even arrive.
Annabel is fighting for better nutrition education and greater awareness in relation to how much weight pregnant women can safely put on far earlier on in their pregnancy – and even before they get pregnant.
“The experts all focus on the health of the baby during pregnancy, but there needs to be greater help for mums-to-be when it comes to their wellbeing and their diet.
“Currently, British authorities do not issue an actual guideline on recommended weight gain during pregnancy; they only suggest the ‘usual’ weight gain during pregnancy. This is not specific enough as it is not relevant for the high percentage of over and underweight women in the UK. Plus, unlike other countries, here in the UK we do not have guidelines regarding weight gain during each trimester meaning it is impossible to track rate of weight gain. No one organisation or body has campaigned for clearer guidelines for weight gain in pregnancy to date – which is quite surprising I think given many of the official organisations state that there are problems with too much and too little weight gain.
“If you look at other countries, they are a lot more advanced. Pregnant women in America and Australia have national guidelines to help them and the US updated its guidelines to reflect changing US demographics, particularly the surge in obese or overweight people. I want the UK health authorities and the Government to take notice and give similar advice. If we can save just one baby or mother from health problems, it will be a job well done.”
“I believe it’s in the mother’s, the baby’s, the hard-working healthcare professionals’ and the NHS’s interests to provide better nutrition education and greater awareness in relation to how much weight pregnant women can safely put on far earlier on in their pregnancy. The end result would be a positive one for everyone and enable our next generation to be as healthy as possible.”
- 59% of women were not given any guidance on appropriate weight gain during pregnancy and a further 11% can’t recall receiving any at all
- Only 30% of UK women have received some weight gain guidance during their pregnancy
- Nine per cent of UK women got pregnancy weight ‘advice’ from friends and 8% from a relative
- According to the research, two-thirds of pregnant women/mums (66%) are unaware of what a normal woman’s weight gain should be for a single baby pregnancy
- When pregnant women and mums were asked what is the average weight gain, 19% thought it should be 8kg or 1 stone 4lbs (this would not be not enough weight gain); and 13% thought it was anywhere between 2 stone 7lbs to 3 stones 2lb (experts would view this as too much weight gain).
- Women in the UK are getting bigger: 16 -24 yrs: 31% of girls are overweight and 10% are obese; 25-34 yrs: 49% women overweight and 21% obese; 35-44 yrs: 55% women are overweight and 27% obese
- Almost one in five pregnant women have a BMI of 30 or over at the beginning of their pregnancy (compared to the normal BMI which is between 20-25)
- Annabel Karmel MBE is today (21 June 2012) launching a campaign for much clearer information to be made available relating to women regarding what weight gain they can expect during pregnancy, clearer guidelines relating to rate of weight gain in pregnancy, and guidance regarding what is ideal /acceptable weight gain during pregnancy.
To help inform expectant mothers throughout each stage of their pregnancy and provide tips and advice on what to eat and weight management, Annabel Karmel is publishing Eating for Two (RRP £12.99 Ebury Press). The book guides expectant mothers throughout each stage of their pregnancy, offering tips and advice on what to eat and avoid. It includes 94 recipes developed by Annabel Karmel as well as her expert advice for mums-to-be.
“During each of my own pregnancies I received lots of nutrition advice from all different sources – yet a lot of it was confusing and contradictory. I wanted this book to really help women at such an important stage in their lives.
“Many women still believe that they should be eating for two throughout the whole of their pregnancy and are unaware that their energy requirements from food don’t need to increase significantly in the first two trimesters. This book demystifies this, and many other pregnancy myths, providing readers with definitive advice, as well as identifying pregnancy super nutrients for mums-to-be and their baby.”
For up-to-date information, advice, tips and recipes, Annabel can be followed on twitter @AnnabelKarmel, on her facebook page (Annabel Karmel) and at www.annabelkarmel.com
 546 UK women (pregnant women, new mums and mums of toddler and school aged children) took part in the research using a combination of online and face to face research. The research, commissioned by Ebury Publishing and Annabel Karmel, was conducted between 17 April-20 April. Online research was conducted on www.annabelkarmel.com website.
 Women were asked what is the average weight gain for a normal weighted women during a single baby pregnancy
 Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists