Bye-Bye Bump-Shaming: It's Time For A Change

By Melinda Nicci - 07:58

At long last, the climate is changing. These collective and monumental movements that are empowering women's voices that have been silenced for too long is a desperately needed breath of fresh air. It's time to breathe in deep and raise our voices together on another issue. 

The conversation on pregnancy is due for a change as well. Now is the time to shout about what women CAN do in pregnancy. I bet you’ve heard them all before: the “don’ts”, the “can’ts”, and the “shouldn’t do’s” in pregnancy, and the bump-shaming that goes along with it. I’ve heard it all too and it’s time for a change.

We are launching a global campaign to dispel outdated myths and misconceptions surrounding exercise during pregnancy. Problematic misconceptions such as “exercise will make you more tired” and “you shouldn’t run because it’s too jarring for the baby” have been shown to hold women back from exercising, which is not beneficial (and even harmful) to their health and the health of their baby. That’s why at Baby2Body we’re kick-starting our first advocacy campaign called “Shape Your Pregnancy”.

I want women everywhere to come together, to fight these misconceptions and create a supportive community around this movement. Now is the time for a new normal. We’re busting the myths around exercise in pregnancy and taking control of the conversation to say: active pregnancies are healthier pregnancies. We’ve created this global platform to empower women with the confidence, tools, and knowledge to shape their pregnancy their way. This campaign is aimed at inspiring and educating women on a global scale, to help women stay fit and healthy in pregnancy and beyond, and ultimately to create a generation of healthier babies.

This movement is so important to me because it’s a story I’ve lived. As a lifelong athlete, I was horrified when my doctor told me that I should just “sit on the sofa and eat biscuits” when I asked about maintaining my exercise routine while pregnant. Over 20 years ago this drove me to critically explore the reasons why many women follow this sort of outdated advice. Even today these myths are pervasive and are still a part of the language around pregnancy, and it’s stopping women from exercising due to fear of judgment, lack of support, and uncertainty on what to trust.  

Statistics show that many women are prohibited from doing the exercise they would like to because they feel judged by society. This often results in women being shamed on social media, and that’s magnified during pregnancy. A study by Sport England published in 2014 revealed that 75% of women feel judged for exercising, especially while pregnant. We conducted our own research among our users to gain greater insight into the problem during pregnancy. We found that approximately 55% of women reported that they did not feel they had enough information to exercise safely and effectively during pregnancy, and 40% of women received little to no advice from their healthcare practitioner on exercise during pregnancy. We want to live in a time where all women have the resources, knowledge, and support to exercise throughout their pregnancy, without fear of judgment, shame or criticism.

Baby2Body is leading the way on pregnancy health and wellbeing and we aim to reach 5 million women with this powerful message by the end of 2018.

For more information check out our campaign website here.

You Might Also Like