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Fat-shamed by banter at my pregnancy scan

A mum-of-four said she felt "fat-shamed" at a pregnancy scan and during follow-up appointments.

Alexandra Dodds said her weight was raised at every appointment, and circled with a pen so vigorously in her notes that she wanted to lose them.

"It was just kind of jokes, like 'hope you've stopped the Christmas snacks', or 'make sure you've thrown the box of chocolates away'," said Ms Dodds. "I didn't feel like it was said in a spiteful way to try to upset me, it was like banter, but I don't feel like you can banter about that," she added.

Baby Brianna was born healthy at home before a midwife could arrive in July, last year.

Alexandra said she only felt able to speak out about what she wanted during her pregnancy and labour because of three previous pregnancies.

"If I feel any level of shame, that's just a clear indication that I have to talk about it, because it means I'm not the only person and other people will understand," she added.

Joint research by Cardiff University and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) found women with higher BMIs felt stigmatised by risk messaging in maternity care.

The Wrisk Project, which surveyed more than 7,000 women, looked at how risk is communicated in pregnancy following concerns it didn't always "reflect the evidence base".

Clare Murphy, director of BPAS, said the work showed they hadn't got it right. "Pregnant women are often infantilized, and it feels like sometimes decisions are made about them, for them," she said.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said care should be based on respect and understanding of women's needs.

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Source: BBC News, 3 January 2021

Related resources

My ob-gyn kept shaming me for my weight gain during pregnancy - patient video


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