New mums 'feel pressure to lose weight'

New mums 'feel pressure to lose weight'

Many new mothers in Northern Ireland are signing up to 'pramercise' style classes as they feel under pressure to lose weight.

According to the Public Health Agency, around one in five women who gave birth in the region last year were obese.While one in three surveyed by Slimming World expressed feeling under pressure about their weight.Over 80% of new mothers experienced a loss of self-esteem after having their baby.Geraldine McAleenan, who owns a centre in Newry offering the exercise class for new mothers, said that there is an emphasis being put on keeping active during pregnancy because more women are now suffering from obesity.And some women taking part in the class admitted that reality TV and celebrity culture had influenced them, while others said it was simply themselves that were putting on the pressure to lose weight.New mum and SDLP Councillor Claire Hanna said the focus on women and their weight in the media was "frustrating"."Certainly when women have just had a baby, and should be able to enjoy that and should be able to relax a bit, I find the debate quite frustrating," she commented.Nadia Duncan from NI4Kids magazine had baby son Marcus 10 months ago and she believes she has found a sensible approach to staying healthy while caring for a newborn."I found that with living in a house with three flights of stairs, carrying this one around and just being sensible, going out walking, that sort of thing," she said."But I didn't personally feel I needed to get an exercise plan and get that baby weight off."The Royal College of Midwives have advised that women should take care with pre and post-natal exercise."Your body will recover from pregnancy, nature is a wonderful way of allowing that to happen," Mary Caddell explained."I would obviously say, breastfeed, because it's one of the ways of using up those additional calories that mother nature has placed there while feeding your baby, your figure will return and you'll feel healthier."

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