Normal, healthy births happen every day, and for women of every size. And yet birth care professionals often alienate plus-size moms-to-be with shaming, inadequate equipment, and mistreatment. In this episode of Birth Allowed Radio, we talk about plus size birth and how to find a practitioner who will treat you like a person, not a set of risk factors. My special guest is Jen McLellan of www.plussizebirth.com.

“My midwife was the first health care provider to ever touch my body with compassion.”

Plus size pregnant women are often treated differently during the pregnancy and birthing process, even though 60% of the population in child-bearing years are considered overweight or obese. But our bodies are designed for this, and we can have healthy outcomes. And if we do develop complications, it isn’t because we are bad people. We should be fully supported along our journey to motherhood, and not to be made to feel ashamed.

Let’s talk about people as human beings, not just statistics and worst case scenarios.

Instead of focusing on negative possibilities, using shame and scare tactics, it is important to focus on the positive outcomes that we want. Women who are shamed are less likely to receive routine medical care and more likely to gain weight. If we make risks seem like foregone conclusions then what is the incentive to make the pregnancy as healthy as possible?

It is important to connect with size-friendly care providers.

• They have worked through any biases they have around weight and health. www.obesity.org/obesity/resources…as-stigmatization
• They don’t classify pregnant mothers as high risk based solely on BMI.
• They have the proper equipment (i.e. larger blood pressure cuff, larger speculum, scale with higher upper limit, appropriate labour bed). Your first clue about this is whether they have chairs without arms in the waiting room. The message is: “If you fit in here, then you are welcome. If you don’t, you aren’t welcome.”
• They have honest and compassionate conversations about health and weight; this isn’t about avoiding talking about risks.
“Pregnancy is an opportunity to change the relationship that you have with your body.”

Resources mentioned:

Get Jen’s Plus Size Pregnancy Bundle (30% off with code 30off) – plussizebirth.com/my-plus-size-pregnancy-bundle/
Become a size friendly professional – benourished.org/trainings-post/pr…linical-practice/
Check out Jen’s new website: www.plusmommy.com

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