Big Birtha had her first child in 2010, in hospital, with a BMI on booking recorded as 45+.
She had her second child in 2012, a home birth, with a BMI on booking recorded as 44.
Both times she was asked to undertake a battery of tests and referrals because of her size, and she spent a lot of her pregnancies doing research; reading guidance and policies galore in order to be fully informed.
Often it transpired that she was better informed about the specific health risks of being overweight than the health professionals supposedly advising her, which wasn’t always popular.
Having done the research, Big Birtha noticed that there was quite a bit of discrimination and misinformation on the part of health professionals towards her.
Wouldn’t it be a lot easier if there was one single website which collated all this information, she thought? It could also provide a support network for women experiencing negativity because of their size? And lo, the idea for BigBirthas was born.
Being bigger when getting pregnant is associated with greater risks, it’s true. It would be naive to ignore those risks. And when those risks do arise, extra care is needed, as with anyone experiencing problems, but Big Birtha’s perspective is that those risks have become overexaggerated, and misrepresented, and the treatment of larger women is becoming overcautious and overmedicalised as a result.
Most overweight pregnant women go on to have normal pregnancies, with no complications. And yet they are not treated accordingly; as any other normal pregnant woman, which aside from anything else, is a shame as doing so could save the NHS a fortune!
If we bigger women want to be treated normally, we need to:
a) take control of the facts and information available and
b) fight our corner to get the births we deserve and are capable of
Pregnancy is a magical time. Your body was made for this. Have faith in yourself.