Midwives facing calls to end decade-long Slimming World relationship over concerns ‘unethical’ arrangement may affect mothers’ mental health.

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By Creative Media News

Experts suggest midwives should sever controversial ties with Slimming World out of concern for mothers’ mental health.

The Royal College of Midwives has had a ten-year “relationship” with the diet industry, which is a major sponsor of its events and provides branded weight reduction guides and pamphlets for midwives to distribute to pregnant mothers.

Critics are now demanding a halt to the arrangement, labeling it as “unethical,” “incorrect,” and lacking scientific basis.

They argued that any emphasis on “slimming” posed a risk of promoting eating disorders and body image issues, as well as ignoring the significance of good nutrition during pregnancy and lactation.

Midwives facing calls to end decade-long slimming world relationship over concerns 'unethical' arrangement may affect mothers' mental health.
Midwives facing calls to end decade-long slimming world relationship over concerns 'unethical' arrangement may affect mothers' mental health.

Professor Amy Brown, an expert in newborn health and early parenting at Swansea University, stated, ‘Some women want assistance to prevent weight gain during pregnancy, and they should.

‘But messages should focus on nutrition, strength, and well-being, not slimming,’ as that word plays directly into the narrative that women’s bodies should look a specific way.’

She questioned whether there was scientific proof that the Slimming World approach to weight reduction and weight control should be pushed to pregnant women above alternative methods, such as nutritional counseling from trained dietitians.

In addition, she cited data from Public Health England indicating that so-called “body shaming” of overweight individuals can negatively impact mental health and eventually contribute to weight increase.

This week, Slimming World had a large booth at the entrance to the RCM annual conference in Newport, Wales, where it distributed cardboard body mass index (BMI) calculators for pregnant women.

The gadget informed women in higher BMI categories that they were at “increased risk” and “highest risk” of “developing weight-related medical concerns and experiencing complications throughout your pregnancy.

There is evidence that being overweight during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of health issues, including hypertension, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia.

In its guidelines, the NHS watchdog NICE discourages pregnant women from participating in weight loss programs, noting, “Weight loss programs are not recommended during pregnancy since they may impair the health of the unborn child.”

The RCM drew an angry response on social media when it solicited members’ opinions on “how Slimming World can continue to assist you in assisting women to control their weight throughout and after pregnancy.”

Exercise and nutrition expert Dr. Rehana Jawadwala, head of Mummy Yoga, commented on the post: ‘I am sorry to see such an obvious corporate objective masquerading as “help” at a time when individuals feel so vulnerable about their changing bodies.

“Pregnancy and parenthood are times to adopt healthy dietary habits and engage in physical exercise opportunities that promote mental health.”

The perinatal period is not the time for judgmental and outmoded approaches to body weight and appearance.

In this regard alone, Slimming World has plenty to answer for, and hence the relationship is horrible.

A student midwife stated, “I am quite dissatisfied with this partnership.”

If women desire to support, it should come from dieticians and nutritionists, not a firm that profits by promoting restrictive dieting.

It causes individuals to feel guilt and shame when it comes to eating, despise their bodies, and believe that their whole purpose in life is to lose weight.

Another midwife remarked, “It disgusts me that the RCM has associated with an organization whose primary goal is to make money rather than to educate people about nutrition.

I would never suggest a patient to Slimming World instead of instructing them on how to eat a healthy, calorie-controlled diet.

A doula and lactation counselor added, “There is so much wrong with this: bad messaging to women during and after pregnancy, wrong messages from a company that profits from weight reduction, the wrong focus for the RCM, and wrong collaboration.”

Support women; do not amplify the notion that body shaming postpartum women is acceptable.

In a pamphlet distributed to health professionals, Slimming World stated that pregnant members wishing to attend its support groups need the assistance of a midwife.

Added: “During a member’s pregnancy, our support focuses on healthy lifestyle behaviors rather than weight loss, with the primary goal of preventing weight gain.”

“During a member’s pregnancy, Slimming World neither recommends nor encourages weight loss.

Instead, we encourage members to consume a balanced, healthy diet and engage in regular physical activity.

Additionally, we assist members in attaining any weight-related recommendations issued by their healthcare provider, with an emphasis on preventing excessive weight gain.

A representative for the RCM stated, “Every midwife and maternity support worker desires the safest and healthiest pregnancy and birth for the women in their care.”

We are aware that a high BMI during pregnancy can pose issues for both mother and child, including the risk of preterm birth and gestational diabetes, both of which can have lasting consequences.

‘Encouraging healthy weight management and healthier eating during pregnancy is something our members support daily, which is why we’re thrilled to work with Slimming World.

Through the relationship, our members have access to information and assistance to assist pregnant women in making educated eating selections.

This contributes to good weight management.

Our cooperation with Slimming World also helps the proper weight control of our members.

“Slimming World has been a tremendous sponsor of our Caring for You program, which focuses on the health and well-being of our staff.

This is especially crucial because midwives and social workers sometimes struggle to take breaks and have limited access to nutritious food options.

Dietitian and manager of nutrition, research, and health policy at Slimming World, Carolyn Pallister, stated, ‘We are delighted to give support to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers seeking assistance with weight management.

We collaborated with the Royal College of Midwives to establish our method more than two decades ago in response to requests from women and midwives seeking this help.

We urge our members to consume a balanced, healthy diet and be physically active rather than advising them to lose weight or gain weight during their pregnancy.

We have helped thousands of pregnant women effectively manage their weight and lower the risk of weight-related problems.

This week, our nutrition and health team attended the Annual Conference of the Royal College of Midwives to present information on Slimming World and our approach to its members, especially those who may not completely comprehend the policy.

We have had a great deal of positive feedback and have enjoyed hearing from midwives who have witnessed firsthand how pregnant women in their care have benefited from Slimming World assistance and services, such as our website.

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