Thin & pregnant: The reality of "Mommyrexia" - CBS46 News

Thin & pregnant: The reality of "Mommyrexia"

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Consult a doctor about what's right for you. Consult a doctor about what's right for you.
Consult a doctor about what's right for you. Consult a doctor about what's right for you.
(Toledo News Now) -

A new term describes a new kind of mom. Mommyrexic.

We're talking about moms who try to stay rail thin during or after pregnancy, and who go to all extremes avoid the weight gain.

But, it's so much more than a buzz word. It's gaining popularity and putting babies at risk.

Magazines splash pictures of celebrities like Bethenny Frankel, Rachel Zoe and Victoria Beckham all over their covers comparing the bodies of pregnant celebrities in the "baby weight battles."


At the same time, they refer to celebs like Kim Kardashian as a "whale."

The pressure to stay thin and beautiful may have never been higher for moms, who also happen to be producing a human life at the same time they're getting criticized for their weight.

But, far from the camera flashes of Hollywood, Julia Vilela, a Perrysburg mom of two, says the media adds the pressure and moms buy into it.

"It's also about comparing ourselves to other people," she says. "To shoot up to 45 pounds was huge. And I thought it would come off a lot easier than it did and that was just really frustrating that it didn't."

Julia's friend, Erin Greiger, is four months pregnant with her third child and remembers hearing nasty comments behind her back during her first pregnancy.

"One of the people I worked with would call me fatty," she says. "The doctor said I gained the appropriate amount of weight, but I was surprised the comments I would still get, like, 'Aren't you due yet?' or 'Haven't you had that baby?' or 'Are you past your due date?' or 'Are you sure there's not two in there?' and it just blew my mind."


Doctor Karen Trappe, MD., is a Toledo OBGYN. She says having a body issue in pregnancy is very common and as many as 25 percent of pregnant women experience body issues.

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In fact, she says, "Mommyrexia" is a dangerous trend and is just another word for a real eating disorder. 

"It's trying to take a serious medical condition, such as Anorexia and making it a little lighter and making it a little bit cute, which it's not. Serious lifelong medical complications can occur from Anorexia." 

Doctor Trappe says a healthy weight gain for a pregnancy is 15 to 35 pounds, depending on the mother's pre-pregnancy weight.

Anything less could cause major complications for the baby. 

"This could affect brain development and increased morbidity and mortality of the infant. So long term medical problems as well as even fetal death could occur. It also increases the risk of preterm delivery, and we do know babies born early do have a lot of additional medical complications."

"Unfortunately the media has portrayed it as 'get rid of it as fast as you can'," said Greiger. "Just the fact that it has to be gone so soon. Or the magazines that you see, I'm sure a lot of them are air brushed, and so what they're portraying is not real life."

So what do you think about Mommyrexia and the pressure on pregnant women to stay thin? Join the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #Mommyrexia11! You can also share your stories and pics of your beautiful baby bellies with us on Facebook and we'll put them in our "Celebrate the Belly" slideshow.

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