The problem with BMI in pregnancy
In some areas of healthcare - specifically pregnancy and fertility treatment, SO much emphasis is placed on BMI. Pregnancy should be a time for joy and happiness, but when you're bigger you suddenly have to worry about how your body can impact the care you will receive.
The full range of factors that impact a person's health and well-being are not considered and many fat people are denied access to services that thinner people are welcomed to use.
Outdated and old fashioned
For anyone unfamiliar, BMI (Body Mass Index) calculates a person's weight and height to determine whether they fall into an "underweight," "normal," "overweight," or "obese" category – these labels alone are problematic. While BMI can be a useful tool for assessing general health risks, it's critical to remember that it's just one piece of a much larger and more complex puzzle.
In recent years, BMI has been proved to be an outdated and inaccurate measure of health. Did you know the calculation doesn’t consider gender, age, race or ethnicity? Nor does it take into account important factors such as muscle mass, bone density, or overall fitness?
This means that even people who fall within the "normal" BMI range may not be as healthy as they appear on paper. Thin doesn’t automatically equal good and fat doesn’t equal bad.
No "one size fits all"
Many health professionals hyperfocus on BMI when working with pregnant people and those seeking fertility treatment. They give undue attention to a person's weight and overlook other critical aspects of their health and wellbeing. This super narrow view can have a significant and negative impact on their mental health and self-image, causing unnecessary stress and anxiety during what should be a beautiful time.
It's essential to remember that there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to healthcare. Every person's body is different, and their needs and circumstances will vary. Focusing solely on BMI can lead to undue stress, shame, and self-blame for individuals whose weight falls outside what we are conditioned to believe is the "normal" range.
A universal approach
While it's important to prioritize our health and well-being, we MUST remember that health is a complex and multifaceted issue. Focusing solely on BMI during pregnancy and fertility treatment can do more harm than good, leading to anxiety and feelings of unworthiness. It’s time we embraced a more universal approach to care, one that recognizes and considers the unique differences of each person and works to empower and help them achieve their goals instead of exclusionary practices that perpetuate unhealthy societal norms of what good bodies look like and how they are likely to function.