As most readers of this blog will be aware, I am not a subscriber to the oft-repeated myth that obesity is the root of all evil and acting as a vehicle for the second coming of Christ. I believe that a lot of it is bullshit anorexic scaremongering created by fashion magazines, drug companies and Jenny Craig in the name of self-restraint and tummy-rumblings-being-disguised-as-willpower and “oh the humanity and women and children fainting at the sight of the ugly fat person”. And the maven.
It really should come as no surprise to read this article, where “Lisa” was refused admission to Werribee Mercy Hospital in Melbourne, because her BMI was 41. One point above “healthy”. Apparently they deemed her pregnancy to be too high risk to give birth in the private hospital. And they assessed this “risk” in terms of her weight alone. Maybe th earticle has left out that she is having a general anaesthetic and a c-section, in which case I would understand the need for neo-natal care, but seriously — what increased risk does an overweight woman have for a normal delivery? None. Most of the risk is with failed inductions and general anaesthetic. You know, hospital interventions?
As you might know, I am an overweight woman and have had major frustrations with the medical fraternity. I even planned to write a ranty blog about people going on about the “big cuff” (ie larger blood pressure cuff)like 60% of the population doesn’t need it. And its a surprise. Or people feeling the need to inform me that I have a tummy. Boohoo. Really?
Anyway, as someone who is classified as high risk because of various ailments (not related to carrying weight) that add up to serious trouble for me in pregnancy, I find it perplexing that society feel the need to demonise the overweight, especially a pregnant woman who is at her most vulnerable time right now.
I for one hope that Lisa mkes an EEO case out of it and creates some pressure on the government to amend the Equal Opportunity Act. The discrimination is not based in science, purely on prejudice and assumptions (that her baby is going to be at risk etc etc). We have a long way to go with regard to this, and I hope that this highlights the issue — at least for 30 seconds of the fly-by-night media’s attention.