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What Pregnant Women Worry About

What Pregnant Women Worry About

The results of a new survey tell us more about the health concerns of pregnant women in the UK.

A new survey of pregnant women and new mums commissioned by publishers Dorling Kindersley to mark the launch of The Day-by-Day Pregnancy Book shows that in today's celebrity obsessed culture many expectant mums struggle with their changing bodies, and remain concerned with weight gain, exercise and body image throughout pregnancy.

To mark the publication of this comprehensive daily guide to pregnancy & childbirth, DK spoke to 800 pregnant women throughout the UK about their experiences of pregnancy, asking them about exercise, diet and general lifestyle. The publisher also spoke to 1159 expectant and new mums about changes in lifestyle following childbirth with the following results.

Pregnant Women Worry About

Bullet  Nearly a quarter of women incorrectly thought it was safe to do any type of exercise during pregnancy, with 63% stating that your body would tell you what it could cope with exercise-wise

Bullet  Sex and body-image are the two main areas affected by pregnancy and birth with 1/3 of women reporting a decline in the quality of their sex lives after birth and over 1/3 women claiming to feel less attractive during pregnancy

Bullet  51% of women incorrectly guessed the average amount of weight gained during pregnancy, with over 1/3 saying 1-2 stone would be average (around two stone is the average and advisable amount of weight to put on during pregnancy)

Other Pregnancy Worries

Bullet  When questioned about their sex lives following childbirth, 1 in 3 women stated that their sex lives had deteriorated since birth of their child

Bullet  When asked how soon after childbirth did you have sex, 60% of women resumed sexual relations somewhere between 3 weeks and 2 months after having their baby (the average length of time between having the baby and resuming sex activity was 8.3 weeks)

Bullet  Unsurprisingly, only 1 in 250 women have sex within a week of giving birth, 1 in 16 did not have sex for at least 6 months after the birth of their baby

Body image

A Worried Pregnant Woman
When asked how respondents felt about their appearance during pregnancy, nearly half of women surveyed said that their partner found them more attractive. However, over a third of women said that they didn't feel as attractive as previously.

Smoking & Drinking
Bullet  Encouragingly nearly ¾ of women surveyed didn't smoke before they became pregnant, however out of those that did, 1 in 5 women gave up smoking during pregnancy.

Bullet  50% of women gave up drinking as soon as they knew they were pregnant, and 1/4 of women cut down to the odd drink once they discovered they were expecting.

Diet & Exercise
Bullet  Despite government advice, some women (15%) saw no need to alter their diet when pregnant, and 1/4 of women allowed themselves to eat more of most foods. 1 in 4 women had cravings of certain foods during pregnancy, however over half stopped/reduced their intake of soft cheeses and 50% of women stopped or cut down on raw fish and undercooked meat.

Bullet  1 in 5 women agreed that it was inadvisable to do any form of exercise during pregnancy. 2/3rds of women sensibly recognised that it was safe to do exercise although strenuous workouts should be avoided. 63% of women incorrectly stated that your body would tell you what you could cope with exercise wise and 1 in 2 women said you should try and take gentle exercise but no more than walking or stretching during late pregnancy.

Bullet  Just over half of women were eating more healthily since becoming pregnant.

Bullet  When asked what the average amount of weight gain should be, 51% of women incorrectly guessed the right amount, over 1/3 said that 1-2 stones would be average when in fact around 2 stones is the average and advisable amount of weight to put on in pregnancy.

August 2009

800 pregnant women were surveyed for this research and 1159 pregnant women and new mums were asked about life before and after childbirth.

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