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Dr. Rachel Jarvie, Exeter. '''Maternal Diabesity: The Disconnect between Policy/Practice and the Material Realities of Women's Lives'

Dr. Rachel Jarvie, Exeter. '‘Maternal Diabesity’

SPA Research seminar: Abstract: There is increasing prevalence of ‘maternal obesity’, Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) and Type Two Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) in pregnancy. Increasing prevalence of diabetes in pregnancy is widely attributed to dramatically increasing levels of ‘obesity’ in women of childbearing age. Co-existing ‘maternal obesity’ and GDM/T2DM, or ‘maternal diabesity’, complicates increasing numbers of pregnancies in the UK. These ‘conditions’ are associated with adverse maternal and fetal outcomes. Recent research indicates an ‘obese’/diabetic ‘intrauterine milieu’ may epigenetically programme the foetus to obesity/diabetes in later life. This is considered to be an important factor in the perpetuation of the ‘diabesity epidemic’. Biomedical/policy discourses emphasise the necessity for women to effect lifestyle changes in order for this public health issue to be ameliorated.

Event details

Epidemiological data shows clear associations between these medical ‘conditions’ and lower socio-economic status/deprivation.  However, this is under-discussed in the literature.  I carried out a qualitative longitudinal study of 30 women with ‘maternal diabesity’.  Women were predominantly of low socio-economic status, with some experiencing considerable material deprivation.  In this talk I draw upon Bourdieusian conceptual tools: the habitus and ‘distance from necessity’, to discuss the disjuncture between policy/practice and the material realities of women’s everyday lives.