'Bumps and boobs': fatness and women's experiences of pregnancy

Earle, Sarah (2003). 'Bumps and boobs': fatness and women's experiences of pregnancy. Women's Studies International Forum, 26(3) pp. 245–252.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0277-5395(03)00054-2


The primacy of women’s physical appearance in the modern Western world is well documented within the literature but it is assumed that this is no longer significant during pregnancy. In this paper, I will argue that this supposition is based on scant empirical evidence and suggest that the reverse may be true. This paper is based on a qualitative research study which draws on 40 in-depth interviews with 19 pregnant women in the West Midlands, UK. It explores their perceptions of fatness, weight and body shape during pregnancy and explores the extent to which their concerns reflect either a resistance to the asexualisation of the pregnant body or the continued oppression of women’s embodiment. The paper concludes by arguing that pregnant women adopt a pragmatic approach of both selective resistance to asexualisation and selective compliance with the pressure to be slim.

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