Does Motherhood Make You Healthier?

Motherhood Makes You Healthier
9 February 2016

New mums eat more healthily and do more exercise after having a baby than ever before, according to a new study by Mamas & Papas.

Strange - because I distinctly remember developing a penchant for Krispy Kreme doughnuts after the birth of my first child. Something about that sugary carb-hit got me through the early days of breastfeeding. And what with all those extra calories needed for feeding, I managed to mostly get away with my secret doughnut habit, without needing to stay in my maternity jeans. Win-win.

But it looks like I'm in the minority because the poll of 2,000 mums found that 73 per cent were more relaxed about what they ate before having a baby – eating ready meals, having snacks instead of proper meals and going days without any fruit and vegetables - with two thirds saying that all changed once baby came along.

Indeed, eight in 10 new mums polled by Mamas & Papas said they have never felt healthier, and that having a child has had a positive effect on their own wellbeing.

Eight in 10 mums say they are more likely to cook from scratch after having children, while fifty-six per cent say they buy more fruit and vegetables for the kids, with the knock-on effect that they end up eating more of the good stuff themselves.

See now in my house I tend to eschew the fruit bowl in favour of the biscuit tin, and I salve my guilt by telling myself that I'm doing the right thing by leaving the healthy things for the kids. Am I wrong?

An especially irritating 52 per cent of the mums surveyed said they make sure to eat the same foods as their children in order to set a good example to their child. I pretty much do this too. When it's fish fingers and chips for tea, at least.

But c'mon now, I thought EVERYONE did that hiding-in-the-laundry-room-to-scoff-biscuits-in-peace thing. No? Just me, then.

Except I don't really buy this - I reckon everyone's just saying what the think they ought to say whilst keeping their Krispy Kreme habit on the QT. In fact that's borne out by the fact that a third of mums said their priorities changed after the birth of their baby, and being healthy was now far more important than it was before. So the other two thirds are with me in the baked goods aisle then, eh?

Joking aside, the study also revealed that new mums exercise almost three times more than they did before having a child.

After having children, 76 per cent of mums say they now do up to six hours of exercising a week. Six in 10 mums make more of an effort to go to the gym, go out for a run or attend exercise classes, and in addition, will walk around the neighbourhood with the buggy for an additional four hours and 22 minutes each week.

But how much of that is walking to the nearest Krispy Kreme retailer, hmm?

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Did having a baby inspire you to take better care of yourself and eat more healthily? Or, like me, did it send you running for the biscuits and baked goods? Come and tell us over on our Facebook page.

TOPICS:   Parents

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