A Gynecologist’s Take on the Kim Kardashian West Maternity Shapewear Criticism

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A Gynecologist’s Take on the Kim Kardashian West Maternity Shapewear Criticism featured image
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Kim Kardashian West wants to put a set of SKIMS on every body type, even pregnant ones. She recently announced the arrival of her SKIMS Maternity collection with Maternity Solutionwear, which the announcement says offers the best “comfort and support for your changing body during and after pregnancy.” Fans and critics came out in droves to blast the move with many citing misguided body ideals that were unhealthy for women, especially pregnant women.

One outspoken commentator, actor and body positive activist Jameela Jamil, took to Instagram to voice her concern. “I wish we could just normalize just focusing on the inside of a pregnant body, not the outside. You don’t need your shape corrected or hidden. You don’t need an even more awkward obstacle between you and a piss. You just need to try and ride with this miracle and do your best to be as happy/comfortable as is possible within your circumstances.” 

Shortly after the online hoopla, both Chrissy Teigen and Kardashian West went on social media to explain the purpose of the shapewear collection. In a series of tweets, Kardashian wrote: “To anyone who has an issue with maternity solutionwear, and if you haven’t been pregnant before you may not know the struggle of what it’s like carrying all of this weight the way I did along with millions of strong women… @skims maternity line is not to slim but to support.”

“The belly part doesn’t slim your belly, it’s actually sheer and a thinner layered material compared to the rest of the garment. It provides support to help with the uncomfortable weight being carried in your stomach which affects your lower back. And the compression on the leggings helps with pain relief caused by swelling. It is also worn after you have given birth and provides the comfort and support that most women need after delivery especially if you are recovering from a cesarean.”

Teigen, who is currently pregnant with her third child, also spoke up on her Instagram stories: “Hi guys, actual pregnant person here! Just wanting to show you and maybe talk a little bit about what pregnancy shapewear is…. When you’re pregnant and you’re sitting down a lot, or on bed rest like me, you tend to just sit there, and if you’re wearing regular, basic-ass underwear, all it does is roll inside of folds I didn’t even know I had!”

“Most importantly,” she added, “this is not about creating a body we don’t know we have. Like, we’re not trying to do anything to trick you, we’re pregnant.”

Not long after Kardashian West’s explanation, some critics, like Jameel, amended their judgement. “From what I understand her product is safe,” wrote Jameel in a followup post. “But there is definitely a huge societal problem with the way pregnant people feel they have to look while making a baby.”

New York gynecologist Dr. Monica Grover says, all the backlash is for naught, as according to her wearing shapewear while pregnant is perfectly safe. “Wearing shape wear during pregnancy will not harm the baby as long as the shape wear is specifically designed for pregnancy. The baby is very well protected in the uterus by amniotic fluid and most pregnancy shape wear is not very compressive surrounding the belly in the first place.”

As for a functional use, Dr. Grover says shapewear isn’t all about smoothing and reshaping the body. “It can offer useful pelvic and lumbar support for the mom as pelvic floor and lumbar muscles weaken as the gestational stage progresses. This would help to reduce significant back pain, any associated sciatica, as well as urinary incontinence.”

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