The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Star mom waistlines put weight on rest

London, July 14: Women feel under pressure to regain their figures quickly after giving birth, and slender “celebrity mothers” add to their anxiety, according to a survey.

Almost half of mothers said that after having their baby, their main concern was to lose the weight they had put on during pregnancy.

More than four out of five thought celebrity mothers such as Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow, Elizabeth Hurley and Victoria Beckham — who, mothers say, make it look easy to regain their shape — were sending out the wrong message to women.

The survey by Norwich Union Healthcare found that more than a quarter of women felt under social pressure to lose weight after giving birth.

A fifth of the 500 women questioned feared they would never regain their pre-birth shape.

Although 22 per cent of new mothers said the best thing about being pregnant was being able to eat what they liked, 13 per cent said the worst thing was feeling fat.

Dr Yehudi Gordon, a consultant obstetrician, said there were a lot of pressures on women having a baby and these were highlighted by the media.

“Celebrity mums have a vested interest in getting back to shape because their public image is all important,” he said.

“But what new mothers must realise is that these celebrities have taken time off to spend each day actively pursuing the result they want with the help of a team of experts, from nannies to personal trainers and dieticians.

“Most real women, on the other hand, can’t afford to take out such time or the luxury of a team of helpers.”

The research revealed other pressures faced by pregnant women. More than a quarter said they would feel a failure if they were not able to give birth naturally. Twelve per cent thought that women chose a caesarean because it helped them lose weight more quickly after giving birth.

Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the National Childbirth Trust, said: “It takes nine months for the body to prepare itself to give birth so it’s ludicrous that we expect women to spring back into shape so soon afterwards. Our society is to blame for the pressure women face.”

“It’s understandable that women feel under pressure to look good after giving birth, but it is important to do only as much as you can.”

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