New Moms Rushing to Shed Post-Baby Weight: Is It Healthy?

PHOTO: Jessica Alba
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New celebrity moms seem to re-emerge gorgeous, stylish and incredibly in-shape just months after giving birth. While it's nearly impossible to get those bodacious Hollywood bodies without personal chefs, trainers and stylists, it hasn't stopped many regular moms from trying. It's part of a recent trend to lose pregnancy weight faster than ever.

SoulCycle, an intense, indoor cycling studio with locations in New York City and Los Angeles, where riders can burn hundreds of calories in a single class, has become a favorite workout for many new moms.

Ali Carlin is a stay-at-home mom with two kids, 2-year-old Adrianna and 1-year-old Brooks, living in New York. She had her kids back-to-back and said she wanted to get back in shape and finally focus on herself.

SoulCycle instructor Nick Oram said moms trying to lose baby weight are among his biggest clients.

And they aren't just doing one class a week. They are working out even before their babies are big enough to crawl. In fact, an entire industry has sprung up around mothers who want to look hot pushing a stroller, and even while they are still pregnant. There is maternity athletic gear, pregnancy workout DVDs and apps, all to keep Mom in shape before she even has the baby.

Celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson has built her brand around transforming women's bodies after childbirth. She has trained some of the biggest A-list celebrities around, from Jennifer Lopez to Victoria Beckham, and she went into business with her client and friend Gwyneth Paltrow.

But for most moms, looking Gwyneth isn't possible.

"Everybody's life is unique," Anderson said. "As soon as your doctor releases you to work out, you have to start reconnecting to your body. What's hard is that you know what it's like to start working out again after being pregnant, it's the worst thing ever. "

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Most medical experts agree it is healthy to work out during pregnancy. But being obsessed with your weight while pregnant and immediately after giving birth is another story.

In fact, a recent study by the University College London of 700 pregnant women found that 1 in 14 had an eating disorder during the first part of their pregnancy, roughly the same as the general population.

"Comparing a normal post pregnancy body to a celeb's is like expecting one's face to look like an airbrushed and photoshopped magazine ad," said Vivian Diller, a psychologist in New York. "It's just not realistic and leaves many moms falling short of expectations. Bodies change for real women throughout real life."

Unlike most people, celebrities have armies of people to help them get their post-baby body back, from personal trainers at the gym to plastic surgeons who can perform tummy tucks and liposuction.

"The average new mom needs to keep in mind that most celebs view working out as a part of their job," Diller said. "Prior to pregnancy, they are often in very good shape. Getting back to it as soon as possible is, in part, what they are paid to do."

Some famous moms can't even live up to the perfect image that's demanded of them. Kim Kardashian has been skewered in the tabloids for gaining weight during her pregnancy.

"It's like adult bullying," Anderson said. "It's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."

Even though Kardashian is working out with Anderson, every pound she has gained during her pregnancy has been plastered across magazine covers.

"I feel badly for her because anybody who has to do that under the pressure of being photographed all the time ... sometimes when you're pregnant, it's like the last thing you want to do," Anderson said. "You want to be in sweats."

But Anderson is confident that like all of her celebrity mom clients, Kardashian too will be back and better than ever.

"I'm confident in her," she said "She seems excited about the moment that she gets to hit the gym and get her body back, and she obviously trusts that I know how to do it, and I do. And as long as she shows up, she will do it."

But for real moms, just feeling good and looking good, for themselves and their kids is what really matters.

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