When you enter the supermarket or walk past a newsstand, it's hard to miss the tabloid magazines with images of celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lawrence plastered on the cover. The headlines announce rumors of new and old relationships: Is Jennifer Lawrence actually dating Chris Martin? Will Mariah Carey get custody of her two children amid an impending divorce from Nick Cannon?
Lately, however, there seems to be an increased fascination with women’s bodies as more Hollywood starlets are starting families. Who can forget the torment that Kim Kardashian went through while she carried North West last year? “I’ll Never Be Sexy Again,” read an InTouch headline at the time. Life & Style ran a cover featuring a picture of Khloé Kardashian with the headline, “I’m the Hot Sister Now!” The negative media coverage “hurt my soul,” Kim Kardashian told Jay Leno after the pregnancy. Others stars such as Mila Kunis, Beyoncé and Jessica Simpson have been the subject of similar tabloid coverage in recent years.
“There is tremendous pressure,” Jennifer R. Scanlon, a gender and women’s studies professor at Bowdoin College in Maine, told International Business Times. The focus on which stars are pregnant "is accompanied by an obsession with how a celebrity mom’s body changes along the way -- with what she looks like before, during, and most importantly after the pregnancy,” Scanlon said.
The intense scrutiny seems to have created a culture where most famous women feel they have to be picture-perfect before making appearances post-pregnancy, even after gaining a large amount of weight. Since giving birth in May, Ciara has reportedly been working out every day to get her pre-baby body back. “When you say she’s working out every day, that sounds like it’s crazy but it’s not,” celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson tells People. “It’s a ritual. She’s showering every day too. She’s not destroying herself.”
Following the birth of North, fans waited with for Kardashian to show off her slimmed-down figure after she went into hiding for several months, presumably working on her body before returning to the public eye. Ciara and Beyoncé waited a month after the birth of their children, Future Jr. and Blue Ivy, before making public appearances.
But is it safe for new moms to try and lose the baby weight so quickly after birth? Probably not, health experts said. Instead, new moms need to let their bodies heal after such a huge toll on the body.
“In my opinion, dieting, (restricting calories), and exercising intensely immediately after baby, for any reason, but especially for the sake of changing the body's appearance, is not safe," Jessie Mundell, JMG Fitness Consulting expert, told IBTimes. “In fact, I believe it's dangerous physically, mentally, and emotionally. Nowhere in the job description of 'New Mom' does it include changing the physical shape of her body to be some previous version or shape that it perhaps once was.”
Do you think the pressure for perfection on celebrity mothers is too much? Sound off in the comments section below.