'Give your body a year to heal and get strong'
Deborah Fernandes is a chartered physiotherapist with 15 years' experience in women's health. She also specialises in antenatal physiotherapy and both pre- and post-natal Pilates at Body Elements in Sandyford (bodyelements.ie). She says: "Many of the approaches taken by celebrities sound extreme and inadvisable.
"A lot of women suffer pelvic and lower-back pain after pregnancy, so I can only assume Jessica Alba did not suffer pain if she was able to wear two corsets for two months.
"There are some cultures that do wear a girdle after delivery but I'm not sure it helps strengthen the muscles underneath.
"What would be better would be to ease into gentle exercise, like post-natal pilates, six to 12 weeks after giving birth, to start strengthening the body again.
"You've just carried a baby for nine months and your body will have suffered and changed – you need to give yourself time to recover.
"It's not fair on your body to expect it to snap back, or put pressure on it or deprive it of what it needs.
"Some mums do want to get back to the gym after birth and if they've got the okay from their GP then that's fine. I'm a great believer in listening to the body, being aware of the body and what it needs.
"Happily most women I meet for our post-natal Pilates classes, massage or slimming courses are more keen on becoming strong and healthy again rather than looking like a celebrity.
"The big fear is that we don't know what impact drastic measures could have down the line – losing weight rapidly could impact on your ability to get pregnant again.
"If it took nine months to put the weight on, then give at least a year for the body to heal and get strong."