'I felt fitter and healthier than ever before'
Mum-of-three Noelle Sexton (32) from Douglas, Co Cork, says she found staying fit during pregnancy, thanks to her Curves gym classes, helped her lose her pregnancy pounds after the birth.
She says: "When I was pregnant with my first child I put on six stone and it took me years to lose the weight. It was the same with my second; I snacked a lot during my maternity leave which left me heavy and feeling miserable.
"I tried diets but denying myself food just made me obsess about it -- I would go to bed and wake up thinking about chocolate bars and I found it hard to make the family one meal and something else for myself.
"In October 2007, I joined Curves gym when my middle child Katie was 16 months because I wanted to lose weight for my wedding during Christmas 2009.
"I started at 13.5 stone and got down to 10.5. I felt fantastic and sexy for the first time in ages -- then I got pregnant again.
"I kept up my lunchtime half-hour classes at Curves right up until my 36th week of pregnancy (then I was barred!), but I felt fitter and healthier in this pregnancy than ever before.
"I was 14 stone when I came to the gym, half a stone heavier than when I first joined, but the weight fell off me because I was fitter and I'm almost back to my 10.5 stone ideal weight.
"Exercise worked for me because I could fit it around being a working mum and still eat more or less what I liked. I wished I'd started years ago!"