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HEALTH WATCH: Body image after birth

Updated: Thursday, January 2 2014, 11:38 AM CST

For years, new mothers have had to endure celebrities showing up soon after birth looking perfect on the red carpet.

Facebook and Twitter are the new battleground for "regular" moms. Fitness models and athletic moms are posting pictures of "beach ready" bodies just days after delivery, setting off debate and firestorms on blogs.

One local doctor says such societal pressure is risky for moms and their babies.

Sacred Heart Hospital Ob-Gyn Doctor Shane Medlock says the recent social media trend of moms posting perfect looking post partum bodies is not one he's thrilled with. He says brand new mothers  already almost always have body image issues.\

"Ninety percent of the time, they ask me if they can start exercising at two weeks out, whether they've had a c section, had a complicated delivery, whether they've ever exercised before."

Medlock says working out too soon can lead to bleeding , torn muscles and stitches.

"For the first two weeks they are to do nothing strenuous other than take care of baby."

Rebecca Goff had Abigail four months ago, she's her third child. Goff says during each of  her pregnancies she gained 25-30 pounds. She's shed her post baby weight slowly but surely by walking, biking and doing fitness DVDs at home.

"Being active makes you want to be active.  I think when we allow ourselves to be sedentary, and I am tired, but just pushing through that tiredness and at the end of the afternoon you've worked out, you feel better about yourself."

Goff says the recent pictures of super fit Facebook moms did not outrage her, but inspired and motivated her. She says her health secrets aren't new, very little fast food and soda, lots of water and whole, healthy foods.

"If I'm able to eat well and model that for my children, then they follow that."

"If women are undernourished, or one of these fad diets, if they're not getting more than 1800 calories per day, they can decrease their milk supply and have some nutritional deficiencies."

Doctor Medlock says extreme food plans can also be emotionally risky for new moms.

"Very good studies out, women trying to do these fad diets can definitely lead to post partum depression."

Goff says in 2014 she still has a few fitness goals and she'll get there, but it's a balance.

"I think that sometimes we get so focused on being fit or being healthy and obsessing about certain things that we don't take the time to actually enjoy our family and what we're actually trying to achieved while we're doing that."

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