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Aishwarya Rai – till recently acknowledged as one of the most beautiful women in the world – has had an unfortunate (and unfair) fall from grace. Much as I love to air my views against her often absent sense of style, possible plastic surgery and ice cold beauty, this is one time that even I have to stand up in her defence. Yes, Beyonce lost all that baby weight in a heartbeat and Victoria Beckham seemed to walk out of the labor room even thinner than before but is it really natural to expect a new mom to shed all that baby fat in just five months?

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Aishwarya Rai: Before & after the baby

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According to all doctors that I spoke to about this, you should be exercising moderately and eating about 300 more calories per day while pregnant, thereby putting on between 15-18 kilograms over nine months. Of course, add to this the copious amounts of ghee (clarified butter) and whole milk that we Indian women are supposed to consume almost ritualistically during this period (it’s supposed to keep the baby healthy and ensure an easy labor), one can see where Aish would start off with having more flab than Hollywood celebs anyway.

Post-delivery, the subtraction of a 3-4 kg baby, about half a kg or so of placenta and another couple of kilograms of blood and amniotic fluid leaves most new moms about 5-6 kg lighter in a couple of weeks. Another couple of weeks and you will lose about 2-3 kg of water weight. And then what?

All “normal” (by which I mean non-celeb-specialist) doctors strictly advice new mothers against dieting for the first two months post-delivery to help their bodies recover and establish a good flow of milk. As for exercise, you can usually begin only 4-6 weeks after the delivery in the case of a vaginal birth and  6-8 weeks after a cesarean.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has just delivered a baby and like any other woman she would definitely take time to put off that weight. She is a super celebrity and I think she is doing a commendable job by showing her real side to the media. Earlier, she was criticised for being unreal and plastic: Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee

Add to this the normal stresses and vagrancies of motherhood – exhaustion, fatigue, time constraints, mood swings etc etc etc – and you can imagine that bouncing back immediately is totally unrealistic. According to medical science, you shouldn’t even be aiming for more than half a kg per week as anything else would put both mother and child at risk. Plus, according to Indian medical knowledge – which has definitely stood the test of time – if a woman does not take proper rest and adequate nutrition at this stage, she is setting herself up for back problems, chronic weakness and a myriad other diseases for the rest of her life. Still sounds worth it to get rake-thin in a couple of months?

To me, it frankly sounds disgusting how most of the world adores a pregnant celebrity only to put her on weight watch as soon as the kid is born. Weighed down milk-filled breasts must appear perky, the till recently swollen abdomen should go concave and any stretch marks or skin worries should be immediately erased… it’s as if we still believe that a baby drops from the sky, from the stork, from anywhere but that buff, toned body. It almost makes me hope that Aishwarya Rai stays fat for a while – if only as a reality check for the non-celebrity woman, who is expected to lose the pregnancy weight in a flash, especially without an in-house chef and a personal trainer!

What do you think?