More Katie and Nicole: Body After Baby in Your 20s and 40s

Last week, I enlisted fertility expert Dr. Kolb to illuminate the biological differences between women who become first-time moms in their 20’s and those who wait until their 40’s, with Katie Holmes and Nicole Kidman as our celebrity role models. This week, I’m looking to Katie, 29, and Nicole, 40, again – this time to show us how mothers at different ages might approach parenting, as well as how they can get their bodies back after their pregnancies.

Vianesa Vargas, founder of the Take Care Project, says that all moms should keep in mind that while it’s fun to read about our fave celebumoms, we shouldn’t compare ourselves to them—ever! “Mothers should remember that celebrities get paid to be beautiful. Stars employ trainers, chefs, nutritionists, dieticians, estheticians, massage therapists and stylists to help them look their best. And many have nannies and housekeepers tend to their children and homes.”

Energy and Lifestyle

Celebumom or not, having a baby disrupts your entire family and personal time structure. Nicole Kidman had to drop out of the movie “The Reader” when she found out she was having a baby (the role was then taken by celebumom Kate Winslet). Modern moms like us might not be bowing out of movie contracts, but we sometimes have to give up promotions, vacations, or even our favorite activities while preparing for the little one’s arrival. While rewarding, pregnancy can be very tiring and frustrating, and adjusting to all the hormonal changes – mood swing, anyone? — that are an inextricable part of the package.

While we assume women in their 20’s tend to have more energy, women in their 40s, as Dr. Kolb suggested in last week’s piece, tend to be more stable, financially and personally. Twenty-somethings may be more energetic, but their stress-levels are higher, while 40-somethings tend to be more secure with themselves and their lives, so they are often more emotionally equipped for being first-time mothers.

Body After Baby

This topic has become a tabloid magazine catchphrase. Two or so months after a celebutot is born, the baby’s mom shows off her perfectly toned curves, making many of us scratch our heads, trying to figure out how in the heck she did that! Never forget: “In most cases, celebrity moms have a village working to help them look good after pregnancy,” Vargas says. “Most normal moms don’t have that luxury, and they shouldn’t compare themselves to Christina [Aguilera] and other celebs. Women who think they’ll be trim and toned in no time are setting themselves up for failure.” She also cautions special lighting and photo retouching help most celebrities look a whole lot better in photographs than they do in person.

Aside from that aspect of celebumom pregnancies, is the Katie vs.
Nicole question. They both have their long, lean figures in common, and they certainly retained them during their pregnancies, so much so that for those few people not up on Hollywood minutiae, it would be surprising to learn of their age difference. But while Katie shed her baby weight pretty easily, Nicole may well face a little more work.

Michael George, a celebumom fitness trainer who has worked with Reese Witherspoon, Meg Ryan and Julianne Moore, says that the primary difference between having a baby in your 40’s rather than your 20’s is that it is harder on the body and it takes a little longer to recover.
Being in great shape pre-baby is much more important your 40’s in order to speed up the post-baby process. “For someone in her 40’s, strength training will be a little more important,” Michael says. “As we get older we tend to lose muscle mass. It is important to put lean muscle mass on to raise the metabolism so you burn more calories in your day-to-day activities.”

In the end, however, women at both ages face the same battle with shaping up again. Michael says that the road to reclaiming one’s body offers struggles for women of all ages: “As for specific exercises I don’t think that is very relevant. The areas that are always a concern (arms, rear end, thighs) will still be a concern young or old.”
Sometimes, Michael says, “You need to force yourself to get active.
It’s somewhat like a battle.” The longer you wait, he says, the harder it gets. “If you give in, it will just be a prolonged process and more difficult to incorporate into your life.”

Mommywood reported last month that Nicole Kidman has worked hard at keeping trim during her pregnancy. She was photographed running with her trainer, but the most intriguing aspect of the photo wasn’t what she was doing, it was the size of her baby bump. Nicole has been criticized for not putting on enough weight, and speculation began that perhaps she was over-doing the fitness thing. Celebumoms are faced with that double standard: if they gain too much weight, they are scrutinized; gaining too little inspires criticism, too. While celebrities can be role models for the rest of us, bearing the added responsibility of setting a good example for the public, we will never know enough about their situations to truly judge them.

What’s important for Nicole is that she and her baby are healthy.
We all have to do what we feel comfortable with when it comes to taking care of our bodies during and after our pregnancies.

Michael George shared with Modern Mom his top tips for any women to get back into shape after pregnancy.

1. Get as fit as possible and stay fit prior to birthing the baby

2. Get active as soon as you get a doctor’s release.

3. Watch your diet during pregnancy. Don’t let being pregnant be a reason to completely let go and indulge yourself.

4. After giving birth, get back on track with healthy eating ASAP.

5. Begin exercise slowly (take baby steps; go walking with the baby in the stroller, for example) to get acclimated to increased exercise activity.

6. Don’t be in a hurry to lose the baby weight. It will come off in time if you are exercising and eating a healthy diet.

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