News Column

Jessica Simpson Giving Birth to Healthy Pregnancy Debate

March 27, 2012

Jill Radsken

Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson is blissful about her baby weight -- she's already 170 pounds with nearly a month to go -- but some women hope the "Fashion Star" hasn't sacrificed health for cravings.

"It's not so much what she looks like. I hope she's paying attention to exercise and nutrition," said Dr. Laura Riley, a high-risk obstetrician at Massachusetts General Hospital. "Hollywood doesn't make it any more or less OK to skip the rules."

Riley, who routinely sees patients who are battling obesity during pregnancy, said the normal recommended weight gain is 25 to 35 pounds, and most women need only add 300 calories to their diet.

"That's like a yogurt. It's not that much," she said.

But Simpson, who appears in the buff on the cover of this month's Elle, has openly shared pregnancy cravings that include buttered Pop-Tarts and Kraft mac 'n' cheese -- a pregnancy routine foreign to expecting health instructor Cedar Pruitt.

"I encourage women to be at their strongest at every point in their lives," said the 35-year-old instructor at Healthworks Fitness Centers for Women. "As long as she's fit and strong, it's wonderful."

Pruitt, who is expecting in July, remembers being horrified by Victoria Beckham when Pruitt was pregnant with her now 3-year-old daughter.

"It didn't look like she was listening to her body. It looked like she was keeping up an image," said Pruitt. "But I consciously knew that that was not the model that was right for me."

Beckham's basketball bump-on-a-stick image has plenty of company in Hollywood (Angelina Jolie, Tori Spelling), but Simpson may be part of a growing alternative of body types that includes the athletic Jennifer Garner and the curvaceous Beyonce.

Jo McChesney, co-founder of Isis Parenting, said Simpson presents an image that she's "comfortable pregnant."

"She's not hiding anything," said McChesney, who offers core fitness classes for new moms at her small chain of centers for expecting and new moms. "She looks like the pregnant version of her normal self."

Riley hopes Simpson prioritizes losing the weight -- "Like anyone else, you have to lose it after. If you don't and you get pregnant again, it's even harder" -- but the blond Texas bombshell may have more help than most. She has reportedly signed a $3 million deal with Weight Watchers to hit the gym after she gives birth.

But Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, thinks Simpson shouldn't sweat the extra weight. Said Sozzani, who hits the Hub next week to headline a panel at MGH's Harris Center for Education and Advocacy in Eating Disorders: "She is just amazing."

Source: (c)2012 the Boston Herald

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