Kate Middleton gave mothers all around the world a self-esteem boost when she stepped out of the hospital with her first-born, George, proudly sporting her post-birth baby bump.

However, it wasn't long before magazines and media outlets twisted her encouraging display into a discussion over when and how Kate will get 'back into shape' with a post-baby weight loss regime - something that readers lashed out at.

Many celebrities seem to lose baby weight incredibly quickly after the birth, with what is likely to be a hellish schedule of intensive exercise and diet. But what is really healthy and realistic for a new mum busy dashing around nappy changing and trying to quell a baby's crying?

What you've got to gain

Most women will gain somewhere between 8-20 kg during pregnancy. This figure depends on factors such as your size before pregnancy, whether you suffer from morning sickness and of course what you put into your body during pregnancy. Women of a lower BMI should expect to gain more weight than those with higher pre-pregnancy BMI.

It's important to keep in mind that your weight gain isn't just fat. First off, there's your baby herself, as well as the placenta. The amniotic fluid and extra muscle in your womb also makes you heavier. The volume of blood and fluid in your body increases while carrying your baby, and you store some fat to give you energy for breastfeeding post-birth. This doesn't just 'fall off' as soon as your baby is born - just as you slowly gained weight during pregnancy, your body needs time to adjust to all the changes that take place after birth.

What you've got to lose

A gradual approach to weight loss is what's usually recommended. Some of the weight tends to come off naturally with breastfeeding and as fluid retention throughout your body slowly eases up. A healthy and nutritious eating plan paired with regular exercise over several months is the best way to lose those unwanted kilograms. True for any weight loss, baby related or otherwise.

Always remember - be realistic! You have created and nurtured a human being, so don't be too hard on yourself and give you and your body time.

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