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Jessica Simpson takes heat for pregnancy weight gain

MARIO ANZUONI/Reuters

Sure, it's impolite to call a pregnant woman "fat." But that's not stopping celebrity watchers from criticizing singer Jessica Simpson for her pregnancy weight gain.

According to US Weekly, Joy Behar, a co-host of The View, opined earlier this week that the 31-year-old mother-to-be has put on too much weight.

"Remember the time that Jessica Simpson was criticized because she didn't know the difference between chicken and tuna? That kind of thing is more fun to criticize than the fact that the girl is fat," Ms. Behar was quoted as saying.

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Others have also weighed in. The celebrity site Hollywood Life sought the opinion of an obstetrician-gynecologist, who also thought Ms. Simpson should watch her diet.

"Jessica has put on well over 50 pounds," the doctor, Tara Solomon, said. "She talks bout eating cheesecake for breakfast and fried chicken for lunch. She is way too big to be working out, so the weight is piling on."

While some have come to Ms. Simpson's defence, the buzz generated by her weight gain prompted the news site Slate.com to ask: Is it normal or a problem?

What Slate found was that the recommendations on how much pregnant women should consume vary. It tracked down Dr. Solomon, who told the site that expectant mothers should eat 1,200 extra calories a day, or about 3,000 to 3,200 total. Other sources suggested pregnant women need only 300 extra calories a day. (Health Canada offers this online pregnancy weight gain calculator to help women determine what their recommended weight should be.) As Health Canada notes, excess weight gain during pregnancy can increase the risk of cesarean sections or retaining extra weight after delivery, which could lead to obesity. Risks to the child can include being born preterm or larger than normal.

But Slate suggests there's more going on when it comes to all the attention given to Ms. Simpson's pregnancy figure – much of it is ridicule veiled by health concerns. Her detractors "try to justify themselves by saying that they are worried for the health of her future child," it says.

Do you think there's too much pressure put on pregnant women about their weight? Or is the scrutiny justified?

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About the Author

Wency Leung is a general assignment reporter for the Life section. Before joining The Globe in early 2010, she has worked as a reporter in Vancouver, Prague, and Phnom Penh. More

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