Is there a right amount of weight for women to gain while pregnant? According to the experts, there most definitely is, but that number tends to become more important when you're in the public eye.
The very pregnant Jessica Simpson has been held up as an example of excessive maternal weight gain by various media outlets, with The View's Joy Behar calling her "fat," and an ob-gyn telling Slate, "she's an absolute porker."
But Simpson has apparently only gained 40 pounds, just a bit over Health Canada's recommendation of 25 to 35 pounds for those of normal weight. The agency has a Pregnancy Weight Gain Calculator available to help determine healthy weight gain for both the baby and the mother.
Of more concern is Simpson's own admission that she's taken "a break from working out," according to Hello! Magazine. Exercise during pregnancy can help prevent maternal obesity, which in turn has been linked to many potential issues, including high blood pressure, miscarriage and autism in the child.
Michelle F. Mottola, of the University of Western Ontario's Exercise and Pregnancy Laboratory, has broken down the specifics of exercising while pregnant, and has determined that not only should mothers keep working out while carrying their child, but it can be a good idea to start a program at that time too.
In a paper entitled "Exercise In Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period," co-authored by Mottola, the recommendation includes15 minutes of continuous exercise three times a week, increasing gradually to 30-minute sessions four times a week for those who hadn't exercised previously. Suggestions for activities include brisk walking, stationary cycling, cross-country skiing, swimming, or aquafit are aerobic exercises -- exercises that aren't particularly bouncy or traumatic to the joints and ligaments. And for those who haven't exercised before, wait until the second trimester to get going.
As for Simpson, her plans reportedly include joining Weight Watchers as a spokesperson -- a program that worked for new mom Jenny McCarthy in the past.
SEE: Many celebrities have opened up about their weight gain during pregnancy -- and their own reactions were varied:
Jessica Alba told InStyle Australia that she'd gained around 60 pounds while pregnant with first daughter Honor, but did not gain as much with second daughter Haven. This could have been thanks to her trainer Ramona Braganza's modified workout that she apparently did at least three times a week. Actress Jessica Alba arrives at 'Spy Kids: All The Time In The World 4D' Los Angeles premiere on July 31, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Phto by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
With each of her three pregnancies, Jennifer Garner has been candid about her weight gain, but as she told OK magazine, working out four to five times a week with trainer Valerie Waters has helped her feel "good and strong" the whole way through. Jennifer Garner arrives at The Hollywood Reporter's Annual Next Generation Reception held at Milk Studios on November 5, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Leah Remini's 80-pound weight gain during her pregnancy left her feeling like "crap" -- so as she honestly admitted in a blog entry in 2008, she did everything she could to get back to her 115-pound frame. Leah Remini arrives during the premiere of Picturehouse's 'El Cantante' at the AMC 25 Theatre in Times Square on July 26, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)
With first son Ryder, Kate Hudson gained 60 pounds and happily said as much to many publications -- especially after losing the weight in just over a month. With her second child, Hudson apparently gained 35 pounds and is back in the gym, treating training like "a part-time job." Kate Hudson attends Chanel's benefit dinner for the Natural Resources Defense Council's Ocean Initiative at the home of Ron & Kelly Meyer on June 4, 2011 in Malibu, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
Jenny McCarthy, who is 5"6, weighed more than 210 pounds during her pregnancy (and tweeted a picture to prove it). During her first pregnancy, she told Fit Pregnancy she was on a treadmill or power walking four times a week, and doing weight twice a week. INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 03: Jenny McCarthy attends the Ninth Annual Leather and Laces event at the Regions Bank Tower on February 3, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Leather & Laces)
Olympian Gabrielle Reece trained throughout her pregnancy, and reportedly gained 30 pounds -- but she did in a healthy way, and even created a fitness program for pregnant women to work along with. WESTWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Volleyball player Gabrielle Reece (L) and her family attend the Premiere of Warner Brothers Pictures' 'Dolphin Tale' at The Village Theatre on September 17, 2011 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
While pregnant with twins, Jennifer Lopez gained 50 pounds, though she dropped the weight quickly after. Reports on how she did it range from the Dukan diet to triathlon training to slow walking, but we can probably all agree she's kept it off well. Jennifer Lopez attends a reception to benefit UNICEF hosted by Gucci during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2008 on February 6, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for IMG)
We're not going to pretend for a second that any of us can be like Gisele -- but the model, who gained 30 pounds while pregnant, was an advocate for exercising throughout, doing kung fu and yoga to stay in shape. Gisele Bundchen pose backstage at the Alexander Wang fall 2012 fashion show at Pier 94 on February 11, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/Getty Images)
CORRECTION: This article incorrectly stated that Mariah Carey had also done Weight Watchers after giving birth. In fact, Carey is a spokesperson for Jenny Craig. The text has been changed.