Women blamed celebrity mothers such as Victoria Beckham, Elizabeth Hurley and Anna Friel for setting an unhealthy trend for rapid post-baby weight loss. But they also blamed their partners for putting pressure on them.
A survey of 1,000 women found that 47 per cent felt pressured into "having it all", even when pregnant, by maintaining their career, looks and social lives.
Eight out of 10 said it was important to keep their looks and figure while carrying a baby, and 46 per cent admitted to worrying about weight gain in pregnancy.
More than half - 57 per cent - felt pressure from their partners to look good. A third said that celebrities influenced how they thought they should look.
Despite this, more than half of the women thought celebrity mothers who lost weight rapidly after giving birth were setting an irresponsible example.
Mrs Beckham disappeared from the public eye after having her third son, Cruz, earlier this year but reappeared five weeks later - and 2st lighter. When she lost weight immediately after giving birth to her first son Brooklyn, Mrs Beckham said it was her natural metabolism, but with her third birth she admitted following a strict diet.
Elizabeth Hurley lost 4st in the six months after the birth of her son Damian, reportedly by living on one meal a day.
Anna Friel, the actress, promised the producers of her next film that she would do nude scenes within three months of having her baby.
The trend has led to a quarter of new mothers wanting to lose their excess weight within six weeks of giving birth, according to an ICM poll.
Gillian Fletcher, a former president of the National Childbirth Trust, said: "New mothers are already under huge pressure with all the changes that having a baby brings, and I think it is sad that women feel they have to lose weight so quickly."Reuse content