23/06/2009 18:39 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

It's Official: It's Okay To Lose Your Baby Weight Slowly

Brilliant news. Doctors say new mothers should take up to a year to lose the weight they gained in pregnancy.

Thank goodness for that. I'm just following doctors' orders then. Another slice of cake, please.

Experts at the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) says women should not put themselves under too much pressure straight away. And who am I to argue with them?

They warn that losing weight too quickly could harm breastfeeding and say women should not be swayed by film stars who appear in the media in bikinis just weeks after giving birth.

But hang on a minute, that doesn't mean you have free rein to stuff as many cakes down your throat as possible.

The Institute's director, Professor Peter Sawicki, says: "Avoiding weight problems after birth means already being careful about balanced and healthy eating during pregnancy.

"It is not a good idea to 'eat for two' in pregnancy and forget about your weight until after the baby is born if you are at all overweight -- or prone to overweight -- already.

"Women need to eat well enough for themselves and their baby, but pregnancy is not a time to over eat."

This is something women often forget, particularly during their first pregnancy, when they see their condition as being a brilliant excuse to pig out.

Second time around, I understand, many women are more careful, knowing how difficult it can be to shift those pounds afterwards.

But here's some more good news. According to the Institute, a lot of exercise in the weeks after birth will not necessarily help.

Researchers found that very strenuous exercise programmes soon after childbirth did not lead to extra weight loss.

The best way to lose weight was a balanced diet. I'll just have a small slice of cake then. And some salad.

How long did it take you to lose your baby weight? Does it ever completely disappear?

Source: The Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care