Proud mum ... Caroline Berg Eriksen in the photo that started the debate.

Proud mum ... Caroline Berg Eriksen in the photo that started the debate.

Posting an Instagram picture of yourself wearing nothing but sexy underwear wouldn't usually be at the top of a new mother's to-do list in the week after giving birth. But Norwegian fitness blogger and new mum Caroline Berg Eriksen did just that four days after welcoming new daughter Neilia last Monday.

In the photo, Berg Eriksen is wearing just a red and black bra and pants, and the accompanying caption reads: "I feel so empty and still not ... 4 days after birth."

The picture has caused a storm in Norway's media, with one commentator describing it as "wildly provocative". 

Blogger Suzanna Aebel, writing for the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, was among the harshest critics, saying she doubted she and Berg Eriksen even "belonged to the same species".

"As a 32-year-old with a 4-year-old son even and ... 10kg overweight, I think: WHO ARE YOU TO POST THIS IMAGE? What to you want to say with this picture? Who are you talking to? What is the purpose here? Why is this positive?'' Aebel wrote. "I feel fat because soccer lady gave birth."

Responding to the criticism, Berg Eriksen, who is wife of Norwegian Premier League player Lars-Kristian Eriksen, posted on Facebook saying: "I let out the picture because I am proud of myself and my body for something as tough as a pregnancy/birth, and I think all mothers, regardless of the body shall be."

On the one hand Berg Eriksen is right. There's no doubt all new mums should be proud of their bodies for creating and delivering a new life.

On the other hand, that pride shouldn't be tied to whether or not they have washboard abs less than a week after giving birth because, let's face it, most of us don't. 

Berg Eriksen's Instagram followers were divided in their opinions of the sexy picture.

"Seriously, this is a joke!" one follower wrote.

"Is it really necessary to post a halvnakent (half naked) picture of themselves?! It's just to show off, thinking's not much on how that image can affect readers," posted another.

But some said Berg Eriksen, who writes a fitness blog titled Fotballfrue, meaning footballer's wife, had every right to be proud of her post-baby body. 

"Amazing! Why shouldn't you look good?! I say congratulations on the birth if your daughter and congratulations on staying trim and having a great figure! (sic)" a supportive follower wrote.

Berg Eriksen's photo comes just over a month after Los Angeles mother and fitness blogger Maria Kang posted a Facebook picture of herself looking very fit and toned in a bikini, next to her three young sons, under the headline "What's your excuse?".

The picture sparked outrage around the world, but Kang stood by her post, saying she didn't intend it as an attack on other mothers and if anyone took it personally that was their problem, not hers.

As a woman who makes her living through fitness, maybe Berg Eriksen thought revealing her amazing post-baby body to the world would be good for her career. Who knows.

But now that everyone has seen her impressive abs and toned arms and legs, hopefully she will move on to posting pics of what it is that makes most new mums proud - her gorgeous baby.

What do you think of Caroline Berg Eriksen's photo? Do you agree with her fans, or those who are criticising her? Have your say in the comments below.