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Post baby body

By Siobhan Harris

Having a baby changes your life. It can also change your body.

For nine months you have been sharing your body with baby, when you've given birth it'll take time to reclaim it.

Many of these body changes won't be permanent and you'll be near enough back to the way you were - given time. For some women their bodies aren't ever quite the same.

"Some changes will be irrevocable, a permanent souvenir of the pregnancy and birthing process," says author and parenting expert, Hollie Smith. "When that's the case, you may just have to be philosophical about it."

It's true post-baby bodies aren't always quite the same but you and your partner can learn to love the new you. As Hollie says, it's a "small price to pay" for being a mum.

Unrealistic expectations

A survey of women revealed that 42% feel less body confident since having a baby. That's not helped by images of super-lean new mums in magazines and newspapers.

It seems as though some women, particularly celebrities, do snap back to their pre-pregnancy bodies quicker than you can say 'red carpet', but for most women it doesn't happen that way.

The new mums in the glossy magazines don't paint a realistic picture. They have staff to help look after their babies. After the birth of her daughter Harper, Victoria Beckham reportedly ran six times a week and worked out strenuously with a trainer, what 'normal' woman can realistically do that?

A weighty issue

Different women put on varying amounts of weight when they are pregnant. Most gain between 8kg and 30kg, that's 17.5lbs to 30lbs. Even when you take away the weight of the actual baby, many women are a lot heavier after giving birth.

Breastfeeding helps some women shed excess weight. When you first have a baby your priority is the child and getting enough sleep to function rather than losing weight.

GP Liz Thomas says: "It can be difficult to lose weight due to tiredness, lack of time or lack of motivation," she says. "There's no quick fix but choosing healthy low calories options and watching portion sizes will reduce weight in the long term."

Some women can lose weight very quickly without trying after childbirth.

Crash dieting isn't recommended as it leaves you too exhausted with no energy to look after your child.

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