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Your body after childbirth

Having a baby changes your body. You may not like the changes, or you may enjoy feeling different, ‘more like a mother’. If you like the way you are, don’t let other people tell you different.

If you feel uncomfortable with your body you’ll want to make some changes. Some things will never be quite the same again – for example, stretch marks will fade, but won’t ever go away completely.

Other changes need not be permanent. A saggy tummy can be tightened up with exercise, and weight gain will gradually drop off if you eat and exercise sensibly. But don’t expect any of this to happen overnight. It took nine months to make a baby. Give yourself at least that long to get back into shape again – and it may take longer.

In the meantime, give your body some little treats to cheer you up.

For example, if it makes you feel good to paint your toenails, then make time to do it. Maybe for you that’s even more important than 20 minutes extra sleep.

We are indebted to Health Promotion England for their help in compiling this section.