Women nowadays are surrounded by unattainable beauty standards, largely thanks to Photoshop and social media filters. It's because of this that some women go to extreme lengths to create the illusion that they've snapped back to their pre-pregnancy body the second the umbilical cord is cut, but these celebrities have all shared photos that put paid to that message.
From Millie Mackintosh and Gemma Atkinson to Kate Hudson and Katy Perry, they've shared candid photos of their own naked post-baby bodies that prove stretch marks, swollen stomachs and the like are all totally normal. Here are the most poignant pics.
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Made In Chelsea star Millie Mackintosh shared a photo of herself wearing just underwear on Instagram shortly after giving birth to her daughter Sienna in May 2020. She acknowledged that she doesn’t feel "totally happy" with her body after giving birth, but added she had "no intention" of "rushing to get her body back".
She wrote: "With Sienna nearing 10 weeks old nothing has given me more purpose than knowing that a small life depends entirely on me to feed and nourish her as she grows. I try to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle and I count myself lucky that throughout my adult life I’ve felt and identified as pretty body confident but now all that has changed along with every other aspect of my life, which makes me look at my body in a totally new light and it’s been a big adjustment!
"Fitting into my pre pregnancy clothes seems a long way off and I have no intention of rushing into ‘getting my body back’ but it would be a lie if I said I feel totally happy and at one with my body post pregnancy. The process has been made a lot harder by some overly strong and hurtful comments online about my appearance (as much as you try and ignore them). I’m in awe of what my body has achieved over the last year but I find it hard not seeing the girl I know to be me looking back at me in the mirror.
"I now see photos of myself pre-pregnancy and remember thinking at the time I didn’t like my body at certain angle but now I look back and think I looked great! It’s made me realise how critical I am of myself and how it’s so crucial, as women, that we learn to let ourselves off the hook. My mantra has always been that you exercise because you love your body not because you hate it, so any movement I do now is with the intention to feel good and never to punish myself. Sienna is worth every extra inch, pound and stretch mark. My body made me a Mother and for that I'll always be grateful."
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Strictly Come Dancing star Gemma Atkinson proudly posted a series of photos of herself six and a half weeks after giving birth to her daughter Mia via C-section. She also shared some wise words for fans into fitness, like herself, explaining how she has adapted her routine in order to heal. "Part of training well is training smart and recovering long term. Not just a quick fix to 'snap back'," she said.
She went on to give wise words for any new mums feeling pressure to snap back to their pre-pregnancy bodies: "I hope new mums realise they don’t have to be back to their post baby body so quickly," she wrote. "Growing a human for nine months is a big deal and it'll take longer than a few weeks to get your body back to how you want it."
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Rio Ferdinand's wife Kate Ferdinand posted a photo of her body shortly after giving birth, and candidly admitted to feeling under pressure to "bounce back" into shape after having her baby Cree in December 2020. Her words resonated with thousands of fans who took to the comments section to share their own experiences, while Kate also shared what she has learned about giving herself, and her body, a break.
She wrote: "I’ve really held off on uploading any pictures with my body in because last time I did, for some reason, I felt all types of nerves and ended up deleting it ... hormones, or the pressure of Instagram to look a certain way? Who knows, but either way, I’ve finally plucked up the courage. Here I am.
"I’m finally starting to slowly feel more like ‘me’ again, but it hasn’t been plain sailing. I was seeing lots of ladies, and I salute you, saying they love and embrace their post pregnancy body; I wish I felt like that but in all honesty ... I love that my body produced our baby BUT quite frankly, I don’t love my post baby body. I miss feeling fit & strong!
"As women, our bodies go through so much & I feel like there is so much pressure to ‘bounce back’ when it’s just not realistic, especially with a newborn. I mean how tough is it to find the energy to exercise? Some days I am like a machine working out, walking, eating healthy and feeling on top of the world and other days (like yesterday) I haven’t found time for the exercise and I’m caught tucking my head in the sweet cupboard looking for some sugar in the hope it will keep me awake.
"I'm learning that it's ok if you don't love your post baby body. It’s amazing if you love your post baby body but it’s also ok and normal if you don’t. It doesn't mean you haven’t loved the process of bringing your child into the world and it's ok to want to feel back to the ‘old you’. It doesn’t mean we love our children any less.. (Although in all honesty, I’m not sure I will never not feel tired)."
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Kate Hudson proudly showed off her post-baby body in a sports bra and leggings two months after giving birth to her daughter Rani Rose in October 2018. She opened up about turning her focus to her health for the sake of her children, but opened up about struggling to find the time as a new mum, since "kids take the number one position".
She captioned the snap: "So...here we go! The routine with our baby is getting more familiar and I’m ready to start taking a little time in the day focusing on myself. For me that means my health. Why? Because I wanna be around a long time for these three kiddos of mine. I know that some are curious about what that means and for all you moms (wether working or not working moms) it is the most challenging thing in the world to balance kids and personal time.
"Let’s be honest, kids take the number one position and it’s haaaaard to make the time for yourself. I’ve been doing a lot of research and I’ve spent my life time trying all kinds of new things that are focused on health and wellness. Because I am on a mission right now to get back to my fighting weight ;) and my strong body/mind back I want to bring you in on some of this journey. If you want to follow a more in-depth of my to-dos, @prettyhappy will be posting all kinds of fun tidbits from exercises we are loving to foods/recipes we love and meditation practices I just can’t live without.
"MY GOAL: I will be shooting a film in the spring and I’m looking to shed 25lbs. I’d like to try new workouts and eat as healthy as I can. I wanna do all this and keep up milk production, raise my kids, work everyday, make time for my man, have girlfriend time and stay sane! I know that this sounds more like a new year resolution but after Thanksgiving and everyone thanking their health, I feel motivated to keep that up. Much love and hope everyone’s Having an amazing start to the holidays!"
Made In Chelsea star Binky Felstead shared a snap in just a pair of knickers the very day after giving birth to baby India. She celebrated the changes in her shape as we all should, and wrote: " This was taken the morning after giving birth. I appreciate the human body now more than ever! As I’ve been through this body transformation before with India, I’ve decided to embrace it this time.... and not worry as much!"
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Just five days after giving birth to baby Daisy Dove with Orlando Bloom in August 2020, Katy Perry took to her Instagram Stories with a photo of herself in a nursing bra and maternity pants, as she got ready for the MTV VMA Awards. Katy quipped: "Hair n makeup by @exhaustion."
Celebs Go Dating expert Nadia Essex took to Instagram with a series of photos just two months after giving birth to a baby boy in March 2020. She opened up about her appreciation for her body, while sharing her plans to get physically fit again, albeit without a focus on aesthetics.
Nadia captioned the images: "I’m not doing this because I hate my body, I’m doing it because I love it. I’m in awe of what it did, grew my baby and kept us safe. I have been filling it with junk and it’s time to get a grip, so I’m doing the @dotheunthinkableuk plan and Uber excited. Use my code NADIA10 for a discount if you want to join me. Got my very first Virtual PT session tomorrow and boy am I scared it’s gunna be tough. Please show support and encouragement, I love my curves but ready to get healthy."
While other celebs have given themselves a bit of time before baring all, Ashley James shared a series of images including two taken just two hours after labour, and the third just a few days later.
Ashley wrote: "Pregnancy and childbirth has given me a whole new appreciation for my body, and I look everyday at wonder at all the little changes.
"I've been documenting my body with total fascination. The first two images are taken 2 hours after giving birth in the hospital, picture 3 is yesterday, and picture 4 & 5 are taken a few days before birth. The videos are all a day apart.
"I feel like we're taught to fear pregnancy, or how our bodies will look post-birth, but I feel like it's been the most liberating experience. And also makes me so sad for how we are taught to hate our bodies... I look back at my body pre-pregnancy and realise any hang ups I ever had with my body had NOTHING to do with my body.
"I feel like there's all this talk of 'snapping back' - I've been asked countless times whether I'm going to be snapping back, or whether I feel pressure to... I wish it wasn't even a question we had to be asked. And I've seen women being shamed for their body's ability to naturally shake off their weight. The truth is we're all so different, and right now I'm just fascinated at how my body is changing daily. I'm in awe of what it grew, how it grew, what it went through, and how it's changing now.
"I love that my belly is a little wobbly as it's the perfect place for baby's little body to rest on for post feeding naps. He loves it. I also love that my body is being used for what nature intended - I'm not sure if this makes sense or not, but having had my boobs be sexualises ever since I was a teen, it's just so nice to see a baby feeding and sleeping on them. Bliss.
"Anyway, I'm not sure if this makes sense, but I just wanted to share some thoughts around my body, and our bodies in general. We are amazing, never let any unrealistic standard or expectation make you feel otherwise."
Model Ashley Graham showed off her stretch marks in all their miraculous glory after giving birth to son Isaac in 2020. She simply wrote: "Same me. Few new stories."
Love Island star Camilla Thurlow didn't explicitly share a naked post-baby photo, but after fans questioned whether she was pregnant again (they believed they could see another bump), she responded by sharing all the ways in which her body has changed through pregnancy.
Camilla wrote: "I’m 3.5 months postpartum. My body spent 9 months adapting not just to carrying and birthing a baby, but to becoming a mother. My shoulders are broader now and thank goodness they are as I’m carrying a baby around most of the time. They have allowed me to rock my little girl to sleep even when my arms were aching, to let her feel warm and safe in my arms.
"My hips are wider and I’m so glad they are as they give me the support I need to scoop her up and chatter into her perfect little face. I know I have days ahead when I’ll need to perch her on that hip, while I multi-task with her by my side. And yes, I have more energy stores! I’ve never needed them so much in my life, and I’ve never been more grateful to my body for finding a way to constantly keep going. (My feet are also a size bigger but I haven’t quite worked out why that is yet!)."
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