The Realistic & Amazing Bodies of Mothers During Pregnancy & Postpartum

Every mother who has grown a baby and given birth knows what an absolute miracle it is that a woman's body is capable of such magnificent undertakings . But in a society obsessed with body image and being thin, unrealistic expectations of how the body should "bounce back" postpartum cause many women to suffer from self-esteem issues with regard to pregnancy weight gain and how their body looks after giving birth . Celebrity mama Alyssa Milano is expecting her second child, and she has some very positive, healthy ideas about pregnancy weight. Photographer Jade Beall captures realistic and compelling images of mothers' bodies in her aptly named "A Beautiful Body" Project . Additionally, the 4th Trimester Bodies Project embraces and celebrates the beauty of postpartum women . Further adding to the awe of the female body, read about one mom's awesome experience eating her placenta. Planning a natural childbirth with your amazing strength and capabilities? Read our guide: how to prepare for natural childbirth. Stay strong and healthy with these must know fitness tips for the first trimester and beyond . There's even a new suspension training program that aims to strengthen your prenatal and postnatal body -- appropriately named Birthing Warrior.

Image © Jade Beall