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Maternity leave is a type of parental leave that specifically refers to the period of time that a new mother takes off from work after giving birth to a child. The purpose of maternity leave is to allow mothers to recover physically from the childbirth process, as well as to bond with their new baby and adjust to their new role as a parent.

Maternity leave policies vary widely depending on the country and the employer. In some places, maternity leave is mandated by law and may be paid, while in others it is left up to individual employers to decide whether or not to offer it and how much time to offer. In some cases, maternity leave may be combined with other types of parental leave.