Fifa has made changes to further protect female footballers and coaches during and after pregnancy, as well as in non-biological motherhood.

It includes the addition of a minimum of 14 weeks paid maternity leave for coaches, having previously been in place for just players.

If choosing to adopt, players and coaches will be granted a period of leave that ranges dependent on their child’s age, while family leave is available for parents who are not the biological mother.

There are changes to player registration, allowing clubs to sign players outside of a transfer window if a squad member has taken maternity, adoption or family leave.

Players will also be entitled to request absence from training or matches because of menstrual health reasons, while still receiving full pay.

The changes from football’s world governing body will come into place from 1 June and was approved by the Fifa council in May.

In April, BBC Sport spoke to several players and coaches in the Women’s Super League about the challenges and barriers they faced in motherhood.

Chelsea and Germany midfielder Melanie Leupolz said: “You hear of many bad stories in Europe of players who didn’t get support at all.

“It’s just understanding the support around football. It’s not what happens on the pitch. We are footballers that have to compete – and that shouldn’t change.”

In May, BBC Sport revealed clubs were set to receive guidelines from FifPro before the new season to support players when they return after childbirth.

The guidelines are set to cover a range of topics including fitness, nutrition and childcare.

On the latest changes introduced by Fifa, former USA head coach and two-time World Cup winner Jill Ellis said: “It’s a big statement.

“These are big steps and big strides to really normalise the life that we go through as women.

“That’s what we want to provide now at every level – the opportunity for professional players to have the chance to be mums.”

A PFA spokesperson said: “These new measures have been heavily influenced by feedback from national player unions, FifPro and our members, so this is a welcome and positive step in the right direction.

“However, it’s important that there continues to be a collective effort to improve the rights and conditions of players in the women’s game so that elite athletes are also able to thrive as working mothers.

“That’s as much about the culture we create within the game as it is about the rules and regulations.”

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