Justice Minister Rachida Dati will be back at work this week after giving birth to a baby girl in Paris on Friday.
The minister had said she would only be taking a “short week of maternity leave” and her spokesman Guillaume Didier confirmed she would be back at work on Wednesday.
The child, named Zohra, is the first for the 43-year-old, who is single. The identity of the father has remained the subject of much behind-the-scenes guessing.
Ms Dati has always said pregnancy would not interfere with her work, ignoring suggestions she needs to rest. She had said pregnancy was not “an illness” and “that it is what the body is made for.”
Her appointment by President Nicolas Sarkozy in May 2007 made her the first politician of north African origin to hold a senior government post.
Dati has refused to be drawn on the father’s identity, telling reporters in September that she had “a complicated private life” and would keep him a secret.
A host of magazine covers celebrated her against-the-odds success story
as the second of 12 children born to a Moroccan labourer and illiterate Algerian
mother, hailing her as the new face of France.
But since then a string of aides resigned over her management style and
critics have accused her of rushing through reforms.
Dati, who had an arranged marriage annulled in her youth, had said it was
"fundamental" for her to have a child.
Three French women ministers have had children in the job before,
including Sarkozy’s defeated rival for the presidency Ségolène Royal, when she was
environment minister in the 1990s.
Photo: AFP / Gerard Cerles