Does Giving Birth Make Stronger Olympians?

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By Kate Goodin

Many athletes in the summer Olympics are also parents. You'd think the craziness of raising children (combined with their intense training) would make for some weary Olympians, but, according to the New York Times, it could be the opposite: some athletes have found they're faster and stronger post-baby.

Plus: 2012 Olympians Who are Also Parents

A sports medicine specialist quoted in the Times said there's no chemical process or bodily change from pregnancy that builds muscle or endurance-but picking up, holding, and chasing after little human beings probably does the trick. Chaunté Lowe, the US Olympics trials champ in the high jump, said that she can lift more now that she's a mom: "Before the birth, the highest weight I could squat was 225 pounds. But now I can squat a lot more than that." Lowe can also run faster: she clocked in half a second faster in her 100m race than she did in college.

Plus: Parents of Olympic Athletes on Raising a Champion

The break from training during pregnancy may allow an athlete's body the respite it needs to heal and start fresh. Amy Acuff, who finished third in the high jump trials, said the break did her body good: "You spend your life abusing your body with pounding and overtraining. I think a rest can be very good."

Plus: Parenting.com's Guide to the Olympics

Yet another reason to believe that moms really are superwomen! Do you feel stronger and healthier after giving birth?