Mothers returning to championship form is becoming more common for elite athletes. The reigning MVP of the Women's National Basketball Association, for instance, is 23-year-old Candace Parker, who was back playing less than two months after giving birth.
Lucrative athletic careers – the likes of which were unavailable to women decades ago – is one incentive for such maternally minded athletes. Other factors include improved nutrition and science, making it easier to recover from childbirth, and, perhaps, greater acceptance of the "superwoman" mythology, the idea that high-level careers – whether on field or off – are more within reach for mothers.
If the desire to compete and work ethic are still there, women will find having a baby does not rob them of their physical skills, said Jim Pivarnik, a kinesiology professor at Michigan State University.