At zero months pregnant, we're unable to lift 215lb, yet that's the amount Meghan Umphres Leatherman was able to lift despite being two days away from giving birth.
Mindbogglingly, she even broke some records doing so. Her story echoes that of pregnant bodybuilder Lee-Ann Ellison who caused controversy when pictures of her training went viral.
Even when she was 1cm dilated, that didn’t stop her grueling CrossFit fitness regime – which combines weightlifting, gymnastics and cardio activities.
The 33-year-old even lifted weights on the day she went into labour and broke records in the final days of pregnancy.
As well as going to the gym four times a week, Meghan, from Arizona, continued to walk her dog for three miles a day and go on a four-mile hike through the mountains every week.
But far from doing herself or her first baby damage, Meghan, a marketing and communications consultant, insists they’re both healthier for it and her pregnancy was actually easier.
Now she is settling in to life as a mum after giving birth to 6 lb, 11 oz daughter, Florence Germaine, on May 3.
But she expects to be back at the gym again in just three weeks.
She said: “I’ve talked to my doctor and she says I can go back to the gym within three weeks. I would never give up CrossFit – being fit helped me to conceive in the first place and it kept me healthy throughout my pregnancy.”
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Fitness fanatic Meghan first started lifting weights two years ago and was instantly hooked.
She now trains religiously at Back Alley CrossFit in Phoenix with husband, Chad, 34, who owns a payroll services company.
“As soon as I started CrossFit I was addicted to the results,” said Meghan. “I never considered giving it up during pregnancy. It fitted with my personality. It’s a challenge. I like to try and work with others in a community and getting the motivation to be stronger and fitter and better.
“I didn’t lose that motivation just because I was pregnant.”
Meghan, who has ran a marathon and eight half marathons in the last four years, says that lifting weights has staved off morning sickness.
“I was never sick at all,” She said. “There were times I just need to go in and lift when hormones are running a little stronger than I’m used to.
“To go in and be extra physical kept me focused and thankful and gave me a feeling of empowerment. I never considered giving up. I had family give me a hard time early on but I just said my doctor’s said it’s ok. It made me feel good so why stop?”
Meghan even says her pregnancy hormones actually made it easier for her to lift weights.
And she was even recording new records during the 40th week.
Three days before her due date, Meghan set new personal records, lifting 215lb deadlifts.
She was also doing 110lb push presses and 165lb squats and saw her energy levels and strength soar as her due date grew nearer.
Weightlifting in pregnancy has come under harsh criticism in recent months after fellow American Lea-Ann Ellison was photographed pumping iron at eight and a half months.
But Meghan says she finds criticism of pregnant CrossFit ‘amusing’ and says that doctors have encouraged her to be active.
She said: “My doctors have been incredibly supportive of what I’m doing. They were thrilled that I was setting personal records with weight lifting and they told me to keep active and hydrated.”
Meghan and, Chad are both qualified CrossFit coaches, and although Chad supports his wife, he did initially find it difficult to watch.
Meghan has also been supported by her coach, who she “shocked every week” with her growing strength, and has been called an inspiration by other women at the gym.
“If I’d had heart problems or my blood pressure was up or anything that would indicate a problem for the baby I’d obviously have done something different,” said Meghan.
“But I think it only made me healthier and better prepared.”
Florence, nicknamed “Florie” was born after four hours of contractions.
Meghan said: “I had an easy birth thanks to CrossFit. I pushed for less than 20 minutes to welcome her to the world.
“A woman shouldn’t be criticised for trying to stay active and healthy. This actually helped me have an easier pregnancy and delivery,” said Meghan.
“I think women should embrace pregnancy and not use it as an excuse to get lazy.”