Laila Ali: Shares Workout, Says Labor Was 'Exactly What I Had Expected'

10/17/2008 at 07:00 PM ET
Courtesy OK! Magazine

In an appearance on the CBS Early Show last week, Laila Ali shared that she is "doing excellent" after welcoming her first child, Curtis Muhammad, on August 26. With the new baby — who Laila reports is "great" — at home with his proud papa, retired NFL player Curtis Conway, the 30-year-old first-time mom took the opportunity to share her birthing experience and her fitness plan during and after her pregnancy. A professional athlete, Laila stayed fit through her first two trimesters by hitting the gym about five days a week. Having previously shared that her workout routines were designed around her pregnancy, Laila told CBS morning anchor Julie Chen that she was "doing the elliptical for 45 minutes, walking for 15 minutes, doing lightweight training, [and] a little pilates." However, after seven months of steady exercise, Laila realized that "at a certain point, I needed to stop," and began resting up for the big delivery day. "[I was] making sure I was eating right [and] getting enough rest because giving birth is a lot of work and you need to have good energy," explains Laila, who goes on to say she "was prepared."

Only two weeks after giving birth, Laila explains that she was ready to begin exercising and getting back into shape. She alerted her doctor that she was "coming in for a check-up," hoping to get permission to return to the gym and start shedding the pounds. With a thumbs up from her doctor — and a warning to not "go 100%" — the new mom was ready. Now, four weeks later, Laila says that she is "in spinning and weight training" and agrees that getting back in shape is "a lot of work." Although Laila notes that she still has "about 25 lbs. to get off," she admits to wondering when her stomach will bounce back! Laila laughs,

"I always want to know when the gut’s going to come off. I guess that’s the last thing to go!"

Click ‘More’ to read about Laila’s delivery experience.

Determined to have a homebirth in order to be in "my ownenvironment, naturally, not with any medical intervention," Lailashares that her plans changed after the doctors found possibleabnormalities in her ultrasounds. "The months kept going on and I washaving ultrasounds. The doctor thought the baby might have a growthrestriction," says Laila. Under doctor’s orders to deliver her baby ata hospital in order to "monitor the baby during the birth," Lailaexplains that despite foregoing the original birth plan, everything was"fine because I wanted to do whatever was best for the baby." Stillchoosing "minimal pain medication," the labor was "tough," but "exactly what I had expected," admits Laila.

"Ourbodies are made to give birth. But it’s not the easiest thingobviously, so I had a long labor. Most women that have their firstchild are in labor for about 24 hours and that’s what happened to me.24."

In an effort to educate women on the "many options out there" when it comes to giving birth, Laila urges moms-to-be to watch Ricki Lake‘s documentary, The Business of Being Born."You need to just do your research. I just think that women need toknow that you don’t have to go to a hospital, you don’t have to get anepidural," says Laila. 

Source: CBS Early Show

FILED UNDER: Bodywatch , News

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ekaterina on

i am glad to see another celeb bringing homebirth to the forefront- i was lucky to have had two homebirthsd and i cant iumagine birthing any other way , although roight before my daughter was born i remember thinking :ok i have done it now i have nothing left to prove top myself so next timde i will go for the drugs!!!!!” which is even funnier as it was our last child!

Angelika on

Yay for her…I really think she is gorgeous inside and out. A note about that documentary though – it really is a big piece of propaganda…my husband’s sister is the product of a home birth from the early 80s, and something went terribly wrong during delivery and she is now mentally handicapped. So do educate yourself about all your birth options, but don’t feel guilty for choosing the one YOU are most comfortable with!

tomo on

It’s very inspiring! I had my first baby boy on sep 14th and am trying to shed pregnancy weight as well. And she is right. It is very hard. I gained 55 (!) lbs but lost 30 lbs almost instantly. I got 25 more to go. I will keep it up no matter what. She is definetely someone I look up to

Little Miss S on

I actually doubt any woman’s stomach will go back to what it was before birth – or am I just not trying hard enough?!

becky on

I agree about getting educated beforehand, and watching the Business of Being Born was a GREAT resource for me in preparing to welcome our son at the end of June. It gave me the confidence I needed to birth my 10 pound beautiful boy at home, and I wouldn’t have traded that experience for the world! Way to go Laila on being an advocate for how truly strong us women are!!

Tara on

I’m so excited to hear more celebrities speaking out about their homebirth plans and being open to birthing naturally. I love that Laila was so receptive to her body’s ability to birth! And to exercise through pregnancy and two weeks after, wow. Good for her. The weight will come off, but the baby belly? I think Pilates is the only way to get the flat stomach again.

Angela on

Angelika, I work with mentally handicapped children for my job. Not a single one of them was born at home, so to jump to the conclusion that home birth = brain damage is a stretch, at best. Good and bad outcomes happen regardless of birth location. Just make sure that location is what works for you and your family. Women have more options than they might realize when it comes to where they may have their babies.

I’m glad Laila is sharing her birth story with the world and proving that midwifery care works so well. Congrats to her on such a gorgeous little man!

Melea on

Hmmm… I wanted the epidural for my second but my daughter had other plans. My first was induced at 38 weeks, stadol, epidural, FELT NOTHING, not one single contraction. Then my second decided that after castor oil and walking three miles she would come, QUICK. Labor started at 2:15am, 30 minute drive to the hospital with my water breaking in the car, fully dilated when I got there at 5:15am, had to wait on the doctor for 25 minutes before I could push and then at 5:46am she was here. Husband was there, my 2 year old was in the hallway screaming with a nurse, no one else made it, no photos of her birth… really wish we had expected a quick labor and delivery or something, alot of memories that are only in my head that I wish we had got to document with videos and photos. Very quick but oh so painful. I don’t know how women do it when their labor is long… kudos to yall!

I will say that IF I knew for sure that my next labor would be just like that one, I would do a home birth but I just don’t want to risk a really long labor with contractions every 30 seconds… that stinks.

Sydney on

Angela, I don’t think Angelika was saying home birth = brain damage at all. I think she was just pointing out that the documentary is very one sided and doesn’t stress that when things go wrong, there isn’t the kind of help, expertise and equipment that you would get at the hospital. This may have been the case with her husband’s sister, had there been more facilities that her handicap could have been prevented or it may have been less severe. I don’t believe she blamed home birthing for childrens disabilities but was just reminding us of the potential complications and to think carefully about what birthing experience is right for you.

Brandi on

Sydney I am not sure if you’ve seen the film but I’d have to disagree. The producer that made the film with Ricki ended up going in for a c-section after a planned homebirth did not work for her. A smart, well-trained midwife will know when that is the right decision. I didn’t find the film to be one-sided at all, in fact I just found it to be very eye opening, statistics wise.

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