Pregnant Athletes have roused a lot of controversial debates, which caused physicians to delve into research and it might shock you to learn this newest information on pregnancy and sports; whether it is okay for you to run during pregnancy.
It contradicts all you know about the activities pregnant (athletes) women should and should not indulge in.
BBC reports says, many top sportswomen continue training – and even competing – after they get pregnant. While a new report commissioned by the International Olympic Committee confirms there are fewer risks than you might think.
Pregnant Athletes Participating In Competitive Sports
The report recounted a Norwegian famous athlete, Ingrid Kristiansen, who participated in World Cross Country Championship in Gateshead, England, pregnant — by almost five months. Of course she was unaware of the pregnancy. It Is a known fact that female athletes often have irregular menstrual cycles so it’s not uncommon for them to become pregnant without knowing.
Reports show that over the years, at least 17 women (pregnant athletes) have competed at the Olympics pregnant. These women attested that running while pregnant poses little or no health problem for them or their baby.
As much as this is true, it is important to note that athletes and women who love to indulge in exercises are particularly referred to in this report.
There has been speculations on historical believes and advice for pregnant (athletes) women relating to exercise and for a long time, exercise was simply thought to conflict with a woman’s reproductive ability. The roots of this feeling were unscientific, and more to do with gender roles than with the health of mother or baby.
According to Professor Kari Bo from the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences,
“There are only a few high-quality studies into pregnancy among elite athletes or those who exercise a great deal, but it seems that many do continue to exercise during pregnancy, and it does not affect them in a negative way. It doesn’t seem to harm either the foetus or the mother.”
Directing his message to pregnant athletes (women) the professor said:
“Listen to your body. If you do something that feels wrong, it’s probably best to stop.”
Prof Kari Bo believes women (pregnant) athletes are their own best judges when it comes to training during pregnancy – but she has the following tips on how they should exercise during pregnancy:
- For the first trimester (12-week period) it’s best to avoid getting too hot, so consider wearing light clothing, exercising in air-conditioned environments, and refraining from strenuous exercise on the hottest days
- Female weight-lifters should probably reduce the weight they lift, since it may increase blood pressure, stop blood flow to the foetus and strain the pelvic floor
- Scuba diving is not advisable during pregnancy, and women in their final trimester may also wish to avoid participating in sports such as football or hockey where they may have a fall or collision
A small study of Olympic pregnant athletes showed that blood flow to the foetus was reduced when the mother exercised above 90% of maximal oxygen consumption – in practice this means that moderate exercise in training is fine, but pregnant athletes/women should refrain from maximal efforts during endurance training.
Another media report shows 8 months pregnant, five-time national champion Alysia Montano ran the 800 meters in a U.S. Track and Field Championships.
Although the she finished last in the race, she received a rousing ovation from the crowd as she crossed the finish line. Just like the other women who have participated in a competitive sport, Montano said she consulted with her physician and not only doctors give Montano the OK to run, they encouraged her.
“I just didn’t want to get lapped (as a pregnant athlete) and be the first person to get lapped in the 800,” she said.
“The doctors’permission took away any fear of what the outside world might think about a woman running during her pregnancy.”
“What I found out mostly was that exercising during pregnancy is actually much better for the mom and the baby. … I did all the things I normally do … I just happened to be pregnant. This is my normal this year.”
Read Also: 13 Best Foods For Pregnant Women
Meanwhile, BBC mentioned Eva Nystrom who became the long distance duathlon world champion in 2012, the year after giving birth to her son. A camera shot showed pregnant Nystrom skii a few days before giving birth to her son.
Ingrid Kristiansen on the other hand, gave herself just four days of rest following the birth of her son Gaute before she began training once again. A month later she was taking part in cross-country competitions, and before too long came the Houston marathon, which she won with a time five-and-a-half minutes faster than the year before – 2:27:51.