Does Preg­nancy Make You Tougher?

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - Training Feature -

Is there any truth to the no­tion that fe­male ath­letes achieve higher per­for­mance lev­els af­ter hav­ing chil­dren? The idea first came from re­ported sto­ries about Euro­pean ath­letes in the early 20th cen­tury who would in­ten­tion­ally get preg­nant in or­der to boost their per­for­mance. De­spite lim­ited stud­ies, there are many anec­do­tal sto­ries from ath­letes them­selves sup­port­ing this idea.

From a phys­i­o­log­i­cal stand­point, there is some truth to this idea, as many of the changes hap­pen­ing to a preg­nant woman’s body, in­clud­ing an el­e­vated heart rate and an in­crease in her blood vol­ume, mim­ics what nor­mally hap­pens when a non-preg­nant per­son trains con­sis­tently over a pe­riod of time. How­ever, it re­mains to be seen whether some of the re­ported im­prove­ments (ob­served most of­ten with elite ath­letes) are more di­rectly linked to how soon a woman re­turns to train­ing post­par­tum and her ac­ces­si­bil­ity to cer­tain re­sources, such as a coach, per­sonal trainer or phys­io­ther­a­pist. Many women do re­port feel­ing men­tally stronger af­ter giv­ing birth, which ul­ti­mately can also lead to bet­ter per­for­mances. “I feel men­tally stronger from child­birth and bal­anc­ing my time be­tween train­ing, rac­ing and fam­ily,” ex­plains Kabush. The bot­tom line is that while achiev­ing per­sonal bests af­ter giv­ing birth is a pos­si­bil­ity, it is not a guar­an­tee. Jen­nifer Faraone is an age group world cham­pion duath­lete and coach. To­gether with Carol Ann Weis she wrote The Preg­nant Ath­lete Within, due out in 2014.

Left Danelle Kabush out train­ing while preg­nant with daugh­ter Zoe be­low Tara Norton on the beach in Kona, Hawaii, where she was coach­ing and train­ing at five months preg­nant bot­tom Kathy Trem­blay with her hus­band David- James Taché and son Ti­mothé dur­ing

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