Pregnancy is no mean feat. And if you are heading towards the end of your third trimester, and ready for the big event, you’d know what we are talking about. Along with the happiness and excitement of the new phase, there is one hard fact that people omit or forget about being pregnant. Want to know what it is? It’s that pregnancy is EXHAUSTING!!! If you felt like you have been running the longest marathon, it’s because you actually have. Pregnant women and marathon runners have a lot in common that you think. Hard to believe, right?
Let’s See What The Study Says
According to a new study, a pregnant woman pretty much has the same energy expenditure as that of people participating in the Tour De France or polar trekking. The study analyzed the everyday energy expenditure of endurance athletes over a period of 20 weeks and compared it to women who are pregnant, Ironman triathletes, and the Tour De France competitors (1).
The aim of the study was to find out the maximum energy that a human body can sustain for a prolonged time before it begins to utilize its own tissues to make up for the loss.
When you think about it, intense activities can be continued for shorter periods and less intense activities can be continued for much longer. But researchers have been able to put a number on it with this incredible study.
Human Endurance And Its Limits
The athletes ran several marathons for months, where scientists examined the effect it had on their bodies. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) was measured before and during the time of the race. RMR is the calories the body uses when it relaxes. The calories burned when the body was at its extreme endurance was also recorded. It was found that the energy endurance started to peak, but eventually flattened at 2.5 times the RMR.
The research also found a link between energy expenditure and how long a sporting event is. It was hardest to burn the calories when the event was the longest. So, you can surpass the base metabolic rate doing a shorter event, but it cannot be sustained in the long run. The study also found that running a marathon was nowhere close to the human endurance limit.
The study also analyzed the urine samples which were collected during the initial and last legs of Race Across the USA. It was found that the athletes were only able to burn 600 calories fewer than their expected mileage.
According to Dr. Herman Pontzer from Duke University, you can perform intense activities for a shorter period. But if you wish for it to last long, then you will have to reduce the intensity level of the activity (2). He further stated that nobody they know has ever been able to go beyond the limit of human endurance.
Why We Say That Pregnant Women Have Superpowers
The study found that a pregnant woman’s energy expenditure increases 2.2 times than their RMR. This goes to show that a pregnant woman touches almost the same benchmark as an athlete or a polar trekker when it comes to maximum energy endurance they can sustain (3).
It’s no big news that pregnant women go through a lot of hardships before they go into labor. Pregnancy takes a lot out of you, and it can be pretty exhausting. But with this new study, we now have a number on how much a woman endures during pregnancy and lactation.
So, the next time, if you hear somebody saying how being pregnant is no big deal, and what’s the fuss about, you can quote this study and shut them up. Also, share this post with fellow mommies to educate them as well.