There’s tired, and there’s pregnancy tired.
One of the hallmarks of pregnancy is utter and complete exhaustion. And it makes sense. I mean, your body is not only doing the work to keep your own ass alive, but it’s also doing the extra work of creating a whole other human being (from scratch, I may add) and keeping it alive, too. Say what you will, but pregnancy truly is amazing and incredible. A miracle of human life and an ultimate test of human performance.
Well, it turns out pregnancy truly does push the human body to incredible limits. A new study published in Science Advances found that pregnant women, like extreme athletes, push the body to the peak of human endurance.
The study looked at limits of energy expenditures, particularly in the context of endurance athletes. They found that distance runners reached this level of peak performance while in action racing; however, pregnant women reached this peak performance threshold in lower intensity conditions and then kept it up for longer stretches of time.
For peak performance, they looked at metabolic rates and the ability to burn a large number of calories in an efficient way. They looked at how endurance athletes burn through 4,000 calories before depleting energy stores, and used this as their definition of peak performance. Turns out that when people are pushing to extremes in endurance sports, the body adapts and becomes more efficient. This also occurs in pregnancy.
Pregnancy is undoubtedly intense. The body is consistently and actively working with increased blood flow and heart rate, performing diligently to create new life. I’ve never been much of an athlete, but I have had three pregnancies, so OMG same.
It’s about time that pregnant women start getting the recognition they deserve for being incredible. The ability to grow another human and still go about your regular day is majestic AF.
Regardless of how amazing it is, it can also be a time where you can feel a little insecure about your body and your abilities. So remind yourself and your friends that you’re pushing the limits of peak physical performance. Then lay down for a nap and a snack, because baby, you deserve it!