Having A Baby Can Make You A Better Athlete, But Busybodies Will Probably Still Freak Out About Pregnant Runners

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exercise-after-pregnancyHaving a baby does weird things to one’s body, but it turns out some of those things are great. Apparently having a baby can actually make women better at sports. Personally, I’m conflicted about this news. On the one hand, increased athletic performance would be awesome. On the other, people might start expecting me to take the stairs now.

According to Big Think, some doctors in the U.K. say that because pregnancy increases a person’s blood volume, it can improve aerobic performance with an effect on the body that’s similar to blood doping.

“During pregnancy, a woman’s heart is essentially remodelled. While the thickness of the heart walls remains the same, the chamber capacity increases, enabling it to hold a much larger volume of blood. This increases the efficiency with which oxygen is supplied to the muscles, the same mechanism induced by blood doping.”


That sounds pretty cool, because blood doping always sounds like something out of House to me. But U.K. distance runner Paula Radcliffe started winning particularly prestigious marathons after she had a baby, and doctors speculate that the baby-induced performance increase might have something to do with it.

The baby doping effect does not appear to last forever, but the postpartum period can be a great few months for athletes. Those who were very fit before pregnancy have apparently shown a noticeable performance boost after having their babies. Maybe this will help shut up all those naysayers who freak out whenever they see a pregnant woman exercising.

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