New research published in Science Advances took a look at the endurance it takes to do very tricky things like run a 20-week marathon, ride the Tour de France, trek the polar ice caps and carry a baby – and it was found that pregnancy is right up there with these other athletic feats.
Gold medal pregnancy
The study’s authors say that the athletes’ energy-burning often started off very high, but then commonly plateaued to … just a little higher than the rate a woman typically sustains during pregnancy.
This commonality points to a sort of biological “ceiling” or “cap” on the amount of energy humans can use over a period of time when doing hard things. It also seems that the longer our bodies endure an effort, the more our metabolism slows down.
Study co-author Herman Pontzer says that science confirms pregnancy truly is right up there when it comes to difficult, endurance experiences.