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Romanian Society for Sports Medicine



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"Medicina Sportiva" No.14 - 2008 The 15-th Sports Medicine Balkan Congress
APPLIED EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY


PREGNANCY AND GIVING BIRTH OF ELITE ATHLETES

Maria Toteva
National Sports Academy, Sofia, Bulgaria

 
Introduction. The moderate level of exercise on a regular basis during a low risk pregnancy has minimal risk for the fetus and beneficial metabolic and cardio-respiratory effects for the exercising pregnant woman. Pregnancy in the elite competitive athlete will require some alteration in training.
The aim of the present study is to investigate the influence of the period of pregnancy and giving birth in elite female athletes.
Results and discussion. 38 elite female athletes from 14 sports have been surveyed. 32% of them stop active training right after getting pregnant. The rest continue till the 10th week (28%) and
others even longer till the 6th month: (athletics and rowers). Few continue their participation in competitions till their 4th month of pregnancy, while the larger part (78%) discontinue before that. Only 3 athletes have had some health problems. The pre-birth contractions, the labor until the actual delivery of the baby last the average of 6-7 hours and in 89% of the cases birth is natural. Postpartum about 50% stop with their sports career due to various personal and social reasons. Those who continue go back to their physical programs in the period between 2 and 10 months after giving birth. It is very important that 90% of the athletes mark achievements better than those before pregnancy. This happens after different periods of training.
Conclusion. The elite sport is not an obstacle for normal maternity and physiological functioning of female athletes. On the contrary maternity can have positive influence on achievements.
Key words: female athletes, pregnancy, giving  birth.





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