As more and more high-level female athletes continue their exercise routines while pregnant, it is inevitable that one or more of them might compete in the Olympics. In the 2012 Summer Olympics, Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi, a shooter on the Malaysian Olympic team is competing in her eighth month in the 10-meter rifle.
Concerns with women exercising and competing intensely while pregnant usually focus on heat dissipation, energy availability, and possibility of blunt force trauma during competition. However, for a shooter, these are of little to no concern.
The most relevant issue would likely be the competitor's heart rate, as sharpshooters usually fire between heartbeats. In fact, many competitive shooters exercise simply for the benefit of a lower resting heart rate, which gives them a larger window of opportunity to get off a shot.
During pregnancy, a woman's resting heart rate typically increases, sometimes as much as 10-20 beats per minute. While Nur Suryani Mohamed Taibi has likely adapted to this increased heart rate phenomenon over the course of her pregnancy, it will be interesting to see how it might affect her Olympic performance.
We wish her the best.
This story is reprinted from the American College of Sports Medicine.