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Is It Safe For Pregnant Women To Run Marathons?

Sun, October 16, 2011 8:30am EDT by 5 Comments
Pregnant exercise

A woman made headlines when she gave birth to a baby hours after running the 26.2 mile race!

Amber Miller ran the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 9 and then went into labor! asked an expert: Is that safe?
“I personally would not have encouraged this woman to run a full marathon at 38 weeks gestation,” said Dr. Melody T. McCloud, M.D., obstetrician-gynecologist and author.

She added that everything worked out for Amber, but that might not always be the case. “The fact that she delivered just seven hours later may speak to the fact that her marathon put stress on her body and uterus, resulting in the delivery of the baby two weeks ahead of her due date.”

Dr. Melody said risks include bleeding, ruptured membranes, umbilical cord prolapse and more.

However, don’t let your pregnancy stop you from exercising! Dr. Melody says exercise — even running — is okay as long as you don’t have some of these major risk factors: a history of miscarriages or preterm births in the past, having a stitch in and around your cervix to keep the baby in the uterus, severe arthritis or multiple gestation.

Aside from those risk factors, most women can exercise while pregnant. “Stretching is always good,” explained Dr. Melody. “There are so many exercises women can do.”

Some that she recommended are Pilates, dancing, swimming and stationary bikes. But she said to avoid marshal arts, jogging on hard pavement and other extreme sports.

“This marathon mom was fortunate that her baby was quite fine and healthy,” she sad. “But women should check with — and get clearance from — their doctors before embarking upon any exercise at any time before and during the different stages of her pregnancy.”

– Anna Moeslein