Is It Safe For Pregnant Women To Run Marathons?

Sun, October 16, 2011 8:30am EST 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

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u pull it

Posted at 12:34 AM on May 9, 2012  

Helpful info. Fortunate me I found your site unintentionally, and I’m shocked why this accident did not took place in advance! I bookmarked it.

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Posted at 3:42 PM on October 17, 2011  

I ran a marathon when I was 16 weeks pregnant. It’s not as rare as people seem to think it is.

I also ran a 5K 5 days before giving birth. I ran the morning I went into labour. I restarted running 13 days after birth.

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Posted at 10:38 AM on October 17, 2011  


This woman did not put her interests ahead of her babies. She did exactly as the doctor in this story recommended and got clearance from her doctor based on her individual circumstances first! She also didn’t run the full marathon, but ran a half marathon and walked the second half. She was advised by her doctor that the baby would be okay, and she may not have gone out to make headlines. By all accounts, this woman is very fit, and ran marathons regularly before she was pregnant. She made headlines because it’s kindof hard for the media covering the event to miss a full term pregnant woman running by. Personally I woulnd’t have done it. The Chicago marathon is 100% on concrete and I wouldn’t have wanted to stress my joints that would already be stressed by running on concrete with the excess weight. In my last trimester, I stuck to swimming for my cardio. It game me the cardio while taking the extra weight off my joints.

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Posted at 4:18 PM on October 16, 2011  

Well she had her doc’s blessing and had her husband with her, so it wasn’t like she was being completely irresponsible.

Still, after seeing the slew of interviews she eagerly gave, can’t help but think her need to be a headline overweighed the risks, however minor they might have been. A perfectly healthy guy died during the same marathon too, and last I read, after the autopsy they still don’t know what happened exactly.

There is a LOT of middle ground between being totally sedentary and feeling the need to do a marathon, especially continuing even after you start to have contractions. I am all for not wrapping mommies-to-be in bubble wrap and all, but I guess I’d err on the side of being a little more cautious especially when that far along.

Anyway, glad she and baby were okay!

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Posted at 11:34 AM on October 16, 2011  

How selfish to put your own motives and desire to make history ahead of the well being of your unborn child. Thank God all was well. She would have blamed herself for the rest of her life if her child had been harmed as a result of her dedision.

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