Over the weekend, a 39 week pregnant woman completed the Chicago Marathon. She delivered a healthy baby girl several hours later after experiencing contractions at the end of the marathon. Her name is Amber Miller, and she has gotten a lot of press since the weekend. People are responding with very mixed reviews. Katie Couric and another national newscaster reported on the story, and implied that Amber’s participation in the marathon was, “crazy”.
So, is running a marathon at 39 weeks pregnant crazy, or impressive? Or maybe crazy-impressive? My gut reaction was – WOW, is that safe? I continued running up until the day I delivered, but a marathon? That seems a little over the top. Then I did a bit more research on Amber. She is an avid runner, made sure to get her doctors approval, and ended up running half of the marathon, and walking half. She even had her husband with her during the marathon. It also took her a very long time to complete the marathon. My opinion quickly changed once I heard the full story, and I am very impressed with Amber’s accomplishment!
It has been interesting to hear and read the comments on this incredible story. Most women are livid that Amber would dare to prove that you don’t have to be smug and lazy during pregnancy! A few, like myself, are happy that Amber is proving it IS safe to run through an entire pregnancy! But, something tells me that a story like this will not make it any easier to run or workout at the gym while pregnant without critical glares from women on the neighboring elliptical. Those of us who prioritize exercise during pregnancy are still in the tiny minority … and those who are lazy and smug will never be happy to promote what we are doing 🙂
Read more about the marathon mom.
4 thoughts on “39 Week Pregnant Woman Completes Chicago Marathon: Crazy or Impressive?”
There is a substantial difference between working out and running/walking for 7 hours. Doctor’s approval or not, it wasn’t a smart move. She did it only to say she did it and no other reason. Her time was terrible so she did it only to prove a point. I asked an OB and she told me she would never recommend someone do something so physically exhausting with a full term baby. There is no medical research on this. The doctor that gave approval had nothing to back up their opinion. I think it was a selfish decision. Impressive? Maybe. Foolish and an undue strain on her body and more importantly the baby? Absolutely.
But she is healthy, the baby is healthy, and nothing was reported that she had complications in delivery because of it! Since the mother was in such good shape beforehand, she was likely able to do this successfully without injury or harm to her or her baby. I doubt that either she or her husband would have been willing to potentially harm their baby if that was the case! I am guessing that most OB’s would not recommend this to pregnant women who are not already fit or who have not already had a good workout routine or fitness level, but if her doctor, who would have known her condition and fitness level, said it was OK, I don’t think he was crazy! A lot would have been resting on his shoulders if something bad came of it.
Yeah, I have a hard time believing that she did this just to prove a point. She is a marathoner. I consider myself and athlete, not a runner, so I can’t completely understand what prompts runners to subject themselves to the pain of full marathons… (although I am running a half marathon this weekend for fun :), but this girl had done several marathons before, and a few while she was pregnant. It didn’t seem like she was seeking out the press – if she was – don’t you think we would have heard of her before? When I was pregnant, my doctor was soooo supportive of exercise, and he would say that I could continue the same level of activity unless I had abdominal pain, or bleeding, etc. I knew the warning signs to look for, and even called and got an ultrasound one time when I had some minor abdominal pain around 26 weeks. And yes, I agree- a doctor would never recommend this for someone who wasn’t already very physically fit. I don’t think she caused any undue harm to the baby.
The question is “why” she chose to run a marathon 39 weeks pregnant. A marathon isn’t a workout. It is an event that is extremely draining and takes weeks to recover from (even for someone who is in peak condition). She wasn’t running for time obviously so why did she do it? There are other ways to exercise. This wasn’t simply exercise. No one exercises for 7 hours straight. As far as we know there were no issues. However since there is no precedent, how did she KNOW there wouldn’t be? It was a risk to an unborn baby that was fairly needless. Again, there is a difference between exercise and running/walking for 7 hours straight. I will always protect the health of the unborn child. Decisions need to be made to protect the baby. You don’t run a marathon to work out. You run to compete against something whether it be mentally or physically (intrinsically or extrinsically). I just think she made a mistake in judgement regardless of her fitness level (which was clearly higher than most women pregnant or not).