Running While Pregnant

About a month ago, a woman ran the Chicago marathon 9 ½ months pregnant.  She ran half of the race and walked the other half, all with her husband keeping a close eye on her (for more about the story, here is the link to the Chicago Sun article: http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/8136835-418/woman-gives-birth-after-running-chicago-marathon.html).  She finished in 6 hours and 25 minutes and gave birth to a healthy baby 7 hours later.

    A handful of clients asked me about this, curious as to whether or not I thought it was okay.  I explained that because this was a veteran runner (her personal best in the marathon is under 3 ½ hours) and since she had her doctor’s okay, I thought it was completely fine, healthy even.  My answer would have been different if this was her first marathon or she were an inexperienced runner, but since this was an activity her body was clearly used to doing, it wasn’t overly-taxing her system.  According to Scott, 2006, exercise for elite athletes should be between 70-80% heart rate maximum.  As a regular marathon runner, with an efficient running gait, I am sure she stayed within the guidelines.  Exercising during pregnancy is related to improved pregnancy and labor.  Obviously, if a woman’s doctor places her on bed rest or she has a difficult pregnancy, exercise should be avoided, but if the woman is healthy, exercise will do far more good than harm.

Scott, S., (2006).  Medical report: exercise during pregnancy.  American College of Sports Medicine Health & Fitness Journal, 10(2), pp.  37-39. 

Yours in health and wellness,

Jenn