A Marathon Runner Delivers a BabyOctober 11th, 2011
Amber Miller, a veteran marathon runner, did not have much time to celebrate after finishing the Chicago Marathon on Sunday: She had a baby to deliver.
Ms. Miller, 27, had competed in two races while 17 weeks pregnant. But on Sunday she combined two major events in one day. Running while 39 weeks pregnant, she finished the marathon in 6 hours and 25 minutes, then gave birth to a baby girl about seven hours later. The race was the easier of the two, she said at a news conference on Monday.
As the Chicago Sun-Times reports:
Miller said she didn’t feel any ill effects from her 6-hour and 25-minute effort during the marathon, except sore feet and a few blisters. She set an easy pace, running two miles, then walking the next two — finishing three hours off her personal best for a marathon.
“I don’t feel anything from the marathon, but I do feel what’d you expect after giving birth,” she said during a Monday press conference.
She said some other racers did double takes when they noticed the visibly pregnant runner in the white T-shirt jogging along, but many offered encouraging comments.
Medical workers and race volunteers along the course seemed startled to see her.
“They were all watching me, I did notice that,” said Miller.
While she experienced some contractions during the race, she’s not sure she actually was in labor because she typically feels some contractions when she runs while pregnant.
Ms. Miller is not the first woman to combine pregnancy and marathon training. Paula Radcliffe, the world record holder in the women’s marathon, ran throughout two pregnancies and has trained with Kara Goucher, another elite marathoner who kept up a training schedule while pregnant. Ms. Radcliffe ran twice a day during the first five months of her pregnancy in 2006, then cut back as she approached her due date. While there have been no studies looking specifically at the effects of intense training on pregnancy, guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services say that women can sustain the level of physical activity they engaged in prior to pregnancy.
Women are generally encouraged to exercise during pregnancy, but those who have not previously been very active should stick to light activity like walking, said Dr. Mary Rosser, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and women’s health at Montefiore Medical Center who has counseled many patients who were pregnant athletes. Dr. Rosser said Ms. Miller, the Chicago marathoner, was a conditioned athlete who was aware of the risks and took precautions, like walking through parts of the race instead of running.
“It should be individualized,” Dr. Rosser said. “The woman needs to be in tune or aware of her body and her baby and communicate openly with her doctor. Most women I’ve seen are not at that level of conditioning. She’s used to running long distances, and she didn’t just start doing it. She set realistic goals, so it may be O.K. for her, but maybe not for the average everyday pregnant woman.”
By ANAHAD O'CONNOR
To read further: go here http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/a-marathon-runner-delivers-a-baby/