Which do you think is harder: finishing a marathon or giving birth to a baby?
Well, Amber Miller, a veteran marathoner, did both in one day!
She was 38 weeks pregnant last Sunday, October 16, 2011 when she finished the Chicago Marathon with a time of 6 hours and 25 minutes. This is 3 hours longer than her PR (personal record).
Now, ladies, don’t be challenged and strive to copy Amber’s impossible feat. First of all, she was a seasoned athlete. She has completed eight full marathons and she had signed up for the Chicago Marathon even before she knew she was pregnant. So, she had plenty of time to prepare for this one.
In my opinion, Amber was taking a huge risk. She could have encountered all sorts of obstacles or unforeseen circumstances along the way. She could have tripped or fallen on her tummy. She could have suffered heat stroke or dehydration. Her water bag could have ruptured in the middle of nowhere.
I’m a doctor. Believe me when I say that I’ve seen the worse things happen to a pregnant mother and you don’t want it happening to you and your baby.
Exercising during pregnancy is recommended but we advise it only in moderation. Thirty minutes a day of walking, swimming and low-impact aerobics is the ideal. Running, cycling and jump-roping are not advised due to the risk of contractions and/or falling. Remember that as your tummy gets bigger, your center of gravity changes so you may easily lose your balance.
Make sure to hydrate yourself by drinking a lot of water before, during and after exercising.
Do not overheat yourself. Pregnancy itself increases your body temperature. Too much physical exertion may elevate your body temperature even more. Some studies have reported an increased incidence of neurodevelopmental abnormalities in babies when the body temperature of the mother rises beyond 39 degrees Celsius.
Learn to count your heart rate. If it exceeds 140 beats per minute, you are overdoing it. Slow down and take a break.
Wear lose comfortable clothing but be sure to wear a good support bra. If you don’t want to buy one since you won’t be using it for too long, you may wear 2 bras for better support.
Eat at least 1 hour before you plan to exercise to prevent heartburn and vomiting.
If while exercising you experience any of the following: headache, dizziness, chest pain, abdominal pain, contractions, watery vaginal discharge or bleeding…Stop!
You’re not Amber Miller… and you don’t have to be. Exercise is good but if it will compromise your baby then it’s not worth it.