Interesting read from The Chicago Tribune…
Marathon woman’s delivery sparks mixed reactions about safety
By Ronnie Reese, Tribune reporter
October 11, 2011
June Audra Miller, 7 pounds, 13 ounces, was born to Miller and her husband, Joe, at 10:29 p.m. at Central DuPage Hospital. Earlier that day, Miller had walked half of the 26.2-mile marathon and run the other half, finishing ahead of 1,130 other participants with a time of 6:25:50.
“Running marathons and doing long-distance running was something that I had already done before I was pregnant, so my body was used to it,” said Miller, who was nearly 39 weeks pregnant on race day.
Miller, a 27-year-old graduate of Naperville North High School, said she has run competitively for 15 years. This was her second pregnant marathon this year, having finished the Wisconsin Marathon in May.
Miller said her doctor told her to stay nourished and hydrated going into the Chicago race, and to make sure she could maintain a conversation, which would help keep her from losing her breath.
“You don’t want to get your heart rate too high,” Miller said.
“Surprisingly,” she said Monday, “I’m feeling pretty good.”
Miller’s story has elicited mixed reactions from physicians.
“Most of the time, babies tolerate maternal exercise, but that’s of moderate intensity,” said Dr. Shari Brasner, assistant clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York.
Brasner said shifts during strenuous exercise could move blood and oxygen flow away from a fetus to other parts of the body, possibly restricting the fetus’ growth. Body temperature also is a concern when performing extreme exercise, especially in warm weather.
“Body temperature is going to rise,” Brasner said. “A baby can’t sweat to cool down.”
Others say experienced runners can continue running.
“It’s OK to train for races and competitions even when you’re pregnant,” said Dr. Angela Chaudhari, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “Just as long as you’re listening to your body and there’s no other complications going on with the pregnancy.
“If they’re elite runners when they get pregnant, they can continue that elite status,” she said.