Woman runs marathon, then gives birth

Amber MIller holds her daughter June hours after finishing the Chicago Marathon (photo by Chuck Berman, Chicago Tribune)

Every time I discovered I was pregnant, I decided I was much too fragile to do any amount of exercise that exceeded waddling across the room. Not Amber Miller. She actually ran a whole 26.2 mile marathon, grabbed a bite to eat, and then delivered her baby 8 hours after crossing the finish line.

And I thought I was doing good by getting my kid to school on time despite rush hour traffic….

“For me, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. I was running up until that point anyway,” Miller told The Associated Press in an interview from the hospital where she was recovering Monday. “I am crazy about running.”

Miller signed up mere days before finding out she was pregnant with her second child.  But she decided to play it by ear whether she would run or not, and kept her name on the list. Since her first son had been born early, she figured this baby would come before the date of the marathon. But as the date approached, it was apparent the baby wasn’t budging. She received clearance from her doctor, who advised she run half and walk half, and was not dissuaded by marathon officials.

“Lots of people were cheering me on: `Go pregnant lady!'” she said. “I was expecting some negative comments. I don’t remember anything.”

While not usually advised, medical guidelines say that a woman can continue running throughout her pregnancy if she was a runner and in healthy condition before getting pregnant.  Even low-risk pregnancies will do well with a light amount of exercise.  However, starting marathon training for the first time during pregnancy is not recommended. Pregnant runners who wish to continue are advised to consult with their doctor and be monitored throughout the pregnancy.

Miller finished in 6 hours, 25 minutes, and 50 seconds – not her personal best, but a time that still beat out her husband. When done, she rested on the sidelines while experiencing what she thought were Braxton Hicks contractions. While getting some lunch (it was a Reuben Sando, for anyone wondering what a pregnant marathon runner eats), she realized the BH contractions weren’t subsiding, and this might be the real thing. At the hospital, it was discovered she was already 5 centimeters dilated. She delivered her baby at 10:29 that night – a healthy baby girl named June weighing in at at 7 pounds, 13 ounces.

Do you exercise at all during your pregnancies? Any runners out there who continue running while pregnant?

One thought on “Woman runs marathon, then gives birth

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  1. I was racing mountain bikes when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I was in excellent shape and health, and discussed with my doctor my exercise and training routines, and ended up modifying my training to a stationary bike (keeps bumps and jolts to a minimum, and eliminates risk of falling/crashing). I was told I could bike until my knees bounced against the belly, and did just that. Had a healthy baby girl of 8lbs, 15.5oz and was back on the bike once the staples were out, and baby weight was gone within a couple weeks. I highly recommend people stay healthy and active at any time in life, especially when pregnant. It’s just a matter of being smart and communicating with your doc, and modifying to keep you and the baby safe. Kudos to this mom finishing the marathon; anyone feeling justified in pointing fingers and name calling can stuff it 🙂

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