This past Sunday, a 27-year-old pregnant woman named Amber Miller gave birth to her daughter merely seven hours after crossing the finish line of a marathon. A controversial topic, TIME Healthland covered the story, and consulted MSU College of Education kinesiology professor Jim Pivarnik for an expert’s viewpoint.
When asked about the implications of Miller’s choices, Pivarnik said that all pregnant women should talk to their physicians about exercise, and that Miller had done that. He added that running and walking a marathon was acceptable for Miller because she had been training that kind of mileage all the way to 38 weeks.
“She only ran half of it, and her doctor gave her permission … she had no dizziness, bleeding or cramping. It was standard operating procedure for her,” he said.
Pivarnik, who has studied exercise in pregnancy for the past 25 years, also commented on the benefits of staying active while pregnant.
“Research shows women who exercise have shorter labor, decreased risk of pre-eclampsia and a possible decreased risk of gestational diabetes,” he said. “If they continue to exercise postpartum, they’re more likely to take off their pregnancy weight, and that’s better for their health.”