Runners at the Chicago Marathon, Credit: Getty Images When a 27-year old woman gave birth just hours after completing the Chicago marathon on Sunday, her labor and delivery made national news.
Some of the coverage simply reported the birth of a healthy, 7 pound 9 ounce girl to the mother Amber Miller, who was almost 39 weeks pregnant when she ran her eighth marathon over the weekend. Many of the stories marveled at her athleticism and perseverance.
"The race was definitely easier than labor," she said in a news conference the next day.
But the accomplishment also led many people to ask: Is that safe?
Just a decade ago, vigorous exercise during pregnancy was seen as dangerous to the baby. Pregnant women were told to keep their heart rates below 140 beats per minute. With no evidence to support them, those guidelines have been dropped, and doctor's groups are increasingly pushing pregnant women to get moving.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises at least 30 minutes of exercise on most, if not all, days of the week. Among other benefits, physical activity can reduce backaches and constipation, improve mood, energy and sleep, and help women endure and recover better from labor.