150 minutes a week. That’s the amount of time pregnant women should spend working out, according to federal health officials.
That’s why spectators at the Chicago Marathon were surprised to see Westchester resident Amber Miller, 39 weeks pregnant, complete the recommended weekly dosage in less than a day. Not to mention she was able to fit an extra 235 minutes of running and walking to complete her half marathon goal in six hours and 25 minutes.
She delivered a healthy baby girl only hours after crossing the finishing line.
Miller’s feat went viral the next day, and the question on everyone’s mind was: Why?
But while most women we talked to said they wouldn’t follow her example, they were unanimous in defending Miller’s decision to run.
“Honestly, it’s not for me, but as long as she has the backing of her doctor and she feels fit enough to run, it’s her business,” says Jessica Martinic, mother of a two-week-old baby.
Martinic says she wasn’t surprised to learn Miller was a veteran marathon runner.
“My doctor told me I could continue working out during my pregnancy, as long as I didn’t try anything new or anything my body wasn’t used to,” Martinic says.
Others said they were moved by Miller’s run. Lisa Soto is a mom of a four-and-a-half-month-old boy via surrogacy. Soto’s health problems prevented her from being pregnant, and she says Miller’s ability to be the fittest she can while pregnant is inspiring
“You have to look at her and applaud what she did,” Soto says. “That kid is probably going to go far in life because his mom is showing him not to be afraid of taking chances.”
One mom who knows what Miller, 27, went through is Emily Raisher, the owner of Preggers, a maternity and infant clothing store on North Michigan Avenue. Raisher says that when she learned that she was pregnant, she had the same urge as Miller to ask her doctor if she could keep running.
After she got his OK that’s exactly what she did, and she even completed the Shamrock Shuffle 8K 32 weeks into her pregnancy.
“I felt totally fine,” Raisher says. “You have to listen to your body and you know when you have to say it’s time to stop.”
But Raisher says that running competitively while pregnant takes on a different meaning.
“I would push myself before the pregnancy, but not while I was pregnant,” Raisher says. “A race is never worth the life of a child and you know there will be other races.”