Black Women's Health and Happiness

Insights into physical, mental, and spiritual health for women of color.

Should a Woman Run a Marathon at 38 Weeks Gestation?

Exercise is good for most pregnant women; good judgment, even better.

On October 9th, at 38 weeks gestation, a pregnant woman completed the Chicago marathon—all 26.2 miles. She reportedly ran a bit, walked a bit. Seven hours later, she delivered her newborn. The infant reportedly was 7 pounds, 13 ounces and appeared to be doing well.

With news of this self-described "marathon mom," many took to Facebook, Twitter and other sites to voice their approval: "She is fantastic!" "Awesome!" "Woman power!"

Others voiced their disapproval: "How selfish." "What a risk to her baby!" "Couldn't that have waited?"

The American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists doesn't have a specific guideline about women late in the third trimester running full marathons, although ACOG does allow that pregnant women exercise with their doctor's approval. That approval comes after the doctor has taken a full exam and knows the woman's medical history and past pregnancy outcomes to advise her of risks.

I was recently contacted by "" (a division of Bonnie Fuller's about this story. My excerpted comments are here.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel it was okay for her to run a marathon at that stage of pregnancy? Was it "awesome," or was it risky and "selfish"...?

To all...Be Healthy, Be Blessed... and make sure you are Living Well, a book about health, sex and happiness, with a foreword by Pauletta Washington, musician and wife of Academy Award winner, Denzel Washington.

Copyright © 2011 Dr. Melody T. McCloud. All rights reserved. Any excerpts reproduced from this article should include a hyperlink to this--my original on Psychology Today, with author credit.


Melody T. McCloud, M.D., is an obstetrician-gynecologist and the author of First Do No Harm: How to Heal Your Relationships Using the Wisdom of Professional Caregivers.


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