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Eight-month Pregnant Woman Run Full Marathon Course?

Posted May. 05, 2003 21:51,   


“Running is a perfect parallel to human life,” said Oprha Winfrey, a talk show host in the U.S. The leading TV figure lost 39kg herself, from 107 down to 68kg, in 1991 after running regularly two years. The story, published as a book titled ` Oprha Winfrey Diet,` later gained great popularity.

The marathon population in this country is estimated to be around 4 million, of which some 200,000 are women. And the number of women marathoners is rising, as effects of running on health are recognized widely.

The rub, however, is that the effects on men and women are different. It is because of physical and physiological differences between men and women. Still, most women marathoners just run not knowing what is good for them. And here are some tips for women beginning to run a marathon, which are from a book titled `Women`s Running (published by Knowledge House),` written by Clare Kowalztik, former editor of leading marathoners` magazine `Runners` World`

▽Pre-Menstruation Syndrome

Many women feel their legs heavy and breaths short before they have a menstruation. But this is only a short-term symptom. It is found that winning a race has nothing to do with the menstruation cycle. Pre-menstruation symptoms such as swelling legs, fatigue, petulance and spasmodic pain, in fact, get better after running, according to a recent study.

▽Lapse of Menstruation

Thin women skip menstruation more often than fat ones. This is because low body fat tends to cause the lapse of menstruation. Generation of female hormone estrogen requires fat. Therefore, too harsh training can cause the lapse of menstruation by lowering body fat drastically. Women runners need to take 10 or 20% more calories than usual. Running helps generation of bone. But running too much can cause the lapse of menstruation, which in turn leads to osteoporosis.

The pregnant woman`s running

The pregnant woman`s running doesn`t affect to a baby`s health unless she has the problems such as toxemia of pregnancy, melena, past history of premature birth, under growth baby, and multi-embryo.

The result of the research from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland showed that both the pregnant women who ran and the ones who didn`t run had the healthy babies. Weight was the only difference between the two groups. The result shows that the babies born from the women who ran were lighter in weight than the ones born from the women who didn`t run. It meant that good exercise helped the pregnant woman to give birth to a baby with less labor. Most interesting point was that the babies from the women who ran had better linguistic and intelligent ability than the ones from the women who didn`t run.

How much running during pregnancy?

It depends on individuals. Olsen Su, who was 38 years old and from the US, finished the marathon race with full course in 4 hours despite 8 month 15 days of pregnancy. A week later she also finished the 24 km marathon race in 24 hours. And next day she gave birth to a healthy baby. In late pregnancy period, heavy weight gives too much pressure to the knees when running. So the running machine or the track is recommended to use for pregnant women.


The women in menopause period have more possibility to have heart disease and osteoporosis due to the reduction of the amount of sex hormone, estrogen, is reduced. The Women Health Center of Women`s Sport Department in Philadelphia reported the research result that the women had fewer problems in menopause if they run comparing to the women don`t run. In particular, running can keep good health in old age by reducing the greatly increasing fat and strengthen a heart and bones

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com