Study: Giving Birth Is Tougher On The Body Than Running A Marathon

Study: Giving Birth Is Tougher On The Body Than Running A Marathon

Science finds that giving birth is harder on the body than endurance sports - and that recovery may take up to 8 months!

If you thought giving birth was one of the hardest things you have ever done, you're probably right.

A University of Michigan study revealed that giving birth is harder on the human body than even running a marathon. For perspective, the distance of a marathon is 42km -- the length of 1,463 basketball courts!

Childbirth may seem to require less effort because one does not have to move as much externally but the body is required to undergo a lot of internal changes during labor and delivery.

To be able to compare the two activities, scientists employed the same equipment and techniques that are used for diagnosing sports injuries. The post-childbirth injuries they found were similar to sports-related stress fractures, severe muscle strain and even included pelvic muscles that fully detached from the pubic bone!


Like any endurance sport, preparing oneself for childbirth through proper diet and exercise is a great idea. Swimming and yoga are good ways to exercise during pregnancy.

Kegel exercises are also recommended before and after giving birth, but Dr. Janis Miller, associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing notes, "Many women do these exercises religiously but don't heal as they've been told they would."


The key message of the study is that recovery is unique for each woman and each pregnancy. Forcing recovery based on a fixed schedule is akin to forcing a birth based on due date.

For some, full recovery may take up to eight months. So if a woman feels that something about her recovery is off, she should not be afraid to ask her doctor or consult with a specialist.

How long did it take for you to recover after giving birth? Do tell us by leaving a comment below. 

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Written by

Tay Siew Ming

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