Chennai: Traditionally, a pregnant woman is advised not to engage in strenuous activities. On Sunday, Bhavani Sivam, seven months into her pregnancy, stunned many by completing a ten kilometer run with ease.
She completed the run from Olcott school in Besant Nagar to Chettinad Vidyashram at R.A Puram and back in 1:29 hours. “I am not tired after the run, I feel completely fine,” she told DC when contacted.
Sivam has been a runner for three and a half years. Her pregnancy was no deterrent for running. Her doctors told her it was totally fine for her to carry on running. However, when she mentioned that she wanted to run a distance of 10 kilometers, her family got worried.
“So many friends and family members asked me if it was safe or recommended, but after the initial hiccups I was able to convince all of them,” said Sivam.
She had to convince herself first. Her doctor told her it was completely safe to continue activities one is already engaged in (new activities not recommended), provided her case was considered as a prospective normal and low risk delivery.
“Apart from getting advice from my doctors, I also read up on the Internet and found that lots of women in countries abroad run marathons when they are pregnant and I also learnt that it benefited the baby,” she said.
Dr Rajasri Shankar from Apollo Hospitals said that even though many parents and in-laws of her patients think she is crazy to suggest exercise, she always does.
“I always encourage my patients to do exercise and never to restrict any of their routine physical activities. Patients who do exercise don’t have the usual aches and pains and also have less pain compared to others during delivery.”
Bhavani Sivam is a good inspiration for other mothers, the doctor said. Bhavani said the main reason why she decided to run is to break the traditional belief that pregnant women need complete bed rest.
“In earlier years, women were always physically active. Now our lives have become sedentary, so there is an increased need for exercise. I highly recommend exercise for pregnant women as well as everybody else,” she said. Former Mayor M. Subramanian, also a participant, applauded Sivam on completing the run.