Giving Birth is Harder Than Running a Marathon

A new University of Michigan study finds giving birth to be harder on your body than running a marathon—so, we ask, where are our medals, then? Ahem.

Giving Birth is Harder Than Running a Marathon Cultura RM/Charles Gullung/Getty Images

Hey Mama, if you're thinking about adding 'running a marathon' to your bucket list, we know you can do it. According to new research, giving birth is way harder than logging 26.2 consecutive miles. That's right: your body was made to not only birth out a new life, but it's harder than running for around four hours.

Yeah we know—we aren't surprised either. But to your friends (or hubby) who asks 'Did it really hurt that much?' you have our full permission to roll your eyes... and then share this study with them.

Based on research conducted at the University of Michigan, labor and delivery is the most traumatic event a body can go through. They analyzed MRI scans of birth injuries and sports injuries, and found that the aftermath of childbirth is a lot like injuries sustained in endurance sports.

Even so, we don't give them the same credit as professional runners—even in the doctor's office.

"If an athlete sustained a similar injury in the field, she'd be in an MRI machine in an instant," Janis Miller, associate professor at the U-M School of Nursing, said in a press release. "We have this thing where we tell women, 'Well, you're six weeks postpartum and now we don't need to see you—you'll be fine.' But not all women feel fine after six weeks, nor are ready to go back to work, and they aren't crazy."

According to the study, 41 percent of women experience pelvic muscle tears and up to 15 percent end up with injuries that don't ever heal. Maybe now we might get the same street cred—and medical attention—we earned if we're not magically ready to get-up-and-go when baby is still a newborn.

And just a thought, but maybe they could start handing out medals after birth, like they do at marathons? Just sayin'.