Pregnancy: Mama-to-Be Fitness

Pregnant? Stay fit with your favorite workouts!

Wondering if you can continue to exercise now that you are expecting? That's what I wondered when I found out -- somewhat surprisingly at age 44 -- that I was pregnant. Even though I'm a certified personal trainer and have worked with many pregnant women during the course of my career, I had a lot of questions about which exercises I would be able to continue and which I would need to modify or skip altogether.

I can tell you with certainty that exercise is now seen as an important part of a healthy pregnancy. The American College of Gynecology and Obstetrics recommends that all women experiencing an uncomplicated pregnancy work out at moderate intensity for 30 minutes a day, every day they can. Their research shows that, besides giving you confidence and a sense of control over what's going on with your body, regular exercise can shorten labor and make it easier to knock off weight postpartum.

You should, of course, confer with your caregiver before continuing or starting any exercise regimen during pregnancy. And even if you get the okay, you may need to alter the routine you've been doing. Here, some advice on how to adapt five popular workouts to accommodate your pregnancy.

Is it safe? Though some women can run right up to the day of their delivery, most find it too uncomfortable to jog with a big belly. And besides, many docs forbid running during pregnancy if you develop even the slightest complication.

Altering your routine: If your doctor okays running -- as mine has -- try limiting duration, cutting back on frequency, slowing down or mixing in walking intervals. As soon as your body can't handle the stress, switch to an alternative workout.

What to do instead: Expect to rely on other, less jarring forms of cardio like cycling, elliptical training and water aerobics by the time you hit your third trimester. Consider focusing on strength and flexibility instead -- things you might typically neglect.

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