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My doctor is encouraging me to exercise during my pregnancy, but I’m not sure what to do. What did you do?

Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: Talk with your doctor or midwife before beginning an exercise program. But exercising in pregnancy is a great idea!

I was very physically fit going into my first pregnancy, and I did a Buns of Steel pregnancy work out every day. It is the best pregnancy workout ever.

For my second and third pregnancies, I bought a few new pregnancy workout DVDs    because I started to get bored doing the same one over and over. I found one of salsa dancing, which was great.

I worked out every single day of all three of my pregnancies. I really think it helped ease my pregnancy symptoms and made my labor go better. Plus I felt good during my pregnancies, and I also felt that I looked good.

Patricia S. Brown, MD, a mom of two daughters, ages nine and seven, and a three-year-old son and a psychiatrist at Columbia-New York Child and Adolescent Telepsychiatry and in private practice in Cresskill, NJ

Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: As long as you have your doctor or midwife’s ok to exercise, definitely don’t stop. A lot of women think that they can’t exercise during pregnancy. I remember working out at the gym and getting odd looks from people. Other people at the gym would see me jogging and ask if it was okay for me to run. .

If you’re having a normal, healthy pregnancy, there’s no reason not to exercise. This isn’t the 1960s, when they told pregnant women to sit down and put their feet up. Today, we know that  exercise is very important and beneficial during pregnancy. As long as you’re healthy, exercise is key to preparing your body for labor and delivery.

Before my pregnancy, I was active. I like to run, but by the time I was around five months pregnant, it was hard for me to run. I wanted to do some sort of exercise, so I took up swimming. I hadn’t swam laps since I was a child, but for the last four months or so of my pregnancy, I swam three times a week at the pool at my gym. Even now, I swim a once or twice a month.

Mary Mason, MD, a mom of a nine-year-old girl and six-year-old boy, an internist, and the chief medical officer for a multi-state managed care company that coordinates care for about 70,000 pregnant Medicaid moms a year 

Our Mommy MD Guide’s reply: I exercised all the way through all of my pregnancies. I continued my regular running routine for the first three months, then transitioned to walking and swimming laps – hard.  In the water, you’re buoyant, and you can get your heart rate up and use all of your muscles without the burden of extra weight from your belly. Swimming is wonderful!

I credit exercise as a reason for the ease of my deliveries and the health of my children. I think that exercise is an under recognized, invaluable way to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy and a healthy child. 

Ann Kulze, MD, a mother of four children ages 20, 19, 18, and 14, nationally recognized nutrition expert, motivational speaker, physician, and author of the critically acclaimed books Eat Right for Life and Dr. Ann’s 10-Step Diet: A Simple Plan for Permanent Weight Loss and Lifelong Vitality

The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.