Q: What activities or sports are off-limits during my pregnancy?
A: "Scuba diving is a major no-no because of the oxygen considerations. With other activities, you need to weigh the benefits versus the potential risks," says Renee Jeffreys, M.S., an exercise physiologist in Cincinnati, and personal trainer with Fitness for Women (www.fitnessforwomenonline.com). After 15 weeks, the risks of falling and abdominal trauma become dangerous, so an aggressive game of basketball--where elbows are being thrown--wouldn't be a good idea.As for solo pursuits, take a break from potentially traumatic activities such as surfing, horseback riding, downhill skiing, mountain biking, inline skating and vigorous racquet sports after your first trimester. "When you're pregnant, your center of balance is constantly changing and you might not be aware of it. Falling on your abdomen could cause some real damage to the fetus, or even miscarriage," says Jeffreys, who also is the co-author of Fit to Deliver: An Innovative Prenatal and Postpartum Fitness Program (Hartley & Marks, 2005). You also should avoid the sudden directional changes that take place in step aerobics and other kinds of aerobics classes, and you may want to limit these activities depending on the progress of your pregnancy and fitness level.