No Excuses to Exercise

01.03.11 Just 30 minutes of exercise will benefit you and your baby now and in the future.

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Nothing's easier than blowing off a workout when you're nauseous, exhausted or feeling huge. All the more reason to exercise: It will give you energy, help you sleep better, help prevent pregnancy and delivery complications and excess weight gain, and reduce nausea and stress.

"It also gives most women the solace of private time,"says Kim Alumbaugh, M.D., founding partner of Total Woman, an OB-GYN practice in Louisville, Ky. Here, Alumbaugh weighs in on some of the most common excuses for not exercising during pregnancy:

EXCUSE: "I'm afraid it will cause me to miscarry."

REALITY: As long as your doctor has given you the green light to exercise, "You can't shake the baby loose," Alumbaugh says.

EXCUSE: "I'm too big/swollen/heavy."

REALITY: You're never too big to exercise, but you can make it more comfortable. "Try stretching and toning in a pool," says Alumbaugh. "You are weightless underwater." Prenatal yoga and walking are also easy but have big benefits.

EXCUSE: "I'm afraid of overexerting myself."

REALITY: Mild overheating and occasional uterine contractions are normal, Alumbaugh says. Dehydration can increase these side effects, and because water loss increases during pregnancy, she recommends upping your fluid intake. Just be sure to stop if contractions increase in strength or frequency or if you experience bleeding, dizziness or other worrisome symptoms.

Right now, most moms-to-be are super motivated to make healthy and lasting changes in their lives—including getting off the couch. Exercise doesn't have to be grueling or boring. Check out our Get Moving page for our favorite workouts and recipes to help you stay healthy and get ready for baby.

Browse through our Prenatal Workouts page for a complete list of various workouts for different types of moms-to-be.

—Corinne Garcia