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Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more

Exercise, Good Food, And Prenatal Care Are the Keys

By Rebecca D. Williams

Only a very few drugs definitely known to be extremely bad for a human fetus are clearly labeled or, in one case, have special requirements attached to their approval. The drug thalidomide, which was recently approved by FDA to treat leprosy and is being explored for other uses, is devastating to developing fetuses and causes severe deformities of the arms and legs. FDA is requiring that patients who take the drug enroll in a national registry that will track their progress monthly and record the occurrence of any pregnancy. The hope is that this process will discourage physicians from prescribing the drug to women who might become pregnant and keep patients from "sharing" the drug with a woman of childbearing age.


There's increasing medical evidence to show that exercise, even a vigorous workout, is healthy during pregnancy. An October 1998 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that exercise is usually safe during pregnancy, and that women who exercised vigorously were more likely to carry their babies to full term compared with women who exercised less or not at all.

A pregnant woman should check with her doctor before exercising, however. If she gets the OK to work out, she should do so at least three times a week for 20 minutes each time, recommends the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Walking, swimming, riding a stationary bicycle, and joining a prenatal aerobics class are all excellent exercise choices for a pregnant woman. Exercises that require jerky, bouncy movements and being outside in hot weather are not good choices. Don't try deep knee bends, sit-ups (or any exercise that requires you to lie on your back after the first trimester), and toe touches. Other sports to avoid include downhill skiing, rock climbing, and horseback riding.

Wear a supportive bra and properly fitting athletic shoes while exercising. Stop if you feel dizzy, faint, overheated, or in pain. Drink plenty of water. Staying in shape will help you keep up your stamina during your own impending marathon--labor! And, afterward, the more muscle mass you have, the quicker you'll regain your pre-pregnancy shape and be able to pack away those maternity pants.

Rebecca D. Williams is a writer in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

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