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More Pregnant Women Buck Trend Of Staying Off Their Feet

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RALEIGH, N.C. — People used to warn pregnant women to "be careful" because of their "delicate condition," but current research points to the benefits of staying active.

Growing up, Becky Langdon, who is 5½ months pregnant, heard what people told pregnant women.

"This is your time to lie low and be ginger with yourself. This is a delicate time, so don't strain yourself. Don't bring your heart rate up," she said.

Langdon is bucking that belief by staying active. She even teaches a stationary cycling class at the Banks Kerr YMCA in the Wakefield area of Raleigh. In the class next door, expectant mom Christie Karmanos still teaches kick-boxing aerobics. In her first trimester, aerobics instructor Aubrey Miller is not slowing down, either.

The American College of Gynecology and Obstetrics said heart-rate limitations for pregnant women no longer apply.

"That's been since the middle '90s, but on any given Web site or physician, you'll hear differing, almost opposite opinions," Langdon said.

Langdon said mothers need to be fit for the big day.

"Giving birth is going to be probably the greatest endurance event ever," she said.

Regular moderate exercise of 30 minutes most days of the week can reduce backaches, constipation and bloating. It can reduce your risk of gestational diabetes, improve your mood and help you sleep better.

However, there are limitations, like when Miller learned she might be pregnant.

"Sprinting drills or plyometrics -- things that, you know, you're not using as much oxygen, which, feeling a little bit light-headed, made me realize, something's different," she said.

Langdon said the important thing is to listen to your body.

"If something feels uncomfortable, painful, discontinue," she said.

Helath experts said that if the exercise puts you at risk of injury, it cannot be safe for the baby, either. She said the obvious sports to avoid during pregnancy include scuba-diving, horseback riding, skiing and off-road mountain bike riding.


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