This is one of many wellness topics that I feel passionate about. I had some friends that felt that getting pregnant gave you a free pass, that you could eat whatever you wanted because you were eating for two, and you were supposed to gain weight.

I got pregnant at 38. I knew that mine was considered a high-risk pregnancy, given my age, and I knew it would be much harder for me to lose the baby weight than my friends that had their children in their twenties. And I thankfully had a network of experts like Ann that encouraged me to stay active as long as I could, and instructors in my regular yoga and dance classes that could help me adapt my movement when necessary. I exercised until about week 37, when my hips began to spread and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I gained 35 pounds and had a healthy baby boy that weighed just over seven pounds.

I’d encourage any pregnant woman to be active as much as possible. Pregnancy is difficult on your body, and staying active was key to minimizing back aches and keeping my energy up. And while I did take a break during my first trimester, when I couldn’t seem to make it through the day without a two-hour nap and had some pretty awful nausea during the evenings, as soon as I felt more normal, around week 11, I was back at the studio and ready to go — and I felt much better as a result.

Aerobic exercise is essential for pregnant women

with advice from Ann Cowlin, MA, CSM, CCE

It used to be that women were told to rest and relax during pregnancy. Kick her feet up while she can. There were fears that too much movement could hurt the baby — or the mother. Now, says Ann Cowlin, the creator of Dancing Thru Pregnancy, a fitness program for expectant mothers (and a Physiquality partner), “it is the sedentary or low-activity mother and her children who are at risk.”

In our current world, Ann points out, we are not as active as previous generations. Think about what most of our grandmothers and grandfathers did during the day — manual labor in fields or factories. Even housework required a great deal more physical strength without the variety of machines thought essential in our houses today. “Few women exercise enough today to build the strength necessary for childbirth,” says Ann. “It’s no surprise that some women are afraid of birth and don’t have confidence in their ability to withstand it.”

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