A recent article by Julie Relevant of Fox News Health features Leah’s expert advice on what to do (and what to avoid) to get the most out of your pregnancy workouts. Follow this link to read “13 rules for workout out while pregnant.”

A few highlights:

Exercise even if you didn’t before pregnancy.
“There are actually more risks associated with being sedentary during your pregnancy than starting a new exercise program,” according to Leah Keller, a pre- and post-natal fitness expert and founder of the Dia Method. Start slow and speak with your doctor about a modified program if you have limitations.

Nix the heart rate monitor.
You may have been told to use a heart rate monitor, but they’re actually not reliable during pregnancy and can be a source of anxiety. Instead, use the talk test: if you can have a conversation, you’re at the right intensity. “If you’re absolutely breathless, you’re probably working too hard,” Keller said.

Work your abs.
“The core muscles are key to having an efficient and easier labor,” according to Keller, who noted that core strength can also help with pushing during delivery. Sit-ups and crunches put too much strain on the the connective tissue that runs along the midline of the abdominal muscles and can weaken the core. Instead, draw your belly into your spine and squeeze them tight to tighter for a simple strengthener. See the Dia  prenatal videos  Firm Foundation and BellyGuard for more detailed instruction.

And finally…

Know when to stop.
ACOG has a list of warning signs to know when to stop, but if you’re feeling drained, fatigued or slightly off, cool down and stop for the day. You should feel invigorated, not exhausted.

“Listen to your body even more than usual,” Keller said.