ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
U.S. Spends Billions On Alternative Medicine
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Pharoah's Wine Jar Yields Medicinal Secrets
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
Get in Step With Summer Foot Care
CANCER
Meditation May Reduce Stress in Breast Cancer Patients
Gene Screen May Predict Colon Cancer's Return
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
DIET, NUTRITION
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
Breakfast Eggs Keep Folks on Diet
More Educated Choose Healthier Foods, But Pay More
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Smog Standards Need Tightening, Activists Say
Hurricane Threats: Time to Batten Down the Hatches
EYE CARE, VISION
Americans Losing Sight of Eye Health
Statin Drugs Cause Eye Disorders
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
FITNESS
Bursts of Vigorous Activity Appear to Be a 'Stress-Buffer'
Run for Your Life
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
FDA Bans Unapproved Prescription Cough, Cold and Allergy Meds
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
Shedding Light on Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help the Heart
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Backpack Safety Should Be on Back-to-School Lists
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Reminiscing Helps Build Emotional Strength
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Postmenopausal Women With Breast Cancer Face Joint Issues
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
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Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise

SUNDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- It's natural that a woman might be skeptical about exercising while she's pregnant. So many changes are occurring in her body, it makes sense to have second thoughts about whether exercise might harm her or her unborn child.

But it turns out that a thoughtful exercise program is good for both mother and child, according to medical experts.

"We know that women who exercise during pregnancy have less chance of developing certain conditions like gestational diabetes," said Dr. Raul Artal, chairman of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health for the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. "Not only that, exercise maintains musculoskeletal fitness. Women can cope with the anatomical and physiological changes of pregnancy better when they're in good shape. They also tolerate labor better and recover more quickly from delivery."

The baby also benefits. One study found that when an expectant mother works out, her fetus reaps cardiac benefits in the form of lower fetal heart rates.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day most days of the week. First, though, all women should consult a doctor to make sure it's OK.

When choosing what sort of exercise to pursue, a woman should take into account the shape she was in before becoming pregnant, said Dr. Thomas Wang, a family practitioner for Kaiser Permanente in San Diego.

"A lot of things depend on the level of fitness they had before," Wang said. A mom-to-be should pursue activities that will provide a good level of exertion without testing the limits of her body's current conditioning. If she's just starting a fitness program to improve her health during pregnancy, she should start out slowly and be careful not to overexert herself.

But there are certain activities that should at least be undertaken with caution, if not avoided altogether. Pregnant women, for instance, should not go scuba diving, as that activity exposes the fetus to a risk of developing decompression sickness, also known as the bends.

Women also should think twice before engaging in activities where the risk of falling is higher, such as gymnastics, horseback riding, downhill skiing and high-intensity racquet sports. And they should avoid contact sports such as ice hockey, soccer and basketball.

"Anything that involves impact or the chance of abdominal trauma, they should try to avoid," Wang explained.

Exercise that's perfectly safe for expectant mothers includes Kegel exercises, swimming, walking, light dancing and yoga. Riding a stationary bicycle or working out on aerobic gym equipment -- elliptical or stair-climbing machines, for instance -- is also fairly safe, as long as care is taken to prevent a fall.

Most pregnant women also can take part in jogging, running and aerobics, especially if those were exercises they regularly performed before pregnancy.

Pregnant women who are doing weight training should emphasize improving their muscle tone, particularly in the upper body and abdominal area, according to the American Pregnancy Association. They should avoid lifting weights above their heads and performing exercises that strain the lower back muscles.

"There have been some studies that show heavy lifting causes a temporary drop in the baby's heart rate," Wang said. "It usually corrects pretty quickly, but they might want to be careful."

Other things to keep in mind if exercising while pregnant:

* Avoid exercising to the point of exhaustion or breathlessness, as that could affect the oxygen supply to the fetus.
* Avoid overheating, which can affect the baby's development. Don't exercise in hot weather.
* During the second and third trimesters, avoid exercise that involves lying flat on your back as this decreases blood flow to the womb.

Though that might seem like a lot of cautions for something that's supposed to be safe, doctors insist that women can and should engage in a well-thought-out fitness program during their pregnancy.

"By and large, if there are no medical complications of pregnancy, women can continue engaging in the same type of activities," Artal said. "Women should be encouraged to continue living an active lifestyle."