Satin said it's actually a really good time to suggest starting an exercise program. Women are more apt to take care of themselves when they are pregnant. They'll quit smoking, eat better and exercise for the sake of the developing baby and then carry over the good habits, he said.
As long as jogging is comfortable, runners can keep at it. Stationary bikes and running in a pool also are good exercises, Satin said. And walking is safe for nearly everyone. The fetuses are not "flipping and flopping," he said. In fact, the entire uterus is moving with the exercise motion, buoying the fetus.
Satin said his interest in pregnant athletes grew out of his work with women in the military who wanted to stay physically fit. He was formerly a professor and chair of the Uniformed Services University F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine in the obstetrics and gynecology department. Szymanski also is an exercise physiologist and collegiate athlete.
Dobrosielski, who is about to have her second child, said she decided to participate in the study because she wanted to help other women. She's been running "forever" and played field hockey in high school and college. An ankle injury stopped her from running after 4 months, but everyday she runs in a pool, or does yoga, lifts weights or rides a stationary bike.
She knows she won't lose as much of her fitness and will be able to return to running, even racing, quickly. Others should be able to find out what's good for them, she said.
"It's a special population and there's so little time for study," she said of pregnant women. "I felt comfortable exercising and I knew when I needed to stop. I think it's important for all women to exercise and maybe this research will convince them to do that."
Exercising while pregnant
Several medical organizations recommend 30 minutes of exercising a day for pregnant women.
•If you're just beginning or have a condition, consult your doctor. Start slow and stop if you have pain or bleeding.
•Don't get overheated, stay hydrated and take breaks.
•Your joints may be lax and your balance off, particularly in later months, so avoid unstable ground or consider a stationary bike or running in a pool.
•No contact sports, but some weight training is OK. Avoid lying on your back after the first trimester.