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Why and how pregnant women should work out
If you're pregnant and want to avoid a C-section, doing this for 2 1/2 hours every week may help, a new study says. - photo by Jennifer Graham
Pregnancy is not an excuse to skip your workout, a new study confirms.

Expectant mothers who exercise do not deliver prematurely, as was once believed, but are generally healthier and less likely to have C-sections, The Atlantic reported.

Researchers analyzed the outcomes of more than 2,000 pregnant women and found that up to 90 minutes of exercise three or four times a week is beneficial for women who are pregnant with one child and generally in good health.

Exercising women had a lower risk of gestational diabetes and hypertension and they were less likely to have a C-section. Nearly three-quarters of the women who exercised had vaginal deliveries, compared to 67.5 percent of the sedentary women, the report said.

The best exercises during pregnancy, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, are fast walking, swimming, stationary cycling, yoga and pilates.

Running may be OK for experienced runners with permission from their doctors, the ACOG says. (Elite U.S. runner Sarah Brown trained throughout her pregnancy and competed in the Olympic Trials four months after giving birth to a healthy girl. Her journey was documented by ESPN in a film series called Run Mama Run.)

But the group warns against contact sports such as soccer and basketball (not because of the exertion, but because of the risk of getting hit in the abdomen with a ball), as well as any activity that could cause you to fall, such as horseback riding, snow skiing or gymnastics.

Pregnant women also should not do hot yoga; exposure to excessive heat has been linked to neural tube defects, which is why women are also discouraged from using hot tubs or saunas during pregnancy.

Unfortunately for pregnant soccer star Sydney Leroux, there is no official guidance from the ACOG about whether water tubing while pregnant is okay. The 26-year-old, who is expecting her first child in September, has taken heat for an Instagram photo that shows her tubing with husband Dom Dwyer in her second trimester.

But lying in a tube being pulled by a boat is mild compared to surfing while nine months pregnant or lifting weights, endeavors ABC News reported in a 2014 look at pregnant women engaging in extreme sports.

Regardless of risk or intensity, there are some women who should stop exercising during pregnancy. Women expecting multiples or those who have health issues such as high blood pressure, severe anemia or placenta previa get to use their condition as an excuse to take it easy for nine months, the report in The Atlantic said.

And, sorry to disappoint, but every pregnant woman should cross skydiving off her pregnancy bucket list.

Yes, some women have jumped out of planes during early pregnancy. Not surprisingly, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not approve of this. No scuba diving, either.