I am an avid exerciser. Now I'm pregnant, and I want to keep working out. Is that OK, even late in my pregnancy? Are there exercises I shouldn't do?

It's great to exercise while you're pregnant--within limits. It is important to talk to your doctor. Every woman has different problems during pregnancy. Your doctor will take into consideration your pregnancy and your condition.

Keep in mind that your body will go through some changes that make injuries more likely. All the extra weight on your abdomen will stress the muscles and tendons of your back. Your center of gravity will also change, throwing off your sense of balance. In the last trimester, your body produces a hormone called relaxin that loosens your ligaments. This makes your pelvis relax so the baby can fit through the birth canal easier, but it also makes your joints and soft tissues more susceptible to injuries.

For most pregnant women, moderate exercise is best. Now is not the time to add to your workout. Very long or very stressful workouts should be avoided. Low-impact exercises are usually better during pregnancy, especially later on. Avoid overstretching, and limit the time you spend lying on your back. The weight of the baby can put pressure on blood vessels, making you feel dizzy or nauseous. Most importantly, listen to your body. Don't push yourself too far. If you feel dizzy, faint, or short of breath, stop exercising. Report any pain or bleeding to your doctor.