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Thank you for subscribing to Pregnancy Health, an Avera eNewsletter that provides you with useful information about having a healthy pregnancy. To learn more about our services and pregnancy class schedules, or to find a physician, visit

To your health,

The Avera Staff


Staying active during pregnancy provides many benefits for you and your baby. Exercise can reduce morning sickness, give you more energy and reduce the amount of time you are in labor. With a little bit of planning, you can safely exercise throughout your pregnancy.

Before beginning an exercise routine during your pregnancy, talk to your doctor or midwife. He or she can give you suggestions for safe workouts during all stages of your pregnancy. Once you have your doctor's approval to begin exercising, listen to your body. Be sure to drink a lot of water, and stop immediately if you experience any pain.

Some pregnant women have found water aerobics or swimming to be easier because the water helps support the extra weight of the baby. Walking also is good exercise, and most women are able to walk daily during pregnancy. Some fitness centers offer exercise programs designed for pregnant women.

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Before a baby's conception and through the first trimester, folic acid is important to reduce the chance of birth defects. If you are planning to become pregnant or are pregnant, talk to your doctor about getting enough folic acid in your diet.

Folic acid, or vitamin B9, is commonly found in food such as lentils, fortified breakfast cereals, sunflower seeds and orange juice. Folic acid helps adults' red blood cells mature, and in developing embryos, the vitamin helps develop the brain and spinal cord. A lack of folic acid can cause neural birth defects, such as spina bifida.

The Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board recommends taking a folic acid supplement or multivitamin to meet your and your baby's needs. The board recommends 400 micrograms of folic acid a day, which is found in many prenatal multivitamins. Click here to learn more about folic acid.

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In Great Health online archive.