Your Guide to Pregnancy Fitness

Must-Have Tool

Don't have time to get to the gym? Scratch that excuse! You can exercise at home. If you're only going to purchase one exercise item, buy a balance ball. Gaiam's Total Body BalanceBall Kit ($25; includes a workout DVD, an exercise band, and a burst-resistant ball. Ball exercises are easy on your back but strengthen your core muscles -- which you'll need for labor. Plus, readers tell us that holding a baby and rocking gently on a ball does wonders for soothing a crying baby, so you can use it postpartum also.

Advice from Moms

More than 60 percent of pregnant women exercise, according to one study. How do you psych yourself up to work it? Here are some tips from real moms.

"I've taken up yoga for the first time. Yoga class is the only place where I see other pregnant women on a regular basis, and it's nice to have the chance to chat and say hello."
Keryn Means, Seattle, Washington

"Once a week, I get together with a girlfriend who is also 28 weeks pregnant. Rain or shine, we walk outside for about 45 minutes. The fresh air and good company do wonders."
Rebecca Schaffer, Westfield, New Jersey

"I heard that exercise, particularly walking, helps to induce labor. My mom and two aunts were all two weeks late with their babies, so I walked a lot and ended up delivering right on time!"
Ashlie Kincannon, Melbourne, Florida

"My motivation comes from knowing that I don't want to go through the excess weight gain and misery I had with my first pregnancy. I gained 55 pounds the first time!"
Rachael Kosal, Sedalia, Missouri

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