Ciara's Best Pregnancy Secret? Exercise! 26671

Hip-hop artist Ciara has always been gorgeous, but she seems to be even more glowing now that she's pregnant. A big part of her secret? Exercise! The super-fit singer—who recently celebrated her baby shower with besties Kim Kardashian and La La Anthony—hasn't revealed her due date, but she is reportedly 8 months along with her first child with fiancé rapper-producer Future, and is still doing hour-long workouts with trainer-to-the-stars Gunnar Peterson (as evidenced in a recent Instagram post, which shows her on the Gazelle Glider, pulling ropes, lifting weights and medicine-ball moves).

Ciara does a mix of plyometric movements and weight training to get a good balance of cardio, while still maintaining her muscle tone. But she has had to do some training modifications since becoming pregnant.

"I can't do crunches or lay on my stomach anymore, but we still do things that are close to what I would do if I wasn't pregnant," she told Fitness magazine. "It's all about still keeping that energy up, still keeping the cardio strong and just having balance in your body overall."

While doctors do advise against scuba diving, horseback riding, or any contact sport that could cause blunt-force trauma to the abdomen, if you're having a healthy pregnancy, exercise isn't going to harm your baby (though you should always ask your doctor before starting a new routine). Exercise will tire you out more quickly than it did pre-pregnancy, though. The amount of blood a woman has increases during pregnancy by about 50 percent, and her heart needs to work harder to push all that blood around—including circulating it through the placenta, an extra organ. So you can work just as hard doing less than you did before you were pregnant and be twice as exhausted!

Exercising through out your pregnancy not only gets you in a better place to drop the pregnancy weight faster post-birth, but it helps with your ability to breathe during labor and gives you the strength to push when you're body is telling you it's completely tapped out. Research has also shown that working out while pregnant can help prevent gestational diabetes and C-section births.

Oh, and working out also helps with those sometimes-nasty pregnancy mood swings. Once your endorphins kick in, it's a natural high that can balance those Debbie Downer feelings that might occasionally creep up thanks to hormone overload. And bonus: according to a recent study, Canadian researchers have found that just 20-minute workouts three times a week while pregnant, leads to excelled brain development in your baby. Yep, a little physical activity for you could make your baby smarter!

Check here for signs you should stop exercising and consult your doctor.

TELL US: What's your pregnancy workout routine? Do you feel better after exercising?

Image of Ciara courtesy of S_Bukley/Shutterstock.