NEW YORK - Yoga teacher and fitness expert Hilaria Baldwin practices what she preaches and credits her easy pregnancy and labour to exercising - every day and sometimes during the night.
During her pregnancy, the wife of Emmy award-winning actor Alec Baldwin and new mother to 5-week-old Carmen Gabriela, said she gave up spinning classes for a less vigorous fitness regimen that included jogging.
But yoga, the 3,000-year-old practice that marries movement to breath, was the 29-year-old's primary thing.
"When I had aches and pains in the middle of the night, I'd just get out of bed and stretch," said Baldwin, who teaches at Yoga Vida in New York and will release a fitness DVD, "@Home with Hilaria Baldwin: Fit Mommy-to-Be Prenatal Yoga," on Tuesday.
"A lot of people are so afraid to exercise they do damage by becoming sedentary," she added.
In the absence of complications, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days for pregnant women.
Dr. Raul Artal, an expert on exercise and pregnancy who helped develop the ACOG guidelines, said women who are physically active have easier labour and recovery than sedentary women.
"There are also positive effects on mood that may prevent depression," said Artal, a professor and chairman of the department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Women's Health at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
Artal said women should not hesitate to do yoga, as long as any movement is moderate and hydration is encouraged.
"Pregnancy is one of the main contributors to obesity," he noted. "Obese women have a higher incidence of infants with birth defects."