When it comes to what's best for pregnant women, it seems everyone's an expert. But the actual experts say it's time to filter out the noise and heed this one piece of advice: exercise. In a viewpoint published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Alejandro Lucia says exercising—in most cases—is good for both pregnant women and their unborn babies. "It's important for [everyone] to get over this fear," the professor of exercise physiology says. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends at least 20 to 30 minutes of "moderate-intensity" exercise—that means you can hold a conversation at the same time—per day, NPR reports.
But most pregnant women aren't getting that. That's because, as the Washington Post reports, old advice for pregnant women—get lots of rest and "eat for two"—dies hard. Exercise can help pregnant women avoid gaining too much weight, which may contribute to everything from increased likelihood of cesarean section and bigger-than-average babies to maternal hypertension and breathing problems in the baby. Nearly 50% of pregnant women gain more weight during pregnancy than recommended by medical experts. Meanwhile, an analysis of more than 2,500 pregnant women who exercised found no risk of low-birth weight or too-early birth. But pregnant women with any sort of health complications should consult with their doctor. (A new risk for babies born to overweight moms.)