HOUSTON Doctors have long stressed the importance of regular exercise, but when it comes to pregnancy do the rules change?

For dedicated runners, it s tough to go too long without working up a sweat.

Mom-to-be Seresa Carpenter doesn t let anything stop her from lacing up not even her baby bump.

I often get funny looks from people, like, look at the lady with the belly running, said Carpenter.

Carpenter is now seven months pregnant with her first child. A long-time runner, she says running pregnant feels fine for the most part.

Honestly, running doesn t feel that much different. The only thing is I have to stop and go to the bathroom a lot more. There s a lot of pressure there! But other than that it still feels the same. Every now and then I have to stop and walk, take little breaks in between, but other than that it s great, she said.

One dad-to be didn t want his wife running so late into her pregnancy. She did it anyway, completing the Chicago marathon last summer at 38 weeks. She went into labor that night with no complications.

I think it s completely fine to continue that activity if you re conditions, said Dr. Kristin Brigger. I don t know if I would have done a marathon at 38 weeks, but if you re supervised by your OBGYN then it should be fine to continue that.

Chicago s marathon mom is an extreme example, but when it comes to day-to-day running when you re pregnant, doctors say play it safe.

The first trimester is the most fragile time. Maintain what you ve been doing and then just listen to their bodies. That means if you re feeling tired or you feel uteran cramping, slow things down, said Dr. Brigger.

Carpenter is following her doctor s advice and hopes to log even more miles once her bundle of joy arrives.

My running partner and I have already booked San Antonio. We ve lotteried for Houston. So I ll run through my pregnancy as soon as my

Doctors say if you re not a runner, hold off until after you deliver to start a running program. Focus instead on activities like walking or water aerobics. If you do it, staying active is found to shorten labor time and help post-baby weight come off a little faster.

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