A young friend is eight months pregnant and is concerned her husband is becoming restless. Consequently, she is determined to get her slim figure back as soon as possible and has started doing an exercise which involves pulling her abdominal muscles in to form a hollow under the ribs, then pushing the muscles in and out rapidly.It might be a yoga exercise, but I am sure it is not to be practised during pregnancy and am worried about what it might be doing to the baby.How should I advise her?

Dr Fred Kavalier answers your health question:

Your friend is extremely unlikely to do any harm to her baby. Babies are very well protected inside the mother's uterus. Women in poor countries who continue with strenuous work in the fields throughout pregnancy do no harm to their babies. A mother's abdominal muscles are not strong enough to constrict the uterus sufficiently to affect the baby inside. I would be more concerned about your friend's relationship with her husband. Husbands often feel neglected during pregnancy. She should also think about how she is going to divide her attention between the baby and the husband.

Please send your questions and suggestions to A Question of Health, 'The Independent', Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS; fax 020-7005 2182 or email to health@independent.co.uk. Dr Kavalier regrets that he is unable to respond personally to questions.