What Personal Trainers Wish You Knew About Pregnancy

They may do more burpees than baby burping, but they know exactly how to keep you in shape. 

Pregnant Woman Holding Small Dumbbell Shutterstock
1. Keep Going

Many of my clients think “OMG, I have to be so careful now that I’m pregnant.” And I always say, you’re not sick or injured—you’re having a baby! Barring any medical conditions, you can still do almost anything you did before becoming pregnant up until your due date. Actress Jennifer Garner worked out until about a week before her due date. And you should too, if you can. Just be mindful of your heart rate—you don’t want to feel dizzy or as if your heart is going to burst through your chest. Some exercises do need to be modified, so consult with your doctor before starting a regimen, and no crunches or exercises that require lying on your back after the first trimester. So long as what you’re doing feels comfortable, keep at it.

Valerie Waters, Celebrity trainer in Los Angeles 

2. Do Cardio in Your First Trimester

I know it probably sounds counterintuitive to recommend getting on a treadmill or going for a hike when you’re feeling sick and tired and your hormones are all over the place. But moderate aerobic exercise—say, 20 or 30 minutes a day—will actually help increase your energy levels, improve your mood, and help you sleep better. If you didn’t exercise before, walking most days, with your doctor’s permission, can make pregnancy easier. It may seem like the last thing you want to do, but you’ll be glad you did. My wife can attest to that!

Pete McCall, Trainer and exercise physiologist in San Diego

3. Show Your Back Some Love

Once Baby arrives, most new moms tend to carry more on one side than the other, which can create a muscle imbalance. To prevent this, it’s important to keep your core strong and balanced, which will also support your back. Practice walking lunges with a deck of cards. Lunge forward with one leg and place one card on the floor. Lunge forward with the other leg and put another card down. Continue these walking lunges across the room, going through as much of the deck as you can. Turn around and do walking lunges to pick the cards up. It’s a functional movement that helps strengthen your back for a motion you’ll be doing more and more as your baby grows older: picking up clothes and toys off the floor.

Peter Milhous, Personal trainer in Burlington, Vermont 

1 Move, 3 Trimesters: Lunges

4. Get Creative With Timing

Since having my baby, I’ve had to find ways to make my workouts even more efficient—because, hello, what new mom has time? When my son, Timothy, goes down for a nap, I do 20 minutes of strength training and Pilates. Pop in a DVD and go. I’m also a huge fan of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), where you alternate periods of intense activity, such as a minute of jumping jacks, with easier ones, like marching in place for a minute, for a total of 20 minutes. This burns more calories than doing that same amount of steady-state cardio, so you get a bigger bang in much less time.

Kristin McGee, Celebrity trainer in New York City