Keep your body fit during pregnancy for better results post pregnancy

By: Erin Holtz

There are so many women who lose control of their eating and exercising during pregnancy which makes it so much harder to lose the weight post pregnancy. The number one excuse I hear women say during pregnancy is that they will let themselves go for now and just try and lose the weight after they deliver their baby. This doesn’t always happen and then they end up carrying the weight plus more the rest of their life. Your fetus while in the womb needs good nutrition and exercise since they are developing into the human being that they will be when they arrive. The more you watch your weight now the easier it will be to lose it afterward.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when exercising and eating healthy during pregnancy to help you jump back quicker
to your pre-pregnancy body.

1.. Curve your cravings by making smart, healthy choices
2. Exercise daily to maintain cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone
3. Protect your abdominals to avoid diastis recti

1. Learning to curve your cravings:

Lets face it doctors want you to gain 25-35 lbs for a healthy pregnancy but this doesn’t mean you are eating for two people. Most of that weight will be extra fluid, placenta, and the fetus and only requires a few extra calories during your second and third trimester. Remember whatever you eat, your baby eats so you are developing their body composition with everything you put into your mouth. Yes you are craving certain food items that your body might need during your first and second trimester but that is no excuse not to try and choose healthy food options. For me I would crave pizza but instead of ordering a pizza I would make my own homemade whole grain veggie pizza at home so I could still get all my nutrients for the day. You should try and stick with eating your fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Some helpful tips..

~Eat a small meal or snack as well as a drink a glass of water as soon as you get out of bed
~Eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar level regulated.
~Eat protein at every meal to help sustain your appetite.
~Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day.
~Learn to choose healthier options of foods your are craving.

2. Exercise daily to maintain a healthy weight gain:

Some days it will be easier than others to exercise but trust me you will feel better after your do something active. During your first trimester it will be hard to fight the fatigue, nausea, and just feeling to exhausted to get out of bed but getting on your feet and doing something every day will help in the long run. Remember exercise increases your blood flow to your placenta that helps in fetus growth and development and also helps with swelling and blood circulation. It also helps with headaches, stress, depression, pelvic pain, back pain, constipation, and muscle cramping. So why not get off the couch and get moving!

If you did not exercise prior to pregnancy then you should start slowly by walking or riding the stationary bike but if you were previously working out then maintain your workout.

Some things to avoid during your workouts to keep you and your baby safe from harm…

1st Trimester:

-Avoid hot conditions
-Avoid contact sports or exercises that might cause you to fall.
-Gradually increase exercises that are new to your workout routine.
-Exercise when you feel up to it and don’t push yourself to hard.

2nd Trimester:

-Monitor your heart rate. If you can’t hold a conversation you might be pushing it too hard.
-Avoid crunches, sit-ups, and other abdominal exercises that will cause further damage.
-Avoid lying directly on your back.

3rd Trimester:

-Listen to your body. If it is uncomfortable or causes contractions then stop and try something different.
-Swimming, walking, and rowing are great, safe cardio exercises.
– Avoid lifting too much weight or straining.

3. Protect your abdominals

Not many women realize that doing abdominal exercises during early pregnancy or lifting something too heavy can lead to a life long consequence of diastasis recti. I know this is a foreign term but let me tell you a little bit about it. Diastasis is the splitting of your connective tissue between your right and left abdominal muscle wall. This tissue stretches during pregnancy to allow your fetus to grow but is normally closes nicely after pregnancy and after the relaxin hormone is depleted. I have seen a few women with this condition and most of the time you will work hard after pregnancy to close this gap back together but most of the time it is a permanent condition with corrective surgery being your only option.

To prevent diastasis from occurring during your pregnancy and to have a quicker recovery of your abdominal minuscules here are some things to avoid.

~Exercises that require flexing of the spine including crunches, bicycles, sit-ups, and oblique twists.
~Abdominal exercises on a physio ball
~Any exercises that require heavy lifting or involve twisting at your abdominals/core.

Overall if you maintain a healthy diet and regular exercise during pregnancy then you and your baby should have a much easier recovery after labor and delivery. This will help you bounce back to your normal self and be able to be a fit mom!


Erin Holtz, ATC, ACE-CPT
Erin Holtz is a personal trainer as well as an Athletic Trainer with a degree from The University of Alabama. She holds personal training certification from American Council on Exercise as well as an instructor certification to teach CPR, First Aid, and AED for the infant, child, and adult. After moving to Birmingham, AL following graduation she started working full-time as an athletic trainer and part-time as a personal trainer where she began to realize her passion was not only in the athletic field, but also for helping the general public achieve their life and fitness goals. She now works one-on-one with her clients helping them focus on cardiovascular endurance, plyometrics, core development, rehabilitation, pre- and pos-termt pregnancy, strength, and weight loss. Erin recently joined the HomeFit team and is eager to help you achieve your goals in the comfort of your own home. For more information on Erin and the rest of the HomeFit team, visit or call 205-675-7412.

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