Make Your Pregnancy Workouts Really Work

Yeah, yeah, it’s easy for taut fitness pros to tell you to work out during your pregnancy—what with their lack of swollen feet or heartburn. We chased down realistic advice from trainers who’ve been there.

“My babies were large—in fact, my daughter was more than 10 pounds at birth—so arm, core and back exercises were important for maintaining my posture and reducing lower-back strain. Incorporate 15 to 30 push-ups against the wall into your routine. Building upper body strength helps with all the biomechanics of motherhood, like lifting and holding.”

—Anne Martens, creator of the Bella Bellies Prenatal Pilates & Stretch method and mother of Raina, 8, Liam, 3, and Lucas, 6 weeks

“Don’t forget that you’re exercising for the health of your baby and to be in shape for labor and delivery. This adds a whole new layer of motivation—it’s no longer about weight loss or looks. For that, Hallelujah!”

—Ellen Barrett, creator of  Happy Baby, Fit Mama! postnatal workout DVD and mother of Luca, 5

“A mom-to-be client told me that a great pregnant activity is to explore kid-friendly parks. She had no idea there were so many playgrounds in L.A. Going for a brisk walk or jog in these areas was both a workout and research for fun places to bring her little one!”

—Elizabeth Ordway, star of  Element: Targeted Toning Pilates for Beginners DVD and mother of Sophie, 8 months

“Seek out your fellow preggos! You probably amazing friends and family members who support you no matter what stage of life you’re in, but you need the support of someone who’s going through it with you. There’s a huge community of active, expecting mothers out there, so join them locally or online and share your tips, recipes, workouts, struggles and stories!”

—Heidi Powell, trainer on  ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss and mother of Matix, 9, Marley, 7, Cash, 3, and Ruby, 8 months.

“Certain exercises feel uncomfortable during pregnancy, so get creative about adapting moves. I felt that staying upright was more comfortable than being on all fours for glute work, for example. Try holding on to the back of a kitchen chair, tilting your body forward 45 degrees and pulsing one heel up toward the ceiling.”

—Lauren Piskin, cofounder and owner of ChaiseFitness in New York City and mother of Rachel, 26, and Tori, 23

“Remember, your entire pregnancy is preparation for delivery. The stronger you are, the easier your delivery will probably be. Activating the core and pelvic muscles—yogis call it the mula bandha—through yoga helps you naturally do your Kegel exercises. I had a great delivery because I had a strong pelvic floor and could push Carmen out with ease.”

—Hilaria Baldwin, creator of  Fit Mommy-to-Be Prenatal Yoga DVD and mother of Carmen, 11 months