Fitness 6 years ago

My Prenatal Workout Routine

I knew if I were to get pregnant again, that I would do things differently the second time around.

When I was pregnant with Chloe, I barely worked out and it left me feeling quite lethargic and low on energy. I always looked up to women who were able to maintain their energy and fitness all throughout their pregnancy because that was definitely not me. So once I found out I was pregnant this time around, I made it a point to do my research and find the best ways to get my work out in.

Unfortunately, I was too paranoid during my first trimester to work out (due to previous miscarriages) so once I got into my second trimester, I started to become more active again. I was doing my usual Pilates and Spin Classes up until month 6, and that’s when I realized I needed to change my routine. As my belly started to grow, my body didn’t feel right doing these moves that I usually do.

My lower back started to increasingly get more painful every day and I wasn’t able to do the usual “laying down” workout on a mat. So, I went into research mode and found my trainer Danielle of Bionic Mommies. Personally, I prefer group classes versus one on one sessions but I decided to give her a try and after our first session together, I instantly knew I had to continue to work with her throughout my pregnancy. The amount of knowledge she had regarding prenatal fitness was beyond me and I found out some shocking information that doctors that simply don’t tell you about working out while you’re pregnant.

So many doctors tell you to just simply “continue to do what you usually do” but I found out that that’s actually quite harmful to the pregnant body. I don’t want to give away too much of my conversation with Danielle but hopefully, this information can help you or someone that you know who is expecting. Also, below is my exact workout routine that I’ve been doing with Danielle 2 -3 times a week to keep me in my best shape! Enjoy!

Chriselle: How did you get into prenatal training?
Danielle: I was in graduate school for exercise theology and I found there was a lack of information about prenatal fitness and that just baffled me!

C: How long have you been working in prenatal fitness?
D: Over 20 years!

C: What are some common myths about pregnancy workouts?
D: A lot of the time, pregnant women are afraid to exercise because they don’t know what to do. Doctors usually tell them to do whatever they did before. For example, if they were running before the pregnancy the doctor would say you can run but just modify.

I wouldn’t recommend any impact at all because of the effect on your ligaments and the impact and pressure on your pelvic floor. Another big myth are kegel contractions. Most women aren’t doing kegel contractions effectively. There’s no way to tell if you’re doing it correctly unless there’s an internal examination so only under the supervision of a pelvic floor physical therapist would I suggest doing kegel contractions. Some women are actually too tight in their pelvic floor muscles and if you’re too tight you’ll actually have trouble during childbirth.

C: How about walking during pregnancy?
D: Walking is great but it also continues to emphasize the muscles in the front of your body. So if you’re walking and doing a little rotation that’s great. Obviously, as you get further along in your pregnancy, your hip flexors are shortening and tightening and you’re using your hip flexors to walk so it can be very uncomfortable. I would find other things to do, specifically strength training.

C: Do you have any workout tips for pregnant women at home or work?
D: Yes! So I’m a firm believer in just moving as much as you can. Not staying in one position for too long. Sitting for too long or standing for too long creates more dysfunction. So, I recommend doing movements that mimic things you do every day. Gently reach, bend, and twist. Just keep your body moving and your blood flowing!

C: Why is it so important to work out during pregnancy? I didn’t work out my first pregnancy.
D: There are so many benefits and the list can go on. To name a few: you will have fewer aches and pains during your pregnancy. If you’re regularly exercising, your body won’t feel as tight or sore and you won’t be as susceptible to sciatic pain or upper back pain or any of the common pains are that women get during pregnancy.

You’re also less likely to have morning sickness! So, when you’re exercising, you’re increasing your metabolism so you’re pushing your food through you faster. So your digestive system works better and you’re going to have a better delivery most of the time, and you’re hands down going to have a better recovery.

You’ll also hopefully have fewer dysfunctions later in life like incontinence.

C: Can women work out up until their due date?
D: Yes, of course, I’ve trained women past their due dates!

C: Have you ever had someone’s water break during a training session?
D: I’ve always feared that but it hasn’t happened yet! I’m ready though!
C: That might be me! Can you deliver a baby?
D: I have taken a childbirth class so I might be able to do it!

C: What is the best thing to do about cravings?
D: Working out, eating nutritiously, and eating frequently so you don’t have those moments of low blood pressure and aren’t grabbing for whatever comes to you.

C: Do you have a favorite pregnancy superfood?
D: There are so many! I think anything plant-based. You should be eating as many plant-based foods as possible! Any antioxidants rich food. I love coconut water too- it’s high in magnesium and potassium, and it’s really great to replenish!

C: What’s the best way to curb a sugar fix… just eat the sugar?
D: I mean you should give in every once and a while, you are pregnant after all. But the way you keep your blood sugar normal is to be eating frequently. You’ll be less likely to binge on sugar. You should be eating every two and a half hours. Something small and balanced, high protein… and that doesn’t have to be animal protein! I’m a big plant-based advocate. So even something like a rice cake with almond butter and apple slices. It’s amazing for a quick meal or snack.

C: Amazing! Do you have any tips on how to get that body back postpartum?
D: Exercising during pregnancy will help you snap back much faster during postpartum. It will make you feel so much stronger. You also need to be patient and give yourself time. Eating healthy and exercising consistently 2 or 3 days a week of strength training during pregnancy can help you get that pre-baby body back faster.

C: So it’s all about preparing.
D: Yes, and it’s all about doing the right kind of exercising as well. You don’t want to jump back into your kickboxing class, you don’t want to go for a run. Be smart about it and recognize that your body needs to be nurtured especially in your postpartum phase.

C: When would you recommend women to get back to working out after giving birth?
D: You can always start walking lightly after giving birth. Even some light pelvic floor exercises like we did today like bridges and pelvic tilting. I wouldn’t do much more than that. Around 6 weeks after you give birth, you’ll get clearance from your doctor so you can resume exercise safely and cautiously; hopefully with someone that specializes in pre and postnatal exercising.

C: So about a month and a half?
D: Yes!

C: Amazing! Thank you so much for sitting down with me, Danielle!
D: Of course!

Essential Moves
10 reps x 3 sets

1. Diaphragmatic Breathing
2. Squats
3. Lunge
4. Bend Move
5. Wall Sit or Wall Squat
6. Pelvic Tilt
7. Basic Bridge

Warm Up/Cool Down

1.     Basic Child’s Pose
2.     Pigeon Pose
3.     Supine Position (with a foam roller)


So there you have it! My prenatal workout routine. PS: be sure to watch the video of my routine here or check it out below! Have a great Monday!


Photography by Drew Scott