Hi Hayley

I am 5'2 160 pounds. In the last 4 years I gained 30 pounds and the last 10 were gained around my honeymoon and now we have recently found out I am pregnant! We are really excited about the baby but also feeling anxious about the weight gain that is to follow. Do you have any recommendations on keeping fit as I can't go back to any of my old routines which only consisted of exercise videos.

Thanks in advance



30 pounds in four years – it is easy to do (that is less than 10 pounds a year which can happen by eating just 100 calories a day more than you need every day) but hard to stop or lose the added weight.

Congratulations on your pregnancy, but the first trimester is not the time to think about losing weight or getting into shape. The first thing you MUST do is see your doctor and get clearance to pursue a healthy lifestyle and exercise program. You want to spend the next 12 weeks ensuring your body is getting the nutrients and rest it needs to help grow the baby inside you while making sure you are gaining the appropriate amount of weight your body needs. What I always recommend women do who are in a similar situation as you is follow the Canadian Food Guide to ensure they are eating a balanced diet and following the exercise guidelines on the PARmed-X for Pregnancy developed by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP).

Spend much of your time completing light, low impact cardio and focus on basic core and posture exercises for your strength training. I suggest you replace your exercise DVDs with a prenatal yoga and a Pilates workout. There are lots to choose from on ITunes which cost as little as $1.99.

Once you have entered your second trimester you are usually feeling much better and through the past 12 weeks your exercise consistency has created enough of a base that you can progress your workouts. It is not recommended to increase your cardiovascular activity over 30 minutes and you need to make sure your heart rate remains in the recommended zones.

Make sure you do not exercise lying down as the pressure on the vena cava (a vein in your leg) due to the weight of the baby can cause you to become dizzy. Dress in layers for your workout so you can cool off if you become hot and stay hydrated. Continue with prenatal Pilates and pre yoga but add in some strength exercises, focusing on your glutes, core and upper body posture muscles to make sure you are ready for the third trimester.

In the third trimester you have to listen to your body and on the days you have low energy, do not push yourself hard but still make sure even when you are feeling low energy you get in your 15 minutes of cardio. A healthy diet and exercise program can help prevent gestational diabetes, regulate your weight gain in your pregnancy and improve your fitness for labour.  Both you and your baby will have an easier time during delivery and a quicker recovery.  As your due date becomes closer stick to easy stationary cycling, water aerobics and stretching.

Everyone’s pregnancy is different and I know some women who push themselves hard right up to their due date but I also know other women who simply focus on eating right and exercising regularly. Do what is right for you.

Attached - Jenna Dewan leaves an exercise class.