Strength training during pregnancy

With all the changes happening emotionally, physically and environmentally during and after pregnancy, exercising can be the last thing on a mum's mind.

Keli Robert reveals the benefits of strength training exercises for new and expectant mums.

From my experience as a personal trainer working with pre and post natal women, tiredness is a huge factor to overcome for many pregnant women who want to exercise but simply lack the energy.

Most women experience bouts of fatigue and nausea during various stages of their pregnancy. The key is to take it slowly and easily.

Exercise during pregnancy can help keep weight gain to healthy levels and usually helps mothers bounce back faster after giving birth. It also gives expectant mothers a feeling of well-being. However it's important to first make sure you have clearance from your doctor to exercise.

I always incorporate strength training exercises into workout routines for my pre- and post-natal clients. Strength training helps improve and tone muscles and increases the metabolic rate so your body burns more calories. It also helps keep mums strong during and after pregnancy.

Improving core strength is essential as it helps improve posture, decreases back pain and flattens the stomach. Strengthening the upper body and arms is also very important to help mums with all the carrying they need to do.

In terms of cardiovascular fitness, pregnant women should avoid high intensity cardio workouts and training in hot and humid environments so as not to distress the fetus. A walking program is usually a good way to start and using a stationary bike or using a cross trainer are also good forms of cardio training.

I have found that each of my pregnant clients has needed a personally tailored program, designed with their own goals, needs, likes and dislikes taken into account. It's important for women is to find a gentle form of exercise they enjoy doing.

In my experience many women are anxious to get their pre-baby-body back.

My advice is to take it slow, as pregnancy and childbirth can really change the shape of your body and getting it back doesn't happen overnight.

Easing back into a post-natal workout program is the best way to go. Breast feeding is also important as it elevates the metabolism and that helps burn off the calories.

Finally, follow your doctor's recommendations, listen to your body, stop if you feel dizzy or uncomfortable and progress gradually.

Progressing gradually is the key to getting back into shape - too much too soon can cause an injury and increase the likelihood of dropping out.

Since moving to LA in 1989 to pursue her passion for fitness, Keli has trained some of Hollywood's A-list stars and has worked with many expectant and new mums.

For more information you can go to