One health and fitness coach shares her pre-natal fitness journey | Pregnancy blog

Created by Elly McGuinness

Last Updated: August 28, 2020

CATEGORIES: Healthy Moms

Three and a half years on from the birth of my daughter I decided to put together my pre-natal fitness blog. I documented my quest to stay fit and healthy during my pregnancy via written pregnancy blogs and videos. The information in this pregnancy blog was updated in September 2020 (e.g. to ensure links to external information are still accurate).

By the way, I know there are loads of pregnancy blogs out there, so thanks for stopping by to read mine! (You can also feel free to leave a comment in the box at the bottom of this post and let me know about the best pregnancy blogs that you’ve found to help you on your journey).

It has certainly been interesting reading through and re-watching these pregnancy fitness blog videos. By sharing my pregnancy blog I hope you will be inspired to continue to be as healthy and fit as you can manage…and enjoy the journey along the way.

Although I am a qualified and experienced fitness practitioner, none of this was intended to be prescriptive. For me it was more about sharing the ‘raw’ me and sharing the fact that I am a real human with challenges just like you.

Before we continue, if you’re pregnant now you might want to grab my free pregnancy workout program which uses your own body weight and resistance bands. Resistance bands are a cheap, lightweight piece of kit that you can carry anywhere. The workout pdf has been put together to provide you with safe exercise options during pregnancy. Just click the link below to grab yours!

I will warn you now that this pre natal fitness blog is LONG. It wasn’t designed to be consumed in one go! If you are pregnant and are interested in following my healthy pregnancy blog, I suggest you bookmark the page. That way you can come back and check out my vlogs and other information as and when you want to, or when they seem relevant to you.

My week 40 pregnancy blog post is written in full at the bottom. If you have ever been 40 weeks pregnant before you might understand that I didn’t really feel like doing a video update at that point! So here we go…

(This post includes affiliate links for which I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase)

Pregnancy blogs week by week | Pregnancy fitness week 5

Welcome to my first pregnancy blog – week 5! Ok, so who else knew they were pregnant around only a week after conceiving? I’m very sensitive and aware of changes going on inside my body. Hence I was already feeling a bit gross at this early stage! Check out my first pre natal fitness vlog by clicking on the picture below.

Pregnancy blog week by week | Pregnancy fitness week 8

Aah, so here comes the example of sharing my true, authentic self with you. I’ve always made a point of being ‘real’ with my readers. I believe I can help more people by sharing the fact that I have challenges, just like you do. You might look at a video like the one I share next as something negative for a health and fitness practitioner. You may think that I need to be close to ‘perfect’ in terms of the choices I make. That is fine if that is your belief.

The reality is that we all have challenges. Some are willing to put them ‘out there’ in order to help others realise that everyone is human. Others prefer to hide behind a ‘brand’ they’ve created for themselves and their business. I’m part of the former group.

It’s certainly important for me to ‘walk the talk’ in terms of leading a fit and healthy lifestyle. However I will always be real about my challenges. This four week period is a special one in that it has been extremely different to any other four week period in my whole lifetime. Maybe some of you who also experienced severe morning sickness will resonate with it.

Looking at the overall picture

I remember at this stage of my pre natal fitness journey that I was feeling somewhat guilty about some of the food choices I was making. Like every woman I wanted to be as healthy as I could to give my baby the best chance of being healthy too. However there seemed to be very little I could do to stop myself being sick except from sucking on a sweet.

My partner reminded me that this time period was but a small part of my overall life. The decisions I had made to support myself with nourishing food and exercise choices up until this point of time counted for a lot. You could say I’d prepared with a pre pregnancy workout and healthy food regime for a number of years prior to conception.

My pre pregnancy fitness and health status was very good and I knew this would help me during pregnancy. I knew the morning sickness and subsequent food choices was a temporary thing and that I’d feel better in the coming weeks.

The picture probably says it all, but if you want to listen to my week eight pre natal fitness vlog, just click on the video below.

Staying fit during pregnancy blog | Pregnancy fitness week 13

Things start to settle down a bit at this point. That first trimester really is tough for many women on a number of levels.

Throughout this pregnancy blog you’ll learn that I found it difficult to maintain the exercise that I was doing prior to becoming pregnant. This is to be expected with all the major changes that come with getting ready to produce a little human.

However, you will find many examples on the internet of women who somehow manage to keep doing what they were doing prior to getting pregnant. I ran my first full marathon only a few months before I got pregnant. However, I found that running, even a little bit, didn’t work for me at all while I was pregnant. I had to significantly change my exercise routine, but I always got out and continued with what I could do safely and without putting immense pressure on myself.

One of my friends on the other hand continued running right up until she gave birth. Just remember that everyone’s journey is different. Comparing yourself to others pays no respect to what is going on in your own special, unique body. So be kind to yourself. Click on the video below to listen to my week 13 pre natal vlog.

My fitness journey blog | Pregnancy fitness week 17

Maybe by this point you will realise that I’m not one of those women who just glide through pregnancy! You know, all glowing and feeling wonderful! But hey, at least I’m smiling:)

In my week 17 pre natal fitness video I talk about some of the pregnancy books that I read. I’m a bit of a ‘book worm’ so after the 12 week mark I started to look for books on pregnancy that would fit with my general philosophy. For me, that involved selecting pregnancy books that would embrace my focus on a natural pregnancy and childbirth.

I know that nature takes choices out of our hands sometimes, but that still wasn’t going to stop me from reading books that aligned with my beliefs. I chose the best pregnancy books I could find. For me these were ones centered on yoga and meditation. They also all embrace pregnancy and child birth for the natural processes they are.

If you’re looking for books to read during pregnancy and you resonate with a natural way of living, you might be interested to read these.

Click on the video below to watch my week 17 update.

Prenatal yoga classes | Pregnancy yoga dvd amazon | YouTube pregnancy yoga

At this point in your pregnancy you might be really starting to ‘feel pregnant’. You might be looking for some pregnancy exercise classes to help maintain your pre natal fitness. Have a look around and find out what’s in your area. Alternatively, you could try a pregnancy workout dvd or pregnancy yoga dvd. If you want to get a prenatal yoga DVD, Amazon has a good collection.

Even easier than going to the hassle of purchasing a pregnancy exercise DVD is the option of going online. Youtube is full of pregnancy-specific exercise classes. Just make sure that the instructor has some credibility and expertise before diving straight in. Ultimately, make sure that you communicate with your primary care team regarding what will be safe for you as an individual.

If you’d like to try something online, I put some very simple yoga postures which are suitable for a straight forward pregnancy. I have erred on the side of caution with these, so they are pretty gentle. These weren’t put together until I was 36 weeks pregnant, or maybe even 38 weeks. I wanted to make sure they would be doable for me at that stage.

Many women are still bouncing along at 36 or 38 weeks pregnant. I was waddling and doing very little, but these still worked well for me. Please do remember to check with your midwife, or whatever health professional you are most closely working with, before deciding if they are right for you.

You can grab my free yoga postures pdf here.

Fit Pregnancy Blog | Pregnancy fitness week 20

In my next update I share the usual about what I’ve been up to both fitness and nutrition wise. I never really got into doing prenatal exercise classes. I joined in with regular workout classes but I had a good understanding of what to avoid and how to modify exercises. For example, when attending the pump classes I mention, I would put my bench on an incline for chest and tricep presses. This is a safer modification than keeping the bench flat.

I would have gone to some pregnancy fitness classes but there weren’t many to choose from that fitted in with my timetable. If you pregnant and you are going to attend workout classes make sure you talk to the instructor about modifications. If possible, choose prenatal workout classes because they will be specific to your needs. When no specialized classes are available, ensure you select a class that is appropriate for your ability the stage you are at with your pregnancy. Now is not the time to be taking on brand new forms of exercise.

[Side note: during my second pregnancy five years later I put together a number of pregnancy fitness videos, which are available to watch (and do!) for free on YouTube. Jump onto my YouTube channel, click on subscribe, and then also click the bell icon so that you get notified about holistic health and fitness videos that I add in the future. If you want to save or try any of the videos now, here are some of them for quick reference:

Keep your fluids up, be careful not to overheat, and listen to your body. Realize that you might feel different every day, so you need to make appropriate decisions based on your current situation. By the way, at this point in your pregnancy, you might want to check out these great ideas for pampering yourself xx

Diastasis recti

Also known as ‘abdominal separation’, diastasis recti is what I talk about in the second part of my week 20 pre natal fitness video. As you will hear, I was a little surprised to learn that I was experiencing this at only week 20. Listen to the video to hear about how I could feel my insides pushing through! That’s how it was determined that I was experiencing diastasis recti symptoms.

Blogs about pregnancy | Pregnancy fitness week 24

Enter the first stages of sleep challenges! Not only for new mothers, but also for moms to be! Sheesh, I mention a two hour nap on this one…I can barely even remember those days when I had more choices to make with my time!

Are you still looking at books for pregnancy? At the beginning of this vlog a photo of a book that I read during this part of my pregnancy pops up. However, I don’t mention it in the video. It’s called “Birthing from within“. There are so many books for pregnant ladies out there. I’m just sharing the ones that resonated with me.

Fitness journey blog | Pregnancy fitness week 28

There’s a lot going on with my body by this point! I’m still managing to stay active but as you will hear I’m quickly learning my new limits. Every day is different. Some days I walk up to two hours; and on others 20 minutes is plenty.

Listening back on this I remember the pain in my pubic bone clearly. It stayed around for some time. I have ongoing challenges with my back still to this day. I’ve been very careful about listening to my body along the way, and looking after it as much as possible. Backs are complex structures though and a certainly a lot has changed in mine during and post pregnancy. I will continue to work on strengthening it! As I mentioned at the beginning of this pregnancy blog, I’m human too. Even though I’m a fitness trainer I still have my own health and fitness challenges. I have simply gained some knowledge and skills along the way to be able to help others reach their goals.

Click on the video below to hear about what was going on at my week 28 pre natal fitness update.

Natural pregnancy blog | Pregnancy fitness week 32

Getting close now! Book worms, this is the book featured at the start of the next video. I don’t talk about it in the video.

In my week 32 pre natal fitness vlog I talk about the ways in which I manage the back pain I have been experiencing. One of those ways was by wearing a pregnancy back brace. As you’ll hear in the video I didn’t know how to wear it properly at this point in time. The physio ordered it for me but she wasn’t available when I went to pick it up, and I couldn’t get an appointment with her.

Now it’s four years on and I wonder to myself why the heck I didn’t just google “how to put on a pregnancy back brace”. Because Google tells me pretty much anything I want to know. Gee, I only would have had to look at a picture of a lady wearing one and I would have been able to figure it out. Maybe my ‘baby brain’ was kicking in already at this point?!

I learned something new today!

I was totally wearing it wrong. Never (until this day) did I figure out that one part of it is supposed to go ‘over’ the bump. Well, if there’s ever a ‘next time’ I will know what to do. Also, I am feeling quite chuffed that I learned something new today! Of course I wouldn’t have run into this problem if I had have purchased one online and been able to read the instructions that came with it. However at the time I wanted to do things through the guidance of a professional. The one I picked up from the physio didn’t have a box or instructions with it, nor anyone available to help me!

Pregnancy journey blog | Pregnancy fitness week 36

Wow, it’s all happening now! Watching back on this one four years later makes me feel very excited! Stocking up the spare freezer in our garage was truly one of my best ideas. It allowed us to relax more in the first couple of weeks following the birth. We didn’t have family where we lived so these freezer meals kept us going for a few weeks until we headed north to spend time with family.

It was interesting to hear me talk about Mr Ono and the amazing treatment he provided for my back. I went to see him a couple of times in the post natal period, but then stopped going because he wouldn’t stop talking about my belly, which was still sticking out! But that’s all part of the post natal journey, which we will get to in due course.

As mentioned at the top of this post, this week 36 pre natal fitness vlog is my last one. I was still around at week 40 but I truly did not feel like talking to a camera at that point in time! But before we get to that, here’s the week 36 pre natal fitness vlog.

One of the pregnancy books I read during this part of my pregnancy is listed below. I can’t find the other one to link to.

Pregnancy fitness week 40

Here it is – the full written version of my week 40 pre natal fitness blog.

WhatWeek 5Week 40Change
Weight51.3 kg70.4 kg+ 19.1 kg (up 2.6kg since last weigh in)
Waist (narrowest)69.5 cmNo longer exists 
Waist (b. button)76 cm109.5+ 33.5 cm (up 5.5 cm cm since last measurement!!!)
Hips91cm99 cm+ 8 cm (up 2 cm since last measure)
Bust size12 B12 D+ 2 cups
pre natal fitness
40 weeks pregnant – side view
pre natal fitness
40 weeks pregnant – front view

With the due date only two days away and definitely feeling like I’m about to pop, I thought I’d get one final pre natal fitness blog in.  Let’s just say there are a few signs that baby will likely arrive in the next few days, rather than later! [four years on note: I was right – bubs arrived pretty much right on time].

Umm, I can’t even walk now

My fitness has been an ongoing struggle over the past four weeks, but especially over the last two, since I’ve been on maternity leave!  I have had every intention of using my newfound free time to go walking, continue practicing yoga, and to go swimming.  But it seems that every day my belly is growing and my body is being forced to adjust to doing less.  Over the past two weeks, walking has sometimes been out of the question, mainly because I seem to get a random pinched nerve around my left hip.

Swimming is really uncomfortable, as the slight rolling motion of my body as I take a breath makes my stomach sore and it feels as though my insides are being pulled in every direction!  So sometimes when heading to the pool I just relax in the spa instead!  And finally, even the yoga, the thing I’ve been doing most consistently throughout pregnancy, is too uncomfortable to do most of the time.  I just feel like my stomach is wrenching at skin, muscle and other tissues in most positions, and especially when changing positions.

It seems ridiculous that I can’t enjoy these basic exercises, but I guess that I’ve put on just under half my original body weight, and it’s not exactly evenly distributed over my body!  It’s been quite an adjustment for my small frame.  So again, I’ve just been doing what I can and sometimes that is just a few simple exercises with a resistance band, or some gentle stretches.

The freezer is prepared!

What I have been proud of in the health arena is that I have achieved my mission of filling our spare freezer up with healthy meals to get us through the first few weeks without having to cook.  For my baby shower I asked for people not to buy presents, but of course they often still want to do something. Therefore I suggested that I would really appreciate a healthy homemade vegetarian meal (having been vegetarian for more than 10 years).  Here are the meals I ended up with, as well as healthy snacks for when we have visitors coming over.

Tofu, apricot and banana curry – 1

Cannellini bean patty mix – 3

Ratatouille – 5

Carrot and lentil dahl- 2

Vegan Lasagne – 2

Mexican cheesecake – 2

Pumpkin and chickpea casserole – 3

Vegetable and bean chilli – 2

Pumpkin Soup – 2

Quinoa and Lentil loaf – 2

= 24 Meals!

pre natal fitness
The freezer is fully stocked!


Apricot and ginger bites

Protein balls

Protein Slice

Potato Savouries

So I’ve been feeling very pleased with my efforts and grateful for the meals that others have contributed.

pre natal fitness
I’m ready when you are bubs!

As it stands, I have 33.5 cm I want to lose from my waist after the birth, in order to fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes!  I would have 19.1 kg to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, although I’m not as concerned about what the scales will say, and I imagine that whilst I’m breastfeeding I might have a bit of extra weight on the boobs!  I’d also like to gain a kg or two of extra muscle to what I had before.  I’m aware that this will take some time, but I look forward to sharing the ‘other side’ of my fitness journey with you.

If you enjoyed reading about my pre natal fitness journey, I’d love for you to leave a comment below. Tell me a bit about your own pregnancy journey or about some of the other pregnancy blogs you are following!

Next, you may want to read about my home birth story and postpartum fitness blog. A couple of others that you might want to bookmark for later are these essential self care tips for new moms as well as these awesome ideas for a successful postpartum exercise plan. If you’re a mom and you think you might be suffering from postpartum incontinence, find if you’ve got it and what to do about it.

For some online fitness advice, try my physical fitness blog category. You can also check out other blog posts from my healthy moms category.

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these recommended service provider links, like an insurance broker, or a travel agent, I may earn a commission – at no extra cost to you. [For my full disclosure, please see my DISCLAIMER page].

Did you enjoy this blog? Have you been inspired by any of my other content such as my social posts or videos? Did you know you can now ‘Buy Me A Coffee‘! Just click the button and express your gratitude however you see fit.

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Elly McGuinness


  1. Maryam

    Thank you for the article. You are an inspiration to us all.

  2. mouna

    During pregnancy you should have to consult your health care provider whether you would be safe if you are about to take up physical exercise. You can also have aerobic activity during pregnancy. These would reduce the complications as well as back pain during pregnancy.

    • Elly McGuinness

      Thanks for your comment Mouna, and for the reminder for pregnant women to consult with their health care provider before undertaking a fitness regime during pregnancy.

  3. Kettlebellkings

    Nice to read from you. The texts provided here regarding workouts for pregnant woman is very informative. I run a company where there are many women workers. I will suggest to them these tips you provided here.

    • Elly McGuinness

      Thanks and I’m glad you found the post useful:-)

  4. Debra Klein

    Wow! What a comprehensive and useful post!
    Will definitely share with my pregnant health coaching clients.

    • Elly McGuinness

      Thanks Debra! I hope it will help inspire others to stay as fit and healthy as they can during pregnancy:)

  5. Mjchristine

    Thanks for sharing this, I’m a new mom-to-be and pregnant for 28 weeks. My journey on my pregnancy is quite tough but this inspires me, I wish to follow your healthy tips mentioned here and stay fit.

    • Elly McGuinness

      Thanks for your message. As you will have observed, I found pregnancy really tough too. I hope there’s something in there to help you. It’s a beautiful experience, which at the same time comes with many challenges for some women. Wishing you the best x


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