Kristin Foster in her eighth month of pregnancy doing the lunge

Kristin Foster in her eighth month of pregnancy doing the lunge to stregthen her core and lower body. Photo by Felicity John Odell

FIT: Staying Fit Before, During and After Pregnancy

 by Summer Mencini

Being pregnant is cause for great excitement marked also by anxiety and uncertainty. I cannot think of any other life event that provokes such a polarization of feelings.

Your body will go through many changes, both physical and mental. Hormones rise and fall and can cause mood swings, fatigue, nausea, and weight gain; your body is growing and changing in ways that you never thought possible.

There is, however, a bright side to all of these lovely changes.

The blood volume progressively increases during pregnancy, causing a beautiful pregnancy glow. Hair and nails become thicker and shinier. Abdomen and breasts enlarge — some of us women can appreciate the latter.

Exercise can make a pregnancy much more enjoyable and your body changes more manageable. Be sure to consult your physician before starting any exercise program while you are pregnant.

That said, with seven years of experience in designing exercise programs for pre- and post-natal women, I can give you five excellent reasons for exercising while pregnant.

1. To prevent weight gain. This is not only for aesthetic purposes but to prevent gestational diabetes.

2. To maintain muscle tone.  Remember, you need to keep up your strength to carry around your new bundle of joy.

3. To make it easier to lose weight after you give birth.

4. Exercise can shorten labor and make labor easier.

5. Exercise makes hormone changes less drastic and therefore keeps your moods more stable.

Kristin Foster

Kristin Foster in her eighth month of pregnancy doing a chest press while in the bridge position to strengthen her chest, glutes, hamstrings and lower back. Photo by Felicity John Odell

At fit…studio, we have a five-point plan to ensure safety for both mom and baby. First — and most important, is that we teach women to listen to their bodies. This is a process of self-awareness where we teach women to be able to breathe properly, talk through the exercise, and feel what exercises are right for their bodies.

The remaining key points are to hydrate properly, stay with low impact exercises, take breaks when necessary and exercise on stable ground.

Although pregnancy is not a time to make huge fitness gains, post pregnancy workouts are just the opposite. Get the go signal from your physician, set fitness goals and work towards them.

I see women transform their bodies, losing inches and pounds, while feeling confident, strong, and capable of taking care of their new babies.

One inspiring mother I have had the pleasure of working with has four children ages 18 months to seven years. She says that thanks to her workouts, she is able to keep up with the rigorous demands of motherhood. She looks amazing!

Kristin Foster worked out before and during pregnancy, gave birth on June 27, and is back to her workouts. During her pregnancy she stayed healthy and active, then had a natural childbirth and now is looking terrific as a new mom — stay tuned for postnatal pictures of Kristin online at in November.

Summer Mencini is owner of fit…studio in the Princeville Center. She holds a bachelor of science in health science, is a certified personal trainer through ACE, and has numerous other certifications in stroller strides, silver sneakers and TRX. Fit…studio is home of the fit method and has four trainers on staff offering classes and personal training. Call 808-635-7668,  email; and visit online at

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