Reader Questions Part 2: Pregnancy

I seriously LOVE receiving email from readers! It really makes me feel good to know you trust me with your questions. I answer every email…if it is within my scope.

What does that mean?

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I have my NSCA-CSCS, so I’m technically qualified to answer many questions about exercise plans, certifications, and some nutrition. However, when it comes to supplements, I cannot recommend any particular supplement, vitamin or program. But, I can share what has worked for me in an effort to help you decide.

Does that make sense?

And, I am happy to answer any questions about my specific training, running, and diet, etc. Most recently, I have received many questions regarding pregnancy which is no surprise!

31 week_belly

While, again, I’m no expert, I can answer what has worked for me. You should ALWAYS consult your doctor first!


1. Did you wear a heart monitor to ensure that yours is never raising above 140 bpm?

Yes. I wear the Polar FT 40 HRM which tracks current HR, calories burned, average HR, time, & max HR. FYI, this model does not track distance.

Polar HRM_FT_40_HIIT

However, I was not concerned about staying at or below 140 BPM. That is a outdated guideline. It does not take into account one’s exercise background, health history, or current fitness. Should a virtual sedentary individual have the same prescription as one who previously works out 5-6 days a week for 45 minutes or more? Probably not.

I use the “talk test” while working out and leading fitness classes. If I could exercise and instruct, I felt comfortable continuing. If I became short of breath, I knew I needed to dial it back. When I’m leading a class, adrenaline takes over, so I used the HRM to keep myself in check! Plus, I wanted to make sure I was giving participants a legit workout too!

2. My doctor suggested keeping my heart rate below 140 and don’t lift more than 25 lbs! I was blown away! Did you have your doctor’s support in continuing CrossFit?

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Thankfully, I have a supportive doctor who understands my job and passions. The best rule of thumb? If you’ve been doing it prior to pregnancy (CrossFit, running, Turbo, Yoga), then you can continue doing it until you feel uncomfortable.

I wrote a post on CrossFit During Pregnancy that discusses when I began to modify CrossFit WODs. The picture above is at 26 weeks, and I’m holding a 35 lbs. kettlebell. During the workout, I used a 50 lbs kettlebell for dead lift high-pulls. While pregnancy isn’t necessarily the time to try to PR or find your 1RM (one repetition maximum), you can continue to train doing what you love.

3. Could you tell me where you have been able to find some great workout clothes for pregnancy?

Looking cute while gaining weight? That’s a tough one! Maternity clothes have come a long way, and I have found a couple favorites:

35 weeks Me2Roo

This top is from Me2Roo. They have an outstanding line of active wear that transitions easily into causal attire. I’m wearing capris from For Two Fitness.

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I love my For Two Fitness t-shirt. Comfortable, great for workouts, and I wear it casually too. My Reebok PWR Print leggings worked fabulous for workouts with a wide (forgiving) waistband.

For Two Fitness_Run for Boston.1

And, the For Two Fitness tank top is just as comfy as the tee. Plus, I love the bright color!

Reebok PWR capris

For workout bottoms, I have been able to wear my Reebok CrossFit Chase shorts and PWR Fitted Capris without problem. Both items also have wide waistbands that don’t dig into my belly or hips.

4. Are you taking supplements while you are pregnant?

Yes and no. I stopped taking my beloved GenetixHD program when I found out I was pregnant. Oh, how I love that line! And, I switched from the GNC Active Women’s Mega Ultra Vitapak to the Prenatal Program. I believe you have can have doctor write a prescription for prenatal vitamins too.

GNC Prenatal Vitamins_2

I’m also taking the Ultra Probiotic Complex for improved digestion. Things can…cough, cough…slow down as your baby and belly grows.

5. Do you still use protein powder?

Yes! With the warmer temps, I’m all over smoothies lately!

GNC Total Lean 25 Key Lime

And, of course using it in my No Bake Protein Bars.

GNC Whey protein

6. Could you tell me more about what you make sure you eat in a day while pregnant? I’m trying my best but again there is so much conflicting advice I get so confused.

I think this is different for each woman. I never experienced morning sickness, so I had very few, if any, food aversions. In fact, I craved protein my first trimester, eating eggs almost everyday.

Throughout my pregnancy, I have tried to make healthy choices but I certainly don’t beat myself up for indulging. An additional 300-500 calories a day is quite normal during pregnancy (source).

Hummus Veggie Plate

Some of my mostly-healthy food staples: oatmeal, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, almond milk, apples, bananas, peanut butter, snap peas, carrots, spinach, hummus, string cheese, chicken, Kashi pizza, California sushi rolls, protein bars…

Some of my not-so-healthy choices: gummy candy, ice cream, diet coke.

While I ultimately want to put only the very best in my body, I’m not going to beat myself up for consuming more or having dessert. I’m human! Also, depending on your weight/body composition pre-pregnancy, you may need to gain more or less weight. My doctor wanted me on the higher end of the 25-35 lbs range.

In case you missed the first segment, here’s Part 1 Reader Questions: Exercise and Pregnancy.

Your turn:
What other questions do you have? –By the way, some of your emails go to my junk folder, so be sure to check yours if I haven’t responded in a timely manner!


  1. I have a question just for you to think about for postpartum. I have exclusively breastfed my boys 1 year each (they are 1 and 2 now). I lose the majority of my baby weight right away but I seem to yo-yo after that. I’m not sure if its just me or maybe my body needs a break, poor thing has been working overtime for the past 3 years. I also wondered if hormones played a part in not being able to loose this last little bit and tone up. I know that my appetite was parallel with my babies. When they are more I was starving. Just something that I have been curious about an no one can tell me anything! Does breastfeeding effect your weight loss?

    • Haley, maybe I can help you out! I breastfed both of my girls through their first birthdays too. I lost most of my baby weight within the first few months and then hit a plateau until I weaned my girls. I think my body needed to hang on to a few extra pounds to support the extra demands while nursing. After I weaned my girls, I made sure to make up for the change in caloric expenditure. Breastfeeding can burn up to 500 extra calories a day, so when you don’t have that anymore, it’s easy to regain a few pounds if you don’t make adjustments in diet and exercise. And you’re absolutely right that it takes some time for your body (and hormones!) to completely normalize after breastfeeding. Give yourself a pat on the back for make it through 12 months with both boys and give yourself a little break! I bet you’ll be back to fighting form in no time!
      Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..Breastfeeding & Fitness After BabyMy Profile

      • That’s what I figured! I’m right in the middle if weaning the youngest and I just started feeling more normal. Hormones suck! Thanks for the advice. Glad to hear I’m not the only one.

    • Thanks for chiming in Nicole! Haley I hope this helps answer your question Haley! :) I know I’ll be referring to Nicole’s recent post soon. 😉

  2. Great advice Jess! I wish I had known about those cute maternity wear options with my girls! I did have a Running Skirts maternity skirt and I LOVED it!!
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..Breastfeeding & Fitness After BabyMy Profile

  3. What great questions. Thank you for asking. I am in the market for a new heartrate watch. Love the outfits. :)
    Jennifer recently posted..Barre not BarMy Profile

  4. Great post. I exercised and ran all through both of my pregnancies and wrote lots about it. I got lots of questions about the 140bpm and stuff like that and I love seeing other bloggers set some of those outdated ideas straight as well. Like you say, it’s no time to start something new or set a PR but continuing what our bodies are used to is perfectly fine as long as you listen to your body.

  5. A question that doesn’t have to be answered now… (because I don’t believe it can for you…)

    What benefits to your body did you find as a result of pregnancy?

    … For me I believe that I adjusted much easier to living at altitude due to the increase of blood volume once we moved at 20 weeks preg. I’ve yet to deal with altitude ick of any kind. During our recent trip to “flat land” left me filling my lungs with air and going, “wow!” …
    Wendy @ New Moms Talk recently posted..Protected: Father’s Day Gifts Etsy StyleMy Profile

    • I hope I can list a few benefits! I did read that post-baby we are strong with lung capacity–the only thing holding us back is muscles that haven’t trained like they are used to! :)

  6. Great advice! I’m still working out, but I’m taking it easy. My doc said 140 bpm too, but I know that’s dated info. I too rely on the “talk test.” :) Thanks girl!
    Tiff recently posted..What I Ate Wednesday #280182373My Profile

  7. Thanks Jess – Do you know if the genetix line is safe while BF? I breastfed my last one til 16 months, so it’d be awhile before I can use it if not. TIA!

    • Hey Kat! There is quite a bit of caffeine in the GenetixHD line…my plan is to hold off until I’m done BF-ing before I take it again just to be safe. And, go you! 16 months!! I’m shooting for 6 at least! :)

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