Modifications I Made While Teaching Fitness Classes During Pregnancy

Longest post title ever?

But first, before we get there, three things I must tell you:

1. I ate fro yo yesterday. With some awesome ladies!


blog friends

me, Sharsti, Janae, Arrienne, & Ash

It was a blast to hang out with them–and chat them up about birth, pregnancy, and all that jazz, seeing as each of them already have a kid–with Ash just having had her lil’ boy 4 weeks ago!

2. I got my hair cut. (Finally).

hair cut

3. My little nephew’s 2nd birthday is today. Happy Birthday to the cutest 2 year old ever!!



Modifications I Made While Teaching Fitness Classes During Pregnancy

I’ve gotten a bunch of emails, comments, tweets, and questions about this topic, so I decided to just bang it all out in one post. With the longest post title ever.

Also I figured I should prrrooobbbaably answer this question while I am still pregnant, no?

I’ll break the answers down by classes I teach. And by the way, this was MY experience during pregnancy and what I did. And what my doc advised me to do because he KNEW my fitness level (and I was already fit & teaching these classes BEFORE I got pregnant). So yah, you can use these ideas but remember we’re all VERY different, so check with your doc FIRST.

modifications I made while teaching fitness classes during pregnancy


  • At 14 weeks I dropped teaching 2 classes per day. My doc told me it’s best to only teach/work out 1 hour per day simply because it’s harder on the body and it’s hard to catch up caloric wise. I had been wanting to drop a class for awhile (I was often tired), so it was a great time to do it.
  • At about 25 weeks, I started decreasing my weights on the barbell. I just go with how I feel each day-sometimes I lift more in squats one week and less the next, but in general, all of my weights for the squats, lunges, and back tracks now are lower than they were before pregnancy.
  • In the past 2 weeks or so, as my bump as grown, the deadrows and upright rows are definitely different. As in, I shorten the range. Clean & press hasn’t been too difficult with the belly, but I’ve also lightened my weights on that just in case it gets to close to the bump for my comfort.
  • I haven’t done any changes to any triceps or biceps tracks. My upper body isn’t growing a baby, yo! (Except it kinda thinks it is….hello extra chub on my arms.)
  • Pushups are SO much harder with a belly. So I pretty much have been modifying on my knees for the most part since my belly grew (beginning around 27-ish weeks).
  • I still lie on my bench while doing chest press or chest flys. My doc said there is no need to freak out about a few minutes on the back and because I’m using my extremities, it’s less likely to be troublesome (also, FYI-there is no study that shows actual reduced blood flow or issues to a baby because a mom laid on her back for a few minutes). However, whenever it gets uncomfortable, I was told to add risers to one side so I wasn’t flat on my back. My belly hasn’t gotten big enough for this to feel uncomfortable for me, so I’m still on my back for those few minutes. I still use the barbell for the chest press, but it is getting harder to sit up with it. Hah.
  • With the core track in BP, I began to modify around 28 weeks or so, once the bump was getting bigger and got ‘in the way’ more. πŸ˜‰ I still show the crunches & stuff, but I don’t really do them; I sit up and cue the class. I still do all the hovers & plank work-if a part of the track-though.

modifications I made while teaching fitness classes during pregnancy


  • I started teaching CXWORX before I got pregnant, and I really think it helped my core be pretty strong for this pregnancy. With that being said, my core work ability began to change for me as my belly grew.
  • Starting around 27/28 weeks I stopped doing all the types of crunches & would just modify or sit up & cue.
  • I still do all the moves, generally, in CXWORX, but my range for some of the moves-like knee drops, leg extensions, etc., has been greatly reduced. Especially in the past 5 weeks as my belly has really grown.
  • Hovers & planks are actually great for pregnant ladies, so I definitely do all of those. I started dropping to my knees more often once the bump got bigger (it’s hard with all that extra weight, yo!)
  • I have stopped doing full side hovers (with both feet on the ground); I modify the side hovers with 1 knee down, and began doing this around 33 weeks. It just started pulling a bit on my belly & didn’t feel awesome.
  • I still do all the standing resistance work with the tubing-and have done so my entire pregnancy. My balance is definitely a bit iffy, so it’s hilarious to keep my balance while teaching as my bump got bigger, but the class understands. Overall though, I love those tracks because I can do most of the moves without any modifications.
  • Any core work that is done on my belly I stopped doing around 27-ish weeks when my bump was an actual bump & it hurt to lie down.

modifications I made while teaching fitness classes during pregnancy


  • I didn’t really change anything in Zumba until the bump got bigger-around 28 or so weeks.Β With that being said though, I definitely had to catch my breath more often, stand in front of the fan a bit more, and chug more water starting around 16 or so weeks.
  • Once the bump began really bumpin’, I reduced the jumping around quite a bit. So beginning around 28/29 weeks I was more conscious of doing fewer super fast dances & songs and/or intermixing them a bit more with slower songs.
  • I get hot super duper fast, so I always have the fan pointed on me while teaching. This began around 20 weeks or so. :)
  • As an instructor I can often ‘work’ the room, so I don’t have to do all the moves full out & can spend time in different areas of the room dancing with various groups of people in the class. It is a fun way to interact in Zumba, and I secretly can do less ‘big’ moves and thus reduce the expenditure of energy. :) I began doing this much, much more once the bump was bigger. Around 28 weeks or so.
  • In general Zumba has gotten more uncomfortable as the bump has grown, but it’s still a lot of fun for me so I keep teaching it. Nothing really hurts per say, but by the end of the class I am definitely exhausted! I’ve mentioned this before, but with the way I teach Zumba (more high intense, upbeat, and fast-moving), there is no way I could teach more than 1 Zumba class per week.


  • The Les Mills HIIT group training class (GRIT) is obviously crazy high intense. I was in the midst of teaching a session when I got pregnant. I taught another session a few weeks later (each session runs for 6 weeks). I stopped coaching GRIT around 19 weeks.
  • Because the class is coached by a coach (moi), I can decide how hard I push myself, but must still maintain the aura of pushing the group to go harder, faster, stronger. With good cues & just a few reps for each move, I could coach just fine!
  • Modifications did include not jumping as high on some of the plyo moves, running slower, and stopping to drink more water, etc. during some of the sets.
  • Because my bump was nonexistent during the coaching of this class, my bump never warranted any modifications in the moves themselves (i.e. range of motion), but as for my comfort levels, and to make sure I wasn’t cutting off oxygen, I never pushed to the point of exhaustion or breathlessness.Β 

Well, that is what I’ve done throughout the pregnancy as a fitness instructor!

I was grateful for teaching fitness classes while I was super sick at the beginning (and no one knew I was pregnant), because it made me get out of the house, hang out with fun people, and I felt so much better.

And I have to say, I think keeping up with fitness (even just a little bit) has been a really great asset to this pregnancy. It’s not always been super easy or all fun & games to have that responsibility on top of working full-time and growing a baby, but I wouldn’t change a bit of it!

Also, just as another reminder this is what I have done with guidance from my doctor, other very fit (previously pregnant) moms, and some research I found. It is by no means an answer to anyone’s fitness plan for their pregnancy, but it can be an idea of a guide if you were fit/working out before you were pregnant.

Also, my belly didn’t get bigger until late in the 2nd/early 3rd tri, so some of the modifications might need to be started earlier depending on the size of the bump and if it is creating too much pressure, pain, or discomfort. Pregnant ladies-please do NOT continue any exercise if there is pain! I followed that & stopped at any time I wasn’t feeling up to something.

I hope that helps–and answers your questions. Let me know if you have any more!


Well, I am off to work & then teaching BodyPUMP. I think we’re having a picnic after with some of Jared’s family–so that will be fun! :)

Have a GREAT day, my friends! <3

What workouts have YOU been enjoying lately??! What modifications have YOU heard about with fitness & pregnancy??! What modifications did YOU need to make or made in YOUR pregnancy??!Β 

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  1. iiiiiiincredible. that is all. :)
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted…easy macaroni and cheese casseroleMy Profile

  2. You’re a rockstar. Such an inspiration for when I have a baby (100 years from now).

  3. This is great Annette, I love how you listened to your body (and your doctor) to figure out exactly what you could and couldn’t do. So inspirational that you were able to keep teaching throughout the pregnancy!
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted…WIAW: You Know You’re Dining With Bloggers When…My Profile

  4. I don’t think I could teach 2 group fitness classes now & not pregnant! Hah! πŸ˜‰ Seriously though I don’t know how you managed to keep so fit throughout pregnancy! You’re amazing!
    Miranda @ Lovely Wife Lovely Life recently posted…WIAW 10/2- Apple pie and MAWIDGEMy Profile

  5. I loved chatting with you!! I hope you have a great day, you are a workout machine. Loved reading how you made it work for you.
    Sharsti recently posted…A whole lot of random funMy Profile

  6. This is really great information. Thanks so much for sharing! I think it’s so important to listen to your body, especially when you’re pregnant and these changes definitely sound liked they worked well for you.
    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat recently posted…WIAW #15 – Creamy Pumpkin Peanut SoupMy Profile

  7. I love the new haircut! It’s so awesome that you’ve been able to keep up teaching during pregnancy. You’re such an inspiration! :)
    Rebecca @ Soft Serve and Squats recently posted…What-I-Ate WednesdayMy Profile

  8. Great tips!! You are looking FAB as always sista! That froyo looks yum. I wish it was warmer out so that I can get some. Its like 52 and raining. Go figure!
    [email protected] recently posted…One Word Wednesday Volume 7My Profile

  9. Wow you are one fit mama to be!
    Runner Girl Eats recently posted…WTF?! WednesdayMy Profile

  10. Thanks Annette! This was so helpful and I can really relate to everything you said with your BodyPump modifications. I am at the point in the core track where I feel like my bump is getting in the way of some of the exercises!

    You are motivating me to keep working hard :)
    Kelly @ The Fit Skool recently posted…Healthy Chicken Soup!My Profile

  11. Great summary of how you stayed active during pregnancy and super impressive!
    My main pregnancy modifications have been 1) I stopped running and doing any high-impact activities early on because it felt really uncomfortable so I replaced it with a lot of non-impact stuff like spinning, swimming, and walking and 2) I take longer breaks between sets in my strength training workouts otherwise my breathing and heart rate gets too high. I also try to position myself near a fan during workouts so I don’t get overheated. Though I’ve reduced the intensity of my workouts, I’m grateful I’ve been able to keep up the frequency and duration!
    Andrea @ The Fit Scoop recently posted…Too Much of a Good Thing?My Profile

  12. Girl, you’re an inspiration. I LOVE that you’ve been SO active during your pregnancy and I cannot wait for whenever I am pregnant and can make you my go-to-gal!!!! (P.S. – what plugin do you use for the “please confirm you are indeed a human” box below?! I LOVE IT!)
    Electra @ recently posted…October Challenges– #SweatFor5 Minutes a Day & Win!My Profile

  13. Rachel says:

    You are such an inspiration!!! :) Thanks for sharing your experience!

  14. I am going to bookmark this in case I ever need it in the future! You are absolutely glowing girl!! Your haircut is too cute!
    Brittany @ Delights and Delectables recently posted…WIAW: A Full HeartMy Profile

  15. Beautiful haircut- so pretty! Great tips, too. It’s so important to continue to be active but make it work for you and listen to your body!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted…Fall eats this weekMy Profile

  16. Annette, I just stumbled onto your blog for the first time.

    My daughter is two months old now. The most important exercise change I made was to walk as much as I possibly could until the day she was born. I think that helped me recover quite quickly this time.

    Your nephew is adorable :-)

  17. This was great for me to read! My doctor had given me the go-ahead on most of what I did pre-pregnancy, because I am maintaining the same level of fitness, as opposed to adding something new. I’m healthy and on target at all my checkups. I’ve done some modifications in yoga, lift lighter weights (you aren’t kidding about pushups…they got HARD!) and for cardio I pretty much stick to spin classes, elliptical, and walks (running and jumping up and down just doesn’t feel right to me).

    BUT I keep getting comments from others saying, oh are you sure you can do this or that? And I let them know I have clearance from my doctor, and am being conscious of my body’s response, but I’m still met with so much skepticism…so annoying! πŸ˜‰

  18. Great article! You’re a true inspiration. I’m a group fitness instructor too and just found out I’m pregnant. I already have a 15 and 10-year-old so I’ve been through pregnancy twice before but I wasn’t a fit pro back then. I’m almost 40 and I’m fitter now than I’ve ever been. I am keen to teach for as long as I can but just going to listen to my body. The modifications you made sound great. I teach Bodypump, Bodycombat and Bodybalance but have recently started attending my husband’s GRIT sessions for my own workout. Will see how it goes with that. Just gotta get through the nausea and fatigue now! :)

  19. Filippa says:

    I am so relieved to read your post about Zumba!! Most people and doctors were telling me to stop teaching, or that it wasn’t safe. I’ve been teaching long before pregnancy (this is my first!) and I teach the same sort of class- up beat, intense cardio, fast pace. Im 22 weeks, and ive tried to modify my movements but when my class isn’t pushing it I can’t help but push it!! It’s so hard to tone the level down when even most of my regulars are following at my pace. After tonight’s class I was feeling sore and knotted up in my lower abdomen. I probably took it a little too far but still just trying to learn my limits! Great to hear that you didn’t change much until 28 weeks, still gives me hope haha! Thank you for your information and advice:) I feel it’s been most relevant to me out of everything I’ve searched!

  20. Hi Annette! I am an avid Les Mills exerciser. I am 28+ weeks pregnant and have used your page as a great reference guide in continuing my workouts. I can totally relate! My bump is starting to present some challenges so I’m listening to my body and staying safe. Thanks for sharing your experiences and tips.

  21. Thank you soooo much for this blog – for sharing your experiences with fitness during pregnancy! Very comforting reading. I recently became an instructor myself – and almost as recently, found myself pregnant for the first time… So nervous about what I might or might not be able to do after summer break! Being 12 weeks behind you, I’ll definitely follow closely, and hopefully use you as an inspiration (always keeping in mind that every pregnancy is different). Best of luck with everything!

  22. LOVE THIS! Wish I’d found it sooner – I’ve been keeping track of my pregnancy changes during my workouts as I go. I had to stop teaching Zumba at 24-25 weeks because I got super light-headed. Apparently, I wasn’t able to hold back enough to keep myself safe, so I decided to just drop teaching altogether and go to part of others’ classes. I’m 38 weeks and 5 days now, and I just had to stop doing all cardio :( It was way too hard on my back/hips earlier this week. I can still use machines (and on a few exercises, free weights) to lift though! So good to see that there are other fit preggos out there. P.S. Aren’t the For Two Fitness tanks the best?!?

    Angie Kay recently posted…HiatusMy Profile

    • That is awesome you’re keeping up with what you can! And at 38.5 weeks? You go girl! Good luck in the coming weeks, yay!!

      And yes, the For Two Fitness tanks are soooo comfy!
      annette recently posted…Intentional AprilMy Profile

  23. Loving this blog post. I am also a Zumba instructor from Malaysia. 19 weeks now and I am still teaching like usual but has decreased my classes to be just two classes per week. It is so good to know that I am actually quite “normal” to keep teaching fitness classes while pregnant. Although, I must admit I need to catch my breath more now. Also, in Asia it is quite hard to find pregnant instructors who continued teaching while they are pregnant. So, there is not much of a support system or pregnant instructors circle around here.


  1. tanie vps says:

    tanie vps

    Modifications I Made While Teaching Fitness Classes During Pregnancy | Les Mills | Fitness Instructor | Baby Perks | Enjoy Your Healthy Life

  2. […] modifications I made while teaching fitness classes during my first pregnancy […]



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