Celeb Trainer Sara Haley Shares Her Fit Tips For New Moms


Did you know that July through September is the time when most babies are born? This means October is when you’ll see everyone scrambling to drop that baby weight!

I should know — I have several friends who have given birth recently or are ready to pop any day now.

While I know a lot about fitness for the general population, I realized I don’t know that much about pre and post-natal exercise. With many of my friends looking for advice lately, I figured I better find out.

I turned to celebrity trainer and hot mama Sara Haley, an expert in workouts for pregnant women and new moms. Sara created the exercise series Expecting More®, a prenatal program for moms-to-be, and Expecting More®: The 4th Trimester Workout, helping new moms get their pre-baby bods back.

Today, the mother of two is sharing her top tips for exercise, eating right, and feeling great pre and post-pregnancy.

Q&A with Sara Haley


How long should women wait to exercise after giving birth and what are some considerations when starting a post-pregnancy workout routine?

“After having a baby, you MUST wait and get your doctor’s approval before exercising again. Do not go back too early or you will regret it. You’ll want to test yourself for a diastasis recti, which is a separation of the abdominal muscles that occurs in 50%+ of pregnancies.”

Are there any exercises that are off limits?

“In the first few weeks of postnatal recovery (after given approval from your doctor), I suggest that you still avoid intense cardio, jumping, deep lunges (especially side lunges and sumo squats) and crunches.”

What about during pregnancy? At what point should a pregnant woman stop working out and are there exercises she should always avoid?

“LISTEN to your body! Pregnant women can workout at a moderate level for them. So, your exercise choices depend a lot on what you were doing prior to pregnancy. Pregnancy is definitely a time to move your body and be motivated and inspired, however, it is NOT a time to challenge your body and push beyond your limits.

Unless you are at risk of pre-term labor or any other condition where your doctor recommends you not workout, pregnant women can exercise up until delivery.”

What was the hardest thing for you personally during pregnancy and post-pregnancy?

“My pregnancies have been fairly easy, however, the bigger my babies got (meaning, so did I), the less I was able to do physically. Clearly, I’m a physical person, so the hardest thing for me, as it is for many active women, is having to slow down and really listen to my body. I actually find postnatal recovery to be more challenging and humbling for similar reasons.

It’s hard when you are no longer pregnant, but feel pregnant. While you’re in recovery, you still need to modify your movements, even though a baby is no longer inside you. When you’re a natural mover, that’s hard. I like to just move and not think so much about it, but in pregnancy and in post, you have to be so mindful because it’s not just about you anymore. That’s why it was so hard for me to find workouts to do (and ultimately why I created my own) – I wanted something that was safe, yet still motivating and fun to do.”

How do you feel your body changed since giving birth?

“There is more loose skin around my belly from having carried and delivered two boys around 8.5 lbs. My core strength is back and even some tone and muscle, but my skin has been stretched and there is not a whole lot I can do about that. I also feel like I fluctuate more than I used to, but mostly because eating with kids can be more challenging. It’s all dependent on my food choices.

The reality is that this has to do both with babies, and just getting older. That being said, I actually feel more comfortable in my own skin than I probably ever have. Mostly because it doesn’t matter as much to me – having fun with my kids is far more important than looking hot in my skinny jeans.”

What are your favorite exercises for pregnant women? 

“My favorite exercises for pregnant women are ones that make them feel good. For me, that was dancing, but for others it could be running, swimming or strength training. I love pelvic rocks and cat cow moves as well – both are great ways to work the core and help bring comfort to the low back.”

What are your favorite post-pregnancy exercises?

“In post, my favorite exercises are core moves that help you regain your core strength and tone, which is why my postnatal program has three core-specific workouts.”

What dietary recommendations do you make to women looking to lose that baby weight?

“Hydrating with water is key for all post-recovery, but especially when breastfeeding. As moms, we are sometimes so busy that we forget to drink water and dehydration can sometimes cause you to think you’re hungry when really you’re just thirsty. So, drinking a lot of water can help you avoid eating too many empty calories.

I definitely recommend paying attention to what you eat, whether that’s with a mobile app, notebook, or just being mindful. With kids you sometimes forget how much you’re eating (snacking, eating off your kids plates, etc.) and what you’re eating (mac ’n cheese, pizza, etc.) so I always recommend that you try to make conscious choices when it comes to what you put in your body.”

For “4th Trimester moms” with older children, are there any workouts you recommend to do with your kids?

“I actually have quite a few friends with older children who do my workouts with their kids! I also recommend dance parties (no matter what age your kids are), setting up relay races and obstacle courses in your yard, or playing sports.”

You can download Sara’s workouts online or buy her DVD’s to try at home. And even if you’re not a new or soon-to-be mommy, her 4th Trimester Workout is actually great for anyone – I can vouch!

Weigh In: Are you a mom? Did you workout during your pregnancy? Did you have trouble losing the baby weight?


  1. I love this Whitney! I did my pre- and post-natal Pilates certification and (with that new awareness) had a hard time seeing women mistreat their bodies in the name of fitness during pregnancy and post-pregnancy. Sara’s tips sound realistic and effective and I’ll bet your girlfriends will love her workouts too!

    • Whitney English says:

      Thanks girl! That’s great that you have that specialization. There are so many things you need to consider with pregnant woman as a trainer – I’m glad I learned about them!

    • Jennifer, love that you did that. Pilates is one of the best exercises for pre & post. Are you still teaching?

  2. Thanks for this post, Whitney! Such great insight and advice and it’s coming at a perfect time for me! I’ve been walking and doing prenatal yoga through my pregnancy and it makes me feel so good to move, even what I consider to be such a small amount compared to before I was pregnant. Slowing down (AKA not running or beating on my muscles as much) as been hard and oddly enough I didn’t quite think of having to continue that after the baby is born until I read this, but it makes sense. I will definitely be checking out the 4th Trimester Workout once I am cleared to move after this baby comes.
    Liz recently posted…Sautéed Kale, Chicken Sausage and Roasted Butternut Squash Over QuinoaMy Profile

    • Whitney English says:

      That’s awesome that you’ve been able to stick with your workout routine – even in a lesser capacity. I can imagine its hard to slow down when you’re such an active person!

    • Liz, motherhood is funny like that – you gain a whole new set of priorities and perspective on life. Yes, the 4th trimester is def a time to really listen to your body. It will be forever changed for the better. Can’t wait to hear what you think of the workouts.

  3. Great tips and inspiration. I will definitely be keeping these tips in mind next time round! x
    Krissy @ Pretty Wee Things recently posted…Southwestern sweet potato wrapsMy Profile

  4. love this!!!! My daughter just turned one and I still don’t feel like my old self. This made me feel a lot better!

  5. Such a great post Whitney and definitely informed me on many facts I didn’t know, even though I googled a lot while I was pregnant what was safe and what wasn’t. After the 2nd month having her, weight started coming off faster, but running isn’t fun. Of course being back in California the past two weeks hasn’t helped since I eat all my faves like In and Out and Mexican food. 😉 I think listening to your body while you’re pregnant is so important.

    Dale Janee recently posted…Quick Hello from California!My Profile

  6. I love this post! Her videos are so great and diastasis recti is no joke and I am still trying to work on it! It’s crazy because it not only makes you look still pregnant, but definitely affects your back.
    Lindsay recently posted…Beauty: What’s Your ScentMy Profile

    • Whitney English says:

      Wow, I can’t imagine! So glad there are awesome trainers out there like Sara who can help with this. I’ll be turning to her as well in a couple of years!!

    • Thanks Lindsay. Did you do my workouts? How’s your DR doing? For me, it’s all about consistency. If I’m doing the exercises it’s better. If I’m not, it’s like any other injury and starts to suffer. Let me know if I can do anything else to help!
      Sara Haley recently posted…Traveling with Kids & MoreMy Profile

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