Pre & postnatal fitness webchat. Monday 16th May 12-1pm

Want to get your body ready for birth or need to rid your post baby belly? Fitness expert, Amanda Hargreaves is here to help.

A fitness expert for many years, Amanda specialises in exercise for pregnant women.

Join us here, between 12-1pm on Monday 16th May.

Don't worry if you can't make the chat then, post your question now and Amanda will endevour to answer as many questions on the day as possible.


  • Hi Amanda, I have a question about post pregnancy running. My daughter is 26 weeks. I exercised throughout my pregnancy until 30 weeks (gym and body pump) and before pregnancy was running 5x a week. Since having my daughter I have had a persisting reoccurring problem with an old knee injury (torn cartilidge) what can I do to recover the strength? I am deserate to shift the baby bludge and get fit again! Thank you!
  • I had LO in September last year. Only put on a stone and a half during pregnancy and very luckily quickly got back into my pre-pregnancy clothing. I am now back to my pre-pregancy weight but since stopping breast feeding about 6 weeks ago I feel bigger despite not putting on any weight especially around my lower stomach and hips. Just wondering what is the best way of toning stomach/hips area?

    Thanks x
  • Afternoon everyone,

    My name is Amanda Hargreaves and I am a leading pre and post natal fitness expert with over ten years experience.

    As a mother to my ten year old daughter, I am only too aware of the issues and uncertainties surrounding exercising whilst pregnant. After training through my own pregnancy and securing strong qualifications and experience, I was approached by many women who wanted to train, but were concerned as to what they could do and to what extent. With 100% success rate, I wanted to take my expertise to a wider audience and help many more pregnant women stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, safe throughout. It was this realisation that inspired me to produce and design 'Pregercise', my pre and post natal fitness DVD.

    I will be online for the next hour or so and I look forward to hearing from you and answering your questions.
  • Dear Socks thank you for your question.

    Firstly I would like to say WOW! To how much you trained through your pregnancy,I would also like to say that is very rare.

    I am very sorry to hear about your knee problem, what I normally recommend is for you to see a physio, ice the knee three times a day for only ten minutes at a time and an MRI (very important). Once you have done all that then I can recommend you the best rehab exercises to strengthen the knee so do drop me a line on my website. Leg extensions are a great rehab exercise for stregnthening the muscles around the knee.

    I recommend that for now you avoid all weight-bearing and high intensity exercises, but if you do want to remain active then walking on an incline (on a treadmill) is a great way to keep you fit whilst building your strength. Please avoid lunges!

    Good luck with this and I hope you make a full and speedy recovery. You know where I am if you have any further questions.
  • Hi

    My daughter is 20 weeks old, I had a c section with her and now have a 'mummy apron' of loose skin :cry: It's really depressing me, especially as my wedding is next year. Is there anything that will get rid of this??

    Just to add, I put on 5 stone whilst pregnant and didn't do much exercise during my pregnancy so I'm not very fit! I've lost all the weight I put on but it's through no real effort on my part, is this skin just due to the rapid weight gain/loss and something I just have to accept?

    I don't have very much time to myself to exercise so apart from walking with the pram I don't get working out,I think I need a miracle rather than advise!! :?
  • Hi Amanda

    I'm 19 weeks pregnant. Before I conceived I exercised fairly regularly by going to the gym and doing Zumba (which I loved). Since I've got pregnant I have been so ill with morning sickness I had to stop exercising altogether as I just couldn't face it, I could just about get out of bed. The sickness has almost passed but it hasn't taken long for me to feel really unfit again. I'm not sure I could jump back into the gym or doing a whole class as I am working full time with a long comute and getting so tired. Is there anything you can suggest I do to get back into it, as I have a feeling that feeling so sluggish now, is actually contributing to my being sick and tired.

  • Hello Blue_dime, thank you for your question on toning your stomach/hips.

    There is an easy explanation for why you're feeling like this, please don't panic - it's normal. When you are breastfeeding you burn up to 500 calories a day and when you were breastfeeding you probably felt your stomach muscles working. Having now stopped, I'm afraid it's now time to start exercising again.

    To tone your stomach and hips you don't have to hit the gym, just follow these simples exercises:

    1. Walking is a great form of exercise because it works the whole body and it's easy on the muscles and joints. I like to encourage women to take their babies out for a walk in the pram as it will give you an even harder workout.

    2. To tone your stomach I recommend a mixture of crunches, obliques and reverse crunches (my DVD shows you all the relevant abdominal exercises if you need further guidance and wish to have something to follow)

    3. For your hips, cardio is the best way to burn the calories. once you are down to your ideal weight then you can look at strength exercises to tone - e.g squats and superwomen. Prima's May issue included some excellent workout tips which would be perfect for what you are looking for (you can find these on this website too:

    Good luck and be patient because you will get there.
  • Hi Again

    What is your advice on abdominal exercises while you are pregnant? I'm a bit worried that mine were a little on the wobbly side before I got pregnant and so am now worried that they should be stronger for labour and getting back to normal afterwards. Is there anything safe you can do in preparation for birth?

  • Hi Elisa7777, thank you for your question.

    Please don't feel that you're alone. This is a common problem, but with the right eating plan alongside an exercise regime you can get you the results that you are looking for.

    It's great that you're walking with the pram, do keep this up. If you can, to maximise the effect, make sure your walking briskly for between 45 minutes and an hour a day.

    If you can't make it to the gym, there are a number of exercise DVDs that you can do at home. For example, my DVD (Pregercise) has some simple ten minute exercises that incorporate strength and toning and can be done at home to fit in around your baby's schedule.

    Nutrition is just as important to back up the exercise so I am happy to give you advice so if you would like to post me your 7-day eating plan I will review it and get back to you.

    Good luck and I'm here if you need any further advice.
  • Hi,

    I've been working out for just over a year since having my son, who's now 6 months.

    My problem is that, although I eat healthily and exercise 30 mins a day (a combination of yoga, weights and cardio), as well as using a Slendertone Flex Max belt to work my abs, I still have a 'mummy tummy' when I sit down, and am having serious trouble burning the excess fat from my hips. I can get in most of my pre-pregnancy clothes, and I weigh less now than when I got pregnant, but I'm really unhappy with my hips. I have also found that my thighs are bigger than they used to be. Is there any way of targeting my thighs, hips and tum to burn the fat away? My muscle tone isn't bad as I do resistance training, but I can't seem to shift the layer of fat!!!

    I'm very aware that matters will only get worse as I age, and if I were to have another baby I'm petrified of 'letting myself go' and never being able to return to normal. I don't want to look back and think my babies ruined my body! :lol:

  • Hi Huniibump, thanks for your question.

    Firstly, well done for losing the weight you gained whilst pregnant.

    You don't need a miracle, but I'm not going to tell you that it's going to happen overnight. You need to perform lots of cardio like running, walking on an incline, cycling or swimming, but the main thing is resistance training. This is the only form of exercise that will tone you up.

    By this, I mean exercises with weights. For example, you can do squats which will tone the thighs, bottom and abdominals, superwomen will exercise the whole back and abdominals, stomach crunches, obliques and reverse crunches are vital for toning all areas around the stomach and sides. Start with one set of ten repetitions for each building to 3 sets of 15 repetitions.

    Just be patient, I have seen this before, it's not going to be easy and it is going to take time, but you can get there.

    Good luck and let me know how you get on.
  • Hi Amanda - hope I'm not too late to join in.

    I'm trying for my second baby and I'd like some tips on how to keep from stacking on the weight whilst pregnant. I did rather us being pregnant as an excuse last time to eat tons of CHEESE! imageops:

    Also, I didn't brestfeed last time past 6 weeks, and that plus lots of mummy cakes and biscuits may have led to me taking a year to lose the weight. How can I help to resist temptation next time?

    Thank you image
  • Hi Homebunny_Uk, congratulations on your pregnancy and thank you for your questions.

    I have come across this time and time again and I suffered with terrible morning sickness during my own pregnancy. I'm glad you are feeling better, now you need to keep your energy levels up.

    We know time is an issue, but exercise gives you energy and will help you get through your day. I put together a DVD (Pregercise) based on my experiences during pregnancy which provides short 10 minute workouts that you can carry out that not only provide you strong levels of fitness, but will fit around your day. One thing to note is that your exercise regime will need to change throughout the different trimesters of your pregnancy which is something that my DVD covers.

    If you can make time (perhaps on weekends) to walk or swim, this will provide you with a safe and easy full body workout.

    With regards to your abdominals, I don't advocate performing abdominal exercises whilst pregnant, but there are many exercises that naturally incorporate working your abdominals safely that you can do.

    Try not to focus too much on trying to keep your abdominal muscles in tact throughout the pregnancy, this is something that you can tackle after giving birth.

    Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy and I'd love to know when your baby is born!
  • Hi EmCB, thank you for your question.

    Firstly, congratulations on the birth of your son and for maintaining your fitness regime.

    It's all about doing the right kind of cardio and the right kind of resistance training. I would recommend 30-40 minutes of interval training as this is high intensity and will help you burn the most calories as well as tone up. On top of this, you need to up the reps on your resistance training. Every exercise that you do, you need to perform four sets of 25 reps. By combining these, you should see the results you are looking for.

    Stick with it and I'd be really interested to see how you're progressing.
  • Thank you Amanda,

    If I'm upping my sets to four lots of 25, do I need to reduce the weight I'm using? I'm lifting close to my max and doing 3 sets of 12 at the mo.
  • Hi southlundon, thanks for your question.

    The important thing here is discipline and everything in moderation. If you are trying for a baby, it is very important that you get the right nutrients.

    I never tell people to stop eating treats (because then you want it more!). An option is having one treat day a week where you can eat what you want - all other days you should stick to a healthy and balanced eating plan and, if you can, do between 10 and 30 minutes of exercise a day as this will also make a difference and you won't feel so guilty when eating your treats! Also remember not to stop exercising once you fall pregnant, there are simple and easy routines that you can follow (such as my Pregercise DVD) that will ensure you stay healthy throughout.

    Remember, you don't need to up your calories and eat for two when pregnant, you just have to be conscious of what you are putting into your body (be careful of too much cheese).

    Good luck and I hope you conceive soon!
  • Hi Elisa7777, thanks for your response - this is a really helpful insight into your daily eating routine.

    Straight away I can see certain patterns that need to be addressed which will help you to lose weight.

    I notice that there are a lot of carbs in your daily diet. I'm not suggesting that you cut these out completely, as that would be irresponsible, but by following the below example of a good daily eating plan you should see a difference, but remember to mix it up otherwise you will get bored.


    Porridge (gf) with soya milk or water, for more flavour try some low fat yoghurt and berries on top

    Mid Morning Snack

    One piece of fruit (please vary daily)

    Lunch (In order to lose weight, I recommend this as your main meal of the day)

    Brown rice with salmon


    Chicken or steak with salad or vegetables

    If you have a sweet tooth and would like some form of desert, a couple of pieces of dark chocolate are a good snack

    N.B - if you really feel like you need a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack, another option is a handful of nuts or seeds

    If you need any further advice on more specific eating plans or exercise regimes do get in touch on my website.

    I hope this helps.
  • Hi EmCB,

    Yes - you should definitely lower the weight when you up your reps.

    If the exercise still feels easy after 25 reps, you need to slowly increase the weight until you get to the point close to your maximum.

    I hope that helps.
  • Hi everyone,

    Thank you so much for all your questions. I really enjoyed answering them and hope that I have helped.

    I am always available on my website so if you have any further questions do get in touch via:

    If anyone is looking for a pre and post natal fitness workout then you can purchase my DVD, Pregercise, either from my website or via

    Best wishes,

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