Trainer Jillian Michaels shares advice on working out during pregnancy, and why it's beneficial in the long run

By Julie Mazziotta
May 18, 2018 12:39 PM

Jillian Michaels is here to settle the debate on working out while pregnant once and for all.

The trainer, whose fiancée, Heidi Rhoades, gave birth to their second child in 2012, says it’s perfectly safe to workout during pregnancy with the approval of a doctor, and some modifications.

Michaels says pregnant women should alter their workouts by trimester.

“The first trimester, [you need to modify] very little. The second trimester, moderately, and the third trimester, pretty significantly,” she explains on PEOPLE TV. “But, the golden rule nowadays is that you want to match your level of fitness, your intensity level, of where you were at before the baby. It’s definitely not time to say, ‘I’m going to take up running!’ No. If you weren’t running before, don’t take up running now. If you were running before, you’ll be fine to keep running.”

And, Michaels says, working out during pregnancy makes women stronger after they give birth.

“Something really cool about pregnancy fitness, is that we’ve learned that women who train while pregnant, actually come back as better athletes,” she says. “There have been a number of studies on it, and there are theories that the hormones shift while you’re training, and taking advantage of them can make you significantly more fit, and those results last, and plus, the baby is lending you embryonic stem cells, so it’s kind of like a fountain of youth, if you treat your pregnancy in a healthy way — you workout and eat clean.”

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But, she warns, women shouldn’t feel like they have to match the headline-making workouts of other pregnant women.

“You’ve got women that are running across the finish line of a marathon, and then they’re going to the delivery room. I just think that, it’s not the time. Take it a little easier,” Michaels says.

The one thing she would recommend to any woman is building up your core and back strength before the baby comes.

“You really just want to maintain good core strength and good postural alignment, because you’re going to be carrying a baby,” Michaels says. “You want to prepare for baby and carrying baby so you want to work on upper back and core strength.”