Pippa Middleton is expecting her first child with husband James Matthews, and she’s getting her pregnancy fitness tips from new mom Serena Williams. In a column for a monthly British publication, Middleton reveals how the tennis legend is inspiring her to stay in shape while offering her own tips to other expectant moms.
“I’ve been a tennis fan since childhood, as a player and spectator, and have been keen to continue playing safely throughout my pregnancy,” the 34-year-old wrote in a magazine published by U.K. supermarket chain Waitrose.
“As with most sports during those months, tennis is not one to take up if you didn’t play regularly before, but if you’re a seasoned player and take care, it’s possible to play right up until the third trimester.”
Middleton points to Williams as proof that it is totally safe to play the sport throughout most of pregnancy. “She famously proved that women can play a high level of tennis from two months (when she won the 2017 Australian Open) up to eight months. Few of us can relate to this elite excellence, but if you’re a healthy, well-trained player with an uncomplicated pregnancy, there’s no reason why you can’t continue a good level of tennis,” Middleton wrote.
Fitness expert and trainer Ramona Braganza, who worked with both Jessica Alba and Halle Berry during their first pregnancies, supports Middleton’s fitness advice, explaining that it wasn’t hard for Alba and Berry to manage their workouts during the first and second trimesters.
However, they did modify their workouts dramatically in the final stage of pregnancy. “It really hit them during the third trimester, when fatigue due to the physiological changes, increased blood supply and other hormonal changes, along with a growing baby, kicked in,” Braganza told LIVESTRONG.COM. But they didn’t stop exercising altogether, instead turning to lower-impact options like swimming, walking and yoga.
Exercising during pregnancy can be good for both the mother and the baby, something Middleton made sure to point out. “Being a moderate-intensity sport, continuing to play has a positive influence and can lead to improved placental growth and good weight management, while strengthening heart and blood vessels, overall body strength and reducing the risk of gestational diabetes,” she wrote.
Plus, Middleton mentions that she is a little more careful with her game because of her pregnancy. She keeps both feet on the ground when hitting strokes “to ensure good pelvic balance” and avoids “sharp turns and quick movements,” especially as she gets closer to her due date. She also adds that it’s important to take “other pregnancy precautions,” as with most sports, which include avoiding overheating and staying properly hydrated.
Braganza is totally on board with Middleton’s tennis regimen — as long as she makes sure to take it a little easier than Williams did. Because, let’s face it: There is only one Serena Williams. “However, as she enters the third trimester, I would recommend giving up playing tennis to be safe,” she added. “Most exercises that challenge balance during third trimester would be inadvisable.”
And if Middleton wants to keep following in Williams’ footsteps after she gives birth, she has some pretty big shoes to fill. Just five months after delivering her daughter, Alexis Olympia, the tennis champ completed her first Spartan race with husband Alexis Ohanian. Like we said before: superhuman goddess.