9 Questions: Celebrity Trainer Andrea “L.A.” Thoma Gustin on Her Difficult Pregnancy

Andrea "L.A." Thoma Gustin

Taylor McKay Smith

In honor of the nine months of pregnancy, we are asking pregnant people nine questions about their journey to parenthood. This is an inside look at Andrea “L.A.” Thoma Gustin’s pregnancy experience. 

“It’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to endure,” says Andrea “L.A.” (for Little Angel) Thoma Gustin, PhD, 33. The California-based physical therapist is referring to hyperemesis gravidarum, which causes severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. She experienced this during her first trimester of pregnancy. (At press time, she was 9 months pregnant.)

The COVID-19 pandemic threw her and her husband Grant Gustin for another curveball. Gustin, an actor known for "Glee" and "The Flash," needed to film in Vancouver. Due to Canadian travel restrictions, this means the couple has been living 1,200 miles from their home in Los Angeles since September 2021. But isolation from friends and family hasn't gotten in the way of their excitement about having a baby.  

"I’ve wanted to be a mom for so long," says Thoma Gustin, who is best known as a celebrity trainer and founder of the fitness app Dare to Be Active. Motherhood is the role she has always aspired to fill.

Thoma Gustin has been known to keep her 777K Instagram followers abreast of her star-studded home workouts and three-pup squad. In late August, she used her platform to announce the arrival of her daughter Juniper Grace Louise:

Weeks before she gave birth, she spoke to Verywell Family about how she coped with sickness and separation, how her fitness and diet routine changed during her pregnancy, and how she felt about becoming a family of three.

Andrea "L.A." Thoma Gustin

Taylor McKay Smith

Question 1

Verywell Family: What was your road to pregnancy like?

Andrea L.A. Thoma Gustin: It took Grant and me over a year to get pregnant. In the course of beginning intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatments, my doctors discovered some uterine polyps [non-cancerous growths] that required removal. During my surgery, they found a heart-shaped uterine septum [an extra wedge of tissue], which they thought could have been prohibiting the egg from attaching to the uterine wall and implanting. 

I felt hormone-d out after the IUI treatments and surgery recovery. My moods are typically pretty steady, but I found myself having very high highs and low lows with hormonal cries. Although Grant thought it was funny and endearing to see a different side of me, he really stepped up to support me. 

Question 2

VW: You’ve spoken out about having hyperemesis gravidarum, or severe nausea and vomiting, during pregnancy. How was that experience?

L.A.: After having five knee surgeries, I feel like I am mentally tough and know how to handle physical challenges. But hyperemesis gravidarum has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure. 

After having five knee surgeries, I feel like I am mentally tough and know how to handle physical challenges. But hyperemesis gravidarum has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure.

You go from feeling fine and excited to be pregnant to puking six, seven, eight, nine, sometimes 10 times a day. At first, I thought it was normal. But when I got to the point that I couldn’t keep anything down—even liquids—I called my doctor. 

I was put on a medication, which reduced but didn’t eliminate the vomiting. And I began sipping Gatorade every five minutes—doctor’s orders to avoid dehydration. It was not until midway through my second trimester that the puking finally stopped. After that, I was able to return to my regular diet and start exercising again.

Given what I have been through, I feel like I am generally prepared for childbirth. I have done a lot of preparation, including labor-prep stretches and pelvic floor relaxation exercises. I have a natural birth plan, but I am open to whatever is best for the baby and my health.

Question 3

VW: What has your fitness and diet routine been like during pregnancy? 

L.A.: After feeling sick and being bed-bound for so long, I lost a ton of weight. I had this idea of what my pregnancy would be like, that I'd be super-fit. But I was the most de-conditioned I'd ever been in my life.

When I started feeling better, I jumped right back into my old routine of weight training, plyometrics, and interval training three to four times a week. I also took our dogs on long walks. I tend to push myself pretty hard since, as a physical therapist, I know how to listen to my body. Sometimes I just watch my own fitness videos, so I do not have to think about what to do. 

I did have one setback: I suffered from sharp pubic pain known as lightning crotch or Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction, which made it difficult to walk.

As for eating, I was so relieved to keep my regular diet down that I haven’t changed it at all—no cravings. Typically, I have two eggs and avocado with sourdough bread at breakfast. For lunch, I like to have a big salad with tons of veggies and some protein. I am also a big snacker. I love to make a snack plate with cheese, crackers, pickles, and fruit. 

We will usually have some sort of protein, vegetable, and starch for dinner. Grant got really good at making salmon, green beans, and rice when I was sick. I’m more of a dessert person than he is, so I will usually have some sort of ice cream, too. 

Question 4

VW: In what ways has your pregnancy been different than how you had imagined it because of COVID-19? 

L.A.: The biggest difference was that I was not able to see family. With COVID-19, we have been stuck in Vancouver. Our closest friends and my family live in Ohio, North Carolina, and California. My sister and I had overlapping pregnancies so there have been lots of FaceTime calls. 

When I was really sick, Grant was the only one here to take care of me. It was hard for both of us, especially when he went back to work and I was by myself. But I have had a lot of girlfriends go through pandemic pregnancies. They have 1-year-olds who have not yet met their grandparents, so I feel lucky to be on the tail end of it.

Ultimately, we decided to take a break from fertility treatments, but never really stopped trying to get pregnant naturally. Two weeks before an appointment we made with a Canadian fertility specialist, I woke up feeling off and took a pregnancy test. Grant was dead asleep and confused when I woke him crying to tell him I was pregnant. It was very emotional for us both.  

Question 5

 VW: What is the cutest thing your husband has done to support you during your pregnancy?

L.A.: There was one time I was feeling emotional out of nowhere, and I thought Grant was making fun of me. Although he definitely was not, the next day, he got me all these flowers and told me how beautiful I was. It was really cute. He has been a rock this entire pregnancy!

Grant also sings to the baby almost every night—I love it! He has a little baby playlist he cycles through.

Grant also sings to the baby almost every night—I love it! He has a little baby playlist he cycles through. I want him to keep it up when the baby is born, especially since he’ll have to go back to filming in August. Any time he gets with the baby will be really important. 

Andrea "L.A." Thoma Gustin

Taylor McKay Smith

Question 6

VW: Your mom is a first-generation Malaysian. How are you feeling about bringing a biracial child into the world at this time? What cultural traditions or considerations, if any, are you planning around your birth and child-rearing?

L.A.: The current climate has definitely made us think about my upbringing. I’m very proud of my mom’s Malaysian heritage—Grant and I had a tribal ceremony the year before we got married.

He's always been interested in that side of my family, so it's a natural part of our lives we're not going to have to think too much about.

There are lots of postpartum traditions, including one that calls for cutting your baby’s hair at 40 days old. We are definitely planning to do that.

Question 7

VW: How are you feeling about raising a child in the spotlight? What boundaries, if any, are you planning to construct to protect your child?

L.A.: We are obviously not hiding the fact that we are having a baby, but we are planning to keep the baby’s identity pretty private. We will cover their face in photos as we feel strongly that they should have the right to remain private and decide whether they want to become a public persona. 

Question 8

VW: It does not look like you've skipped a beat on publishing social media posts throughout your pregnancy. What are your plans for maternity leave?

L.A.: I am not planning on going offline completely, but I am going to try to play it by ear and not put any pressure on myself. I have a team of people who are going to take on the brunt of my ongoing projects. All of my sponsored posts are one-offs, so it’s not like I have consistent things I need to keep up with.

I have wanted to be a mom for so long that I am excited about it all.

Question 9

VW: Which part of parenthood are you most looking forward to and why?

L.A.: I am most excited to meet this human that is equal parts me and Grant. I cannot wait to see what they are going to be like, look like, and do in life. I have wanted to be a mom for so long that I am excited about it all.

Was this page helpful?