Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Prenatal Fitness

Every pregnant woman is told from the beginning to stay active during pregnancy.  There are so many health benefits to having an active pregnancy: not gaining too much weight, less back pain, potentially easier labor, and easier recovery after birth. I can personally speak to the last benefit - it’s been 4 weeks since giving birth and I am now less than 10 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight.  Obviously, not every woman who has an active pregnancy will lose all the baby weight immediately.  It’s definitely a combination of factors: genetics, diet before, during and after pregnancy, as well as staying active during pregnancy.  There’s nothing you can do about genetics, but there is plenty you can do about diet and exercise. 

While pregnant with Malcolm, I stayed as active as possible, I think I was even more active during this pregnancy than I was with Guinevere.  I danced up until third trimester and then did fitness videos at home when I had the time.  If you are interested in doing prenatal fitness videos at home, here are the ones I did:

*This is not a sponsored post; I just wanted to share the videos that I did as many people have asked about my method to staying fit during pregnancy.  However, I am using affiliate links to Amazon.

Shiva Rea Prenatal Yoga

Shiva Rea is apparently the “go-to” person for pre- and postnatal yoga.  This DVD has three women in various stages of pregnancy all practicing yoga together.  If you are first trimester, you follow Shiva.  If you are second trimester, you follow the woman who is also second trimester.  If you are third trimester, you follow the poor woman who was forced to wear a unitard in her third trimester and looks like she’s about to pop! (I guess “forced” isn’t really the right word – clearly she signed up for appearing in the video and voluntarily wore the unitard.  But I can just imagine the look of disappointment on her face when she showed up on set and the wardrobe department showed her what she would be wearing.)

If you already practice yoga regularly (or pilates or ballet or anything where you already have flexibility and good core strength), I would recommend waiting on this DVD until you are further along in your pregnancy unless you just want a relaxing yoga session.  The first couple times I did it, I found it too easy.  But believe me, by third trimester, suddenly things are way more challenging!

The running time of this DVD is 70 minutes, but you can cut out about 20 minutes of that if you skip the intro and the guided relaxation.  Some people love guided relaxation – I just often didn’t have time for it.

Special equipment needed: chair, yoga strap, block (though you can modify based on what you have available and you don’t need anything special for first trimester poses)

Knocked –Up Fitness Pre-Natal Pilates-Infused Fitness

I received this DVD as part of the swag bag from the Big City Moms Shower.  I was so excited to get a prenatal Pilates DVD!  No offense to my yoga loving friends, but every time I do Pilates, I am reminded how much more I like it than yoga.  I just wish Pilates classes were as cheap and ubiquitous as yoga classes!

Erica Ziel leads this DVD in what looks like her bungalow studio.  Some of the shots are a little awkward because the studio is fairly small, so they have to angle the camera in a weird way.  Due to the weird camera angles, if you are not already familiar with Pilates, it may take a couple times before you figure out the exact right form.

My favorite aspect of this DVD is that she breaks up the workout into 5 different sections and you can pick and choose based on your mood and/or amount of time that you have.  The sections are: 1) Core Warm-Up (this is the only section where you will need the balance ball), 2) Prenatal Fitcamp, 3) Pilates Arms, 4) Pilates Legs and 5) Total Body Pilates.  My favorite workouts were the Core Warm-Up and Total Body Pilates.

The one complaint about this DVD that I have is that she doesn’t really show any modifications based on how far along in the pregnancy you are.  There are a couple exercises that she does that are on her back, which is not good for pregnant women after 4 months.  Also, if you are not already in relatively decent shape, you may find this DVD difficult.  I didn’t get the DVD until I was already in third trimester, so I don’t know how it feels to someone without an extra 25 pounds strapped to their belly, but I am in pretty good shape and I found parts of the workout really hard!

Special equipment needed: exercise ball, set of 1-3 lb dumbells, resistance band (theraband style), chair.

Summer Sanders’ Prenatal Workout

Summer Sanders was an Olympic medalist and now she’s put out a DVD to help other moms stay in shape during pregnancy.  This DVD is a general fitness DVD – you get a little cardio, some strength training, and some stretching.  It’s led by Summer and her personal trainer, Keri Crockett.  They like to banter during the exercises and offer encouragement and tips on proper form.

There are three separate workouts based on which trimester you are in.  They also have a full-length version or express version of each workout, which is nice for those of us strapped for time.  I never did the first trimester workout, so I can’t comment on that one, but I loved the second trimester and third trimester workouts. 

Of all the DVDs that I did during my pregnancy, this one is my favorite!  I always came away from a session feeling like I had actually challenged myself.  I like that the trainer does everything with Summer and helps give corrections.  It almost feels like you are in on a semi-private workout session with a personal trainer. 

Special equipment needed: resistance cord, pillows, chair


  1. Thanks for linking up with us. I love this. My first pregnancy wound up being perfect until I delievered at 26 weeks so this next pregnancy I will pretty much be on bedrest until I deliver. I give props and envy those who can workout throughout their whole pregnancy.

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