I am in no way a doctor or fitness specialist, so please speak with your doctor or OB before beginning any new workout routine. All opinions and views expressed are from my own personal experience. Every person & every pregnancy is unique so please consult with your prenatal specialist about your fitness abilities and limitations.
Halfway through my third pregnancy, I can say there are a few workouts that I’ve really enjoyed time and time again. If you’re expecting, or hoping to in the future, here’s some of my favorites!
This is my absolute favorite workout DVD. I’ve used it with all three pregnancies and have loved it with all three. The set comes with 4 different DVDs, divided by trimester. The fourth DVD is for postpartum fitness. Each trimester has a 40 minute cardio & toning section as well as a 20 minute yoga section. I’m obsessed with the 2nd trimester yoga portion and have done it hundreds of times, not just while pregnant but while in between pregnancies, training for races as well. It’s a great gentle stretch workout that still works the muscles (even more so when you have added weight in your uterus).
Cons: The cardio and toning section is 40 minutes of back and forth cardio and strength training. There isn’t an option to just do cardio or just strength train if you just want to do one or the other.
When I got pregnant with Andrew, my extremely generous friend, Gretta, sent me this DVD (she actually gifted me the Lindsay Brin set too. GENEROUS!). The DVD includes 5 different 10 minute sections that can be combined in any way to create your own personal workout. There are two 10 minute cardio sections, two 10 minute strength training sections and one 10 minute yoga section. I love that you can customize the workouts to create your own depending on how you’re feeling and how much time you have on a given day. I really like the teacher/instructor who leads the two strength sections and the yoga section. I enjoy doing the strength sections on days when the kids and I are going for a short hike, walk or an adventure. Basically days when I’m not overly exerting myself doing other things. I add the yoga section to the end of the strength training since it’s a short 10 minute gentle stretch. It’s not nearly as in depth as Lindsay Brin’s yoga so I don’t tend to do it by itself, where I do the Lindsay Brin one as a total 20 minute workout for a low-impact/rest day.
Cons: I’m not a huge fan of the cardio sections. They’re short, which is great! But they require coordination which I sorely lack. Even in the comfort of my own living room I feel disorganized and don’t truly enjoy it. But I guess I could say that for any at-home cardio workout. They’re just not for me. It also requires quite a bit of room, which in our current house, we also lack.
You don’t need to spend any money to enjoy a nice walk outside or on the treadmill. It’s easy to do anytime, anywhere, even with kids. It’s a great way to get in some fitness and release endorphins without overly pushing yourself. And it can be tailored to how you’re feeling and how much time you have: an hour long walk, a brisk, fast-paced 30 minute walk or even a 10 minute walk around the block makes me feel great and refreshed.
I was really lucky with my first pregnancy that I was able to run through 33 weeks ( I did intervals, alternating between run/walk). With my second pregnancy, I ran through 24 weeks and was then put on limited activity for signs of preterm labor. This pregnancy I’ve approached each run as if it were my last and truly listened to my body. Some days running feels amazing and some days it just doesn’t. So I listen to my body and adjust accordingly (slow down, cut mileage, run/walk, or stop and walk). If you’re able to run through your pregnancy, I find it’s a really nice way to keep a part of the “old” you, if you were a runner too. (Edit: at 27.5 weeks I think my running shoes are hung up this pregnancy. The weight of Kyle just doesn’t feel good during runs and the soreness afterwards definitely doesn’t feel “right”)
Our gym doesn’t have a swimming pool so I bought a 10 visit pass to our local aquatic center. It doesn’t offer child-care, so currently I’m not able to go much at all. But swimming is a wonderful, non-weight bearing exercise that keeps up your cardio and challenges the entire body. It’s also really nice to feel weightless when you’re gaining weight every day.
I really enjoy spinning/cycling classes but canceled my gym membership when I got pregnant this time around. In class settings I tend to push myself and I didn’t want that unnecessary pressure. Our gym is awesome in that it has stationary bikes with pre-programmed classes so you can lead your own cycle class at your own pace. But for the cost of the gym + childcare for 2 kids, it’s just not worth it right now since the weather is so wonderful and when it isn’t, I have at home DVDs to do. But cycling in general is a great non-weight bearing exercise that’s pregnancy friendly (especially if you get a bike that has a real seat as opposed to the tri-seats that go between your legs)
I love Bodypump. And if we still had a gym membership, I’d still be doing it. Talk to the teacher about how to adjust weights/racks while pregnant (for circuits that require lying down, increase one side of your bench so it’s elevated about the other to prevent you from lying flat on your back, etc.). I really enjoyed doing the class while pregnant with Andrew and the extra weight from pregnancy really increased the burn.
I just googled prenatal workouts on YouTube and found a ton! They’re easy to do in the privacy of your own home and most require little to no weights and/or a small ball for Barre-type workouts (I use the boys’ small $1 plastic ball and it works fine). It’s gentle but definitely works your muscles in unexpecting ways. This blog has some great prenatal circuits as well.
Pregnancy in and of itself is a workout. Every day your body is working overtime to create a tiny life! And that’s something to be incredibly proud of. I workout through my pregnancies because it makes me feel good, gives me more energy, provides me with an endorphin release that helps increase my patience as a mama and I honestly think it’s helped with having two easy labors/deliveries and fairly quick recoveries. Each pregnancy, each person is different though. One you might be able to run marathons through while another you may stick to walking or reclining. And that’s totally fine! You do you and do what’s best for yourself and your baby. At the end you’re still a badass for carrying around a tiny human for 9+ months. BE PROUD!