The Best Prenatal Exercise and Workout DVDs

The Best Prenatal Workout DVDs | CorporetteMomsWhile pregnancy is not a time to obsess over your figure, prenatal exercise is great for both you and your baby.  In my humble opinion, you don’t need to get too fancy with your pregnancy workouts — walking for 30-60 minutes a day is a great way to get exercise (wearing proper shoes and sun protection like a hat and maternity-friendly sunscreen, of course!); near the end you may want to swim.  (You may be that rockstar who can run up to week 38 — if so, good for you!)  For me personally, running was out of the question early on because breathlessness was one of my first pregnancy symptoms, and many of my favorite aerobics videos didn’t seem best for every stage of pregnancy. (You can do them up to a point, but the American Pregnancy Association guidelines caution you to be wary of step aerobics or other exercises that challenge your balance, and in general avoid lying on your back for long periods of time.)  In my first pregnancy my solution was to get a ton of pregnancy DVDs, so I thought I’d give my $.02 on them.

  • The Perfect Pregnancy Workout Vol. 1. By far, this was my favorite video. Not only is Karyne a huge inspiration (the former Cirque du Soleil athlete is 30 weeks pregnant and looks amazingly fit and healthy) but the workout is a solid toning workout. I highly recommend.  (I did not try Volume 2 — yoga — but I did get Volume 3, on “the ancient art of belly dancing for labor”.  I don’t know how much it helped my labor pains, but it was a fun distraction. )
  • 10 Minute Solution: Prenatal Pilates I was also a big fan of this one. While it has Pilates in the name, each 10-minute segment emphasizes a different muscle group. The programmable DVD allows you to create different custom workouts, which is also nice. Finally, the instructor (Lizbeth Garcia), while not my favorite, doesn’t offend.
  • Pregnancy 3-Pack with Bonus Core Recovery, by Lindsay Brin This was the only new one that I got for my second pregnancy (I think I found it through a sale at Baby Steals) and, while I still preferred the top two DVDs when I wanted to do a DVD, I liked that these Brin DVDs were very customizable (you could program it to do cardio, toning, stretching, or all three) and were targeted for each trimester.  Brin herself seemed like a knowledgeable and easy to follow instructor.
  • Suzanne Bowen’s Long and Lean Prenatal Workout. I only did this yoga video a few times because I attended a yoga class, but it seemed like a solid workout — much more toning and less stretching/posing than I normally think of as yoga. I did find that this video was a bit too intense for my final month of pregnancy, though.
  • Denise Austin: Fit & Firm Pregnancy. This one is kind of lame, to be honest. (But: I’m not a huge Austin fan to begin with.) The cardio is so, so simple, but it might work for you in those last, really uncomfortable weeks of pregnancy. I will also admit that this is the first workout video I tried to do postpartum — I thought it would be the gentlest. The DVD also comes with two 20-minute toning sessions (one for your second and your third trimester) — they’re not bad, but they’re nothing to write home about.

Readers, what is your plan of attack for exercise during this pregnancy? If this is your second child, what was your exercise experience like during your first pregnancy? 

Choosing an OB/GYN

interview QsChoosing an obstetrician can be an important part of your pregnancy journey — any number of reasons can affect your decision to find a new one.  (For example: your current gynecologist could be inconveniently located for a lot of appointments, you don’t like the hospital at which your regular OB/GYN has privileges, or you begin to suspect that you and your OB are on different pages regarding important labor/birth issues.)  One of my girlfriends switched OBs halfway through her pregnancy, and had a long list of “interview” questions for the OBs she considered — I think it’s an amazing roundup of questions to discuss with your current or prospective OB.

OB Questions

  1. How many births do you typically attend in a month?
  2. Do you have a limit on how many patients you’’ll accept that are due in the same month?
  3. What is your general philosophy on pregnancy care and birth?
  4. What do you see as your role as a physician in our baby’’s birth?
  5. When do you like patients to go to the hospital after going into labor?
  6. Will you be there when I check in?  If not, when do you come/who will be there?
  7. Do you stay at the hospital throughout a patient’’s labor?
  8. Do you suggest any drug free measures to help deal with labor pain?
  9. How many of your patients go without medical pain relief?
  10. Do you allow intermittent fetal monitoring?
  11. Do you or the hospital require any other interventions routinely?
  12. Can I walk around during labor?  Eat?  Drink?
  13. Can I labor in any position I find comfortable and effective?
  14. Can I push the baby out in any position I find comfortable and effective?
  15. What is your c-section rate?  What percentage of your patients have episiotomies?
  16. Under what circumstances would you perform an episiotomy?
  17. What percentage of your patients have a forceps or vacuum assisted delivery?
  18. How do you feel about inducing labor?  Slow to progress?  1 cm an hour?
  19. Group B strep — how do you handle?

Hospital Questions

20. Will I be separated from our baby after birth?  When?  How long?
21. Can the baby stay in the same room as me?
22. Can my husband stay overnight with me?
23. Breastfeeding support?
24. What is the postpartum ward like? How many times will I see you?
25. What will my experience be like if I have a natural delivery? What if I have a C-section?

Office Questions

26. How often would I see you vs. Dr. ____?
27. What happens if you aren’t available to attend the birth?  How often does this happen?  Who covers for you, and can you tell me about him or her?
28. How long is the average wait in your office?
29. What is the average length of a prenatal appointment?  What do you cover?
30. Can I contact you with questions between appointments? What if I have questions after hours or on the weekend?

(For my $.02: You can only plan so much here!  I loved my first OB/GYN and really felt like we were on the same page and, after so many appointments, that she was a close friend — and we discussed many of these issues before I went into labor.  So I was a bit dismayed when I didn’t see her at all for the three days I was in the hospital — or anyone in her practice, not even after I called her office to complain that we were falling through the cracks because I didn’t “belong” to any of the doctors on shift.  The reasons for this were never explained to me, and I haven’t spoken to her since she told me to head into the hospital — unless you count the four page letter I wrote to the hospital and her office to complain about my birth experience.  But: we’ll get there later when I share what I learned from my first birth experience. The one-line version: I got a healthy baby out of it, and even though my experience was a bit unusual, it could have been a lot worse.)

Readers, what questions have you asked your OB/GYN?  For those of you who’ve been through this before, which are the most important questions?  What did you, or will you, base your decision on?

Pictured: style-photography.de/Shutterstock.

Open Thread May 9, 2014

Pictured above: Japanese Weekend Color Block Dress, was $100, now $40 at Gilt / Theory, Maternity Max Pants, available exclusively at ShopBop for $255 /  Kenneth Jay Lane Gold-plated necklace, $90 at Net-a-Porter / Storksak  ‘Olivia’ Nylon Baby Bag, $198 at Nordstrom / Taryn Rose Bryan flats, $199 at Zappos

Above, some of recommendations for maternity style and beyond!  As explained in our free eBook, A Guide to Dressing Professionally While Pregnant, statement necklaces are a great way to distract from an ample bosom (and extend a basic wardrobe), and comfortable, supportive shoes are a must, like these cute ballet flats with arch support (available in five colors!).  Also, as noted in the eBook: you may want to hold off on buying a fancy diaper bag until the kiddo arrives — but this Storksak baby bag has a ton of positive reviews.   Get the eBook for free by signing up for our newsletter!

Please feel free to use this post as an Open Thread — if anything’s on your mind (mom-related or otherwise), chat about it here!

Weekly News Update for May 9, 2014

Working Mothers Stats | CorporetteSome of the articles of interest to working mothers that we’ve seen around the web recently…

  • The Wall Street Journal’s At Work blog takes a look at a new report on working mothers that Ancestry.com compiled from U.S. Census data. One tidbit: in 1860, 7.5% of mothers in the U.S. worked outside of the home.
  • The Miami Herald shares suggestions from working moms on helpful apps they use to save time and make day-to-day  life a little bit easier.
  • University of London researchers have discovered that “baby brain” may exist. (MAY exist? Have these researchers been pregnant?), says the Telegraph.
  • And speaking of baby brain… how about “MOM brain”? Hello Ladies looks at a new findings from researchers in Israel about “invisible tasks.”
  • Hellobee suggests several toys that help preschoolers learn and develop without any workbooks or flashcards.
  • PopSugar Smart Living rounds up some Mother’s Day freebies and deals — from Amazon to Shutterfly to Starbucks.

Make sure to check out this week’s news update over at Corporette!

On Corporette Recently…

Open Thread

Pictured above:
Maternity black dress, $39, at Dorothy Perkins /  Helmut Lang Voltage draped Micro Modal cardigan, $140 / VIONIC with Orthaheel Technology Milan Casual Flat, $45 (was $129) / Tasha ‘Owl’ Infinity Scarf, $28, Nordstrom / Collection XIIX Packable Fedora, $24 (7 colors available)

Above, some of our first weekly recommendations for maternity style!  As explained in our eBook, A Guide to Dressing Professionally While Pregnant, comfortable, supportive shoes are a must, as is sun protection like hats — and a great way to get more bang for your buck is to buy non-maternity items like the Helmut Lang cardigan or the infinity scarf (which will do double duty as a nursing cover if you choose to nurse).  Get the book for free by signing up for our newsletter!

Weekly News Update

Rewarding Kids to Eat Healthy? | CorporetteMomsSome of the articles of interest to working mothers that we’ve seen around the web recently…

  • Raise Healthy Eaters takes a look at rewarding kids for healthy eating habits — good idea or bad idea? How do you get your kids to eat vegetables and other not-always-popular foods?
  • Lifehacker explains several things moms-to-be should know about breastfeeding.
  • Homemaker, housewife, stay-at-home mom? Slate’s DoubleX blog wonders what we should call mothers who don’t work outside the home.
  • The New York Times’ Motherlode blog delves into the issue of putting your babysitter/nanny on the books.
  • Working Moms Against Guilt discusses what the term “work-life balance” really means.
  • Alpha Mom answers a reader’s question about a potential in-law babysitting arrangement. If you’re pregnant, are you including family members in your childcare plan?

Make sure to check out this week’s news update over at Corporette!

On Corporette Recently…

  • On the hunt for a great sheath dress? We’ve rounded up some prime picks.
  • We talked about ways to dress professionally in hot weather.
  • Readers compared notes on handling finances in their relationships.
  • We also had a lively discussion about dealing with an offensive comment from a client.

Pictured: Healthy homemade school lunches, originally uploaded to Flickr by Jennifer Chait