Though sometimes it’s the last thing you feel like doing when you’re pregnant, being active during pregnancy benefits both you and your future baby, so we’ve rounded up several reader favorites — as well as Kat’s recs — for the best prenatal exercise programs.
What was your favorite type of exercise when you were pregnant? Do you have any prenatal (or postnatal) workouts to recommend? If you just did “my usual workout” — what’s your usual workout?
Note: Please talk to your doctor before trying any of these workouts! Here’s a handy link for pregnancy exercise guidelines from the American Pregnancy Association.
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FYI, these were some of Kat’s favorite prenatal exercise DVDs and books — they’re all still available! (There’s some overlap with the readers’ favorites we’re rounding up today.) In the past, we’ve also also talked about the best free YouTube workouts, as well as the best video game workouts for kids.
Reader Favorites: The Best Prenatal Exercise Programs
Body By Trimester
This program includes nine workouts, three on each of the three trimester DVDs. Each one offers two 30-minute interval training workouts, as well as a 15-minute express workout, all of which require dumbbells and a stability ball. They focus on the most important muscles during pregnancy and especially concentrate on on the pelvic floor and abs. Reviewers say that it’s challenging but offers modifications; the trainer, Joy Southworth, is very energetic; and it can help with back pain.
Each DVD has a separate section on abdominal toning as well as advice on how to check for diastasis recti, and the third DVD provides specific exercises for labor.
Summer Sanders’ Prenatal Workout
This series is also broken into three parts — again, one for each trimester. Each is about an hour long. Reviewers say that the workouts are easily modified for any limitations and that the third-trimester video is appropriate even for very late pregnancy. Some noted that the workouts helped them limit their pregnancy weight gain to a healthy amount.
You can watch the workouts on Amazon Prime Video for $1.99 per workout or $5.97 for all three. The DVD is available at Amazon for $8.15, but grab it soon if you want it — there’s only one in stock. (Strangely, although the series is available in three parts on YouTube for $9.99, I got a “video unavailable” message when I tried to view one, but YMMV.)
The Perfect Pregnancy Workout Vol. 1: Sculpting
This popular prenatal workout is led by Karyne Steben, who was in Cirque du Soleil. That’s a bit intimidating — but fortunately, she won’t expect you to perform any circus acts.
The exercises are designed to develop strength and flexibility, and they provide both beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels — plus modifications for women with diastatis recti. (Still, it’s best to ask your doctor about this just in case.) There is 43-minute workout and 12-minute instructional section.
The DVD is available at Amazon for $9.99 (only four left!) and Walmart for $13.95 (only three left!). With Amazon Prime Video, the workout is $1.99 to rent (seven days to start, seven days to rent after starting) and $17.99 to buy. (Note that the Prime Video reviews are very helpful.)
Yoga with Adriene: Prenatal Yoga
In case you haven’t heard of it, the Yoga with Adriene channel on YouTube is hugely popular, with eight million subscribers. (My husband is one of her fans.) She created a six-part series called Prenatal Yoga, with one full yoga workout for each trimester and three “Labor Lady Talk” videos about labor and childbirth. The videos are all done with a guest — Hilah from Hilah Cooking, who was pregnant at the time.
The series is available for $29.99 at YogawithAdriene.com as a standalone purchase or as part of a Find What Feels Good membership, which gives you access to 700 videos and is $9.99/month or $99.99 for an annual membership. Both offer a free seven-day trial.
In addition, Adriene’s YouTube channel includes a free 34-minute video called “Yoga Poses for All Trimesters” (pictured above).
Shiva Rea Prenatal Yoga
These yoga sessions are taught by Shiva Rea, who is a well-known teacher of Vinyasa flow yoga and yoga trance dance who developed Prana Vinyasa yoga. The three segments — Prana, Standing Poses, and Floor Work — are 15–20 minutes each, and it’s recommended that you end with the included guided meditation.
You’ll need a blanket, strap, yoga block, and chair, and modifications are included for each trimester.
The three parts are available on Amazon Prime Video ($6.99) as well as Gaia.com. Gaia’s monthly plan is $11.99; the annual plan is $8.25/month at $99 total. You can also buy the DVD, and, er, VHS at Amazon. (Here’s a very short clip on YouTube.)
(We included Gaia in our smackdown of the various streaming workouts to do at home, over at Corporette!)
Which are your favorite pregnancy workouts? Tell us which ones you would and wouldn’t recommend! What was exercising like for you when you were pregnant?
Stock photo credit at top via Deposit Photos / milkos.