The other day, I wrote about maternity active wear, so I thought I should follow up with some ideas on pregnancy fitness. With both of my pregnancies I kept reasonably active; however, how I kept active was totally different for the two pregnancies. With my first child, it was easy to go to prenatal exercise classes – I took prenatal aqua aerobics, yoga and pilates. The great thing about these classes were they were specifically aimed at pregnant women and modified accordingly. I also got the chance to bond with other pregnant mums, and as a first time mum, talking to others in the same situation can be a great relief. My favourite class was definitely the aqua aerobics – the water kept me nice and cool, and moving in the water just made me feel less clumsy.
With my second pregnancy, I had a small baby to contend with as well, so heading off to classes on a regular basis was just not a possibility for me. Most of the prenatal classes were during the day time, which ruled them out. Instead, I took some non-prenatal deep water aqua aerobics classes in the evenings instead. Making sure I let the instructor know I was pregnant, these classes were heaven. There is something about exercising in deep water when you are the size of a whale that just felt right! My instructor insisted I wear a heart rate monitor to make sure I wasn’t overexerting myself, and he modified some of the exercises that weren’t suitable.
While I loved these classes, it wasn’t always possible to make them. The class often clashed with feeding time, or I just didn’t feel like going out of the house. So this is where home DVDs came to the rescue. I found some excellent ones on Amazon that ranged from Yoga to cardio to strength exercises. My faves:
Prenatal Yoga by Shiva Rea – this DVD was one of my absolute favourites! The DVD features three models (Shiva Rea is one) in the three different trimesters, doing the modifications necessary in each stage. The program took about 45 minutes, which included 30 minutes of standing and seated poses, and 15 minutes of floor poses. It was relaxing, but energising at the same time. I actually carried on using this DVD for a while after I had my baby.
Jennifer Gianni’s Fusion Pilates for Pregnancy – This is a yoga/pilates blend and really targeted all my muscles. Again, it has modifications for the different stages of pregnancy, and a relaxation section at the end. The reason I did this and the
yoga DVD was this seemed to be more strengthening for me. I did find Jennifer a bit boring, but overall, the DVD was motivating. The best bit is the focus on the pelvic floor. As anyone who has done Pilates before will know, the pelvic floor muscles are vital. This is even more true during pregnancy, so any exercises that help to work these muscles are great.
Leisa Hart’s Fit Mom Pregnancy – This DVD was great when I wanted a cardio type workout, rather than a yoga/pilates style one (although there is a 20 minute yoga styled section). Leisa Hart is cheerful and upbeat as she guides you through dance based moves. Like Shiva Rea’s yoga DVD, there are women in the various stages of pregnancy to demonstrate the modifications. The whole DVD is 60 minutes, but I tended to do just the 20 minute salsa and the 10 minute stretch sections.
FitBall Great Expectations – this was my all-time favourite exercise DVD. It utilises a fit ball and light weights and gives you an all-over toning AND cardio workout. Using the ball makes the exercise really easy, even towards the end of your pregnancy, plus, isn’t there just something fun about bouncing on a big plastic ball? If you are in Australia, check out your local library since it is made by an Australian physiotherapist – I first found it at our library.
So, don’t use your pregnancy as an excuse to sloth out on the couch eating bon-bons – save this for occasional days only! Instead, get up, get moving and have a great, fit, pregnancy.