I’m always so impressed when I see women being active all the way through their pregnancy. It’s not that I become a complete couch potato but some of these ladies are more fit in their last trimester than I am when I’m not expecting. It’s incredible. Sure, some get criticized for not taking it easy but, really, every prenatal specialist I’ve ever encountered has always said that, in most cases, unless there are complications, it’s totally fine for expectant moms to continue their regular fitness routines.
When I was younger, I did everything. I swam, I took long walks, I biked and did cheesy prenatal workout videos on VHS. Now that I’m older with more obligations, I don’t have the same level of energy that I used to. Plus, my body is a little less forgiving. I feel less confident taking risks, especially with twins on the way. I still like to take long walks when I can but I find that yoga tends to be my default workout – and I love it.
I’ve always liked yoga and it’s something that Josh began practicing after we met. We’ve enjoyed a few outdoor yoga sessions and I’m hoping that, after the babies arrive, we will be able to do one or two this summer. That’s the benefit of having three very willing babysitters living in the house!
For my at-home practice, I bought the Gaiam’s Prenatal Yoga. The DVD includes: Calming meditation and deep breathing, gentle workout with seated poses, standing poses and floor work and a guided relaxation session.
First of all, the meditation, deep breathing and guided relaxations are all fantastic. It really does help to bring down the stress level which can get so high during pregnancy. Our hormones and emotions are all over the place so it feels pretty great to feel calm and centered (at least, until you have a meltdown over a craving or wake up for the 20th time to go to the bathroom!).
The gentle workout is actually really nice. Of course, it will probably be a little easier for those who have done yoga in the past but, like any workout, you can go at your own pace and only do what feels comfortable. I find the workout a bit long at 60 minutes but, based on the reviews I’ve seen online, some women really enjoy giving themselves that hour. I do know that if you subscribe to Gaiam’s online service, you can do the workout in increments!
As an alternative, I have also been checking out some Youtube videos. What I like about them is that they are free, provide more variety and I can choose a more specific length of time for my workout. I have found a few favorites that I keep coming back to. Of course, I will admit that these are among the less challenging videos so you may have to search to find something more suitable to your fitness level. For the average expectant mom, especially one who is pregnant with multiples, these will be just fine!
Katy Appleton’s (Apple Yoga) Prenatal Series is my absolute favorite! I like the dialogue, I feel like the moves are doable and I choose this most often, especially if I’m feeling tired or emotional. It really helps! Here are the links to the videos:
And here are some others that I’ve found useful along the way:
- PopSugar’s Yoga Strength Workout – a little more grueling but still realistic for the average mom. I skip the cobra pose because I’m paranoid!
- PopSugar’s 5 Pilates Moves for Pregnancy – strengthens while helping release tension in the back and sides. Bonus!
- Prenatal Yoga with Lara Dutta – labour-oriented endurance exercises
Obviously, there are other things you can do aside from yoga if it’s not your thing but many professionals and moms recommend it because it’s gentle on the body while helping strengthen muscles. Plus, as we get bigger and into the third trimester, it’s so much easier to get motivated to “stretch” than it is to do more vigorous activities. It’s also hard to find excuses too because it really can be done almost anywhere (especially the standing workouts) regardless of the time of day or weather outside.
Have you tried prenatal yoga? Was it effective for you?