If, like me, you want to stay in shape while pregnant, but you don’t live close to a gym that offers prenatal classes (or you just don’t want to pay to sweat), there are some great YouTube videos available for FREE.
Now I don’t pretend to be a fitness expert; I’m just someone who relies on exercise to help me feel good, both mentally and physically. Although pregnancy is supposed to be some magical time for women, I find that I’m a bit anxious (baby stuff is expensive) and not always feeling physically great (the “magic” of constipation and heartburn). So this is not the time for me to give up exercise. With a little experimenting, I’ve discovered some great exercise programs on YouTube.
As many fitness and pregnancy experts will tell you, pregnancy is not the time to go crazy and set new fitness goals for yourself. So try only the classes or exercises that feel comfortable to you, and have your care professional okay your exercise program before you begin.
That said, here are some videos that have good video quality, solid instruction and variety of movement:
1- Pregnancy Workouts: Best Ten Minute Workout by Parents
This video focuses mostly on strength with a little cardio thrown in. It is the quick workout that I fit in when I don’t have time for something longer. It’s also a workout I use in combination with cardio workouts to keep my strength up. (As the instructor in the video points out, we’ll all need strong bodies when caring for babies!) The music is boring, so once you’ve listened to the instructions a few times you can mute the sound while listening to your own workout mix.
2-Bollywood Bellies Prenatal Cardio Fitness Workout by Rhythm Maya Dance
If you get bored with normal workouts like I do, why not try a little Bollywood? The instructors in this video are actually pregnant, so they are adjusting the moves for pregnant bellies. The moves are classic to Bollywood, but if you’ve never taken a Bollywood class you should still be able to dance along. This video is very short (a little less than fifteen minutes of actual exercise), so it’s great to use in combination with the first video on this list.
3- Prenatal Cardio Dance Workout for a Fit Pregnancy by Keaira LaShae
This is a video I turn to when I’m having a slow day and can’t get myself motivated to do something more active. The instructor herself is pregnant and guides her viewers through a light cardio workout. If you’re new to exercise or haven’t exercised in a while, I think this would be a great video to get you started. The music isn’t exciting, but it works with the moves. The video is approximately 25 minutes long.
4- 20 Minute Prenatal CardioKick Workout by BodyFit by Amy
Again, I get bored easily, so I like to have a lot of variety in my workouts. The instructor is experienced and gives helpful options for the viewer. She’s in her third trimester and not only does she offer options to keep the workout more low-key, but she also suggests ways people in their first or second trimesters can increase the difficulty level. The music isn’t motivating, so once I’d heard her instructions a few times, I muted the video and played my own music. (There are lots of great workout playlists on Google Play).
5- Dance Fitness with Jessica
I subscribed to this YouTube channel before I got pregnant, and I continued to exercise using these videos through my first trimester. Even now, in my second trimester, I find I can easily keep up with her Beginner Dance Fitness videos—I’m just careful not to bounce as much as I used to. I like this channel because you can choose songs you like to build an exercise routine. Just remember to warm up and cool down! (She has videos marked “warm up” and “cool down” to make that easier.
6- Bed Rest Exercises by Gundersen Health System
I was briefly put on exercise restriction, and I found this video of light stretches and strength exercises incredibly helpful! Of course, I checked with my doctor first to make sure these exercises were safe. If you’re on bed rest or exercise restriction, be extra careful to consult with your care professional before you try any kind of exercise program.
You’ve probably noticed that I don’t have any prenatal yoga videos on this list. There are a lot of great, free prenatal yoga videos available on YouTube. In fact, there are so many that I feel we may need a whole other list just for those. For now, let me just say that I found investing in an in-person yoga class was worthwhile. An instructor can help you find positions and moves that work for you and your pregnancy.
Finally, as my gynecologist and physiotherapist keep telling me, remember that walking is a great exercise for pregnant women!