The Best and Worst of 3 Prenatal Workouts

04/10/2015 11:37 am ET | Updated Jun 10, 2015
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Are you large and pregnant and avoiding public places at all costs? Do you get anxiety just thinking about not only finding time to use your gym membership but conducting a successful workout without accidentally revealing your belly or muffin top or ginormous pregnancy boobs and scaring people straight off their elliptical machines? Then do I have a post for you!


If you're like me and prefer Pilates, yoga, and just the right amount of cardio in pregnancy and don't know which workouts to turn to, then look no further: I'm sharing with you my three favorite at-home pregnancy workout videos -- and I'm going to tell you the best and worst of them. I'll answer your burning questions, such as:

  • Which instructor will make you want to punch her because of the effortless, rapid way she moves around while 10 months pregnant?
  • Who makes you wonder if she wolfed down a batch of special brownies in her dressing room before filming her segment?
  • Who will make you wonder if maybe you accidentally ate some funny brownies before sitting down with her to practice your kegels?

And with that I bring you...

The Best and Worst of My Three Favorite Pregnancy Workouts

Video #1: 10 Minute Solution Pilates with Lisbeth Garcia


Let's get something straight: Lisbeth Garcia does not f$%* around. The "10 minute workout" title is deceiving. Yes, there are five different workouts on her 10 Minute Solution: Prenatal Pilates video, all of which are 10 minutes each, but you're getting way more than 10 minutes worth because she moves around like a cat with a mouse stuck down her maternity pants. Only she's like, about to give birth in the video, so the whole time you'll be both struggling to follow her and worrying she's going to go squat in the corner and deliver, or that her baby will just pop out while she's "bicycling" away. "Keep going!" she'd probably say, "I'll go cut the chord and be right back! Now switch to the left side, I'm watching you!"

For those of you who don't have great balance, not to worry, because she'll never ask you to do "tree pose" or anything that involves staying still for more than two seconds. And for you kegel-haters out there, I have both good news and bad news: good news is she'll never ask you to sit down to do kegels, but the bad news is that it's because her whole effing video is one giant kegel exercise. Only she tricks your vagina into doing them and it's not until the very end when you realize what's been happening, because when you finally stop moving you'll suddenly have to pee so bad you'll think your water broke.

You'll have to do this video a few times before you feel like you can keep up with her and know what's coming next, and you'll only have a few nanoseconds to look up at the screen, for which of course you'll use to make sure you're doing the right moves and also to see if she popped out her kid. But all in all, I really do love this video and feel like it's a great workout to follow if you're familiar with pilates and want to stay active while pregnant. To give you a better frame of reference I convinced my non-pregnant sister to do this workout with me, and it gave her such a good one that she is downloading it for herself.

Video #2: Prenatal Yoga with Desi Bartlett.


We slow it down now with a soothing Prenatal Yoga with Desi Bartlett. Desi has a blissful, calm energy that will make you want to hug her, and also push her over just to see if she's still smiling with her eyes closed when she hits her yoga mat. Her set for this video is a beautiful and serene room, with peaceful music and - wait - what's behind those bamboo plants back there, Desi -- is that a bong I see? Don't worry, your secret is safe with me. Desi's video is a bit choppy in that it has a few abrupt breaks, but I think that's when she must run off-screen to take a few hits off her bong (again, Desi, it's our little secret).

Desi's video will certainly bring Zen to your pregnancy, and will also make you wonder: if you fall over during "tree pose" and your instructor is too high to notice, did it really happen? It doesn't matter. Because by the time I'm done with her routine I feel like what I imagine Gumby feels like after popping a few Xanax, and if I actually did fall over I probably wouldn't give a down dog, anyway.

Speaking of Gumby...

Video #3: Prenatal Yoga With Shiva Rea

If you were wondering what Desi was smoking in the last video, this Prenatal Yoga With Shiva Rea video will make you wonder what you might have accidentally inhaled during your workout with Desi.


The outfits. THE OUTFITS. I have so many questions. But first, their names: "Poppy," "Brita" (with an emphasis on the "t," don't get it twisted), and "Shiva." While you might feel like Gumby after Desi's workout, these three preggsters got together and decided they wanted to look like him.

I mean, who approved this wardrobe choice?! My only conclusion is that they all had favorites and no one could agree, so the director punished them all by forcing them to wear matching maternity onesies. I imagine the argument backstage went something like this:

BRITA (instructor in her 2nd trimester): I think we should wear the Athleta outfits.

POPPY (instructor in her 3rd trimester): But I want to wear the Lulu Lemon outfit!

SHIVA (instructor in her first trimester): No way, we are wearing the Beyond Yoga set!

DIRECTOR: THAT'S IT!! I can't take it anymore. You're going with the first thing I see in wardrobe, which happens to be these unitards leftover from the Gumby filmings.

The good part about these outfits is that you won't have to worry about anything "falling out" - but that's because EVERY DAMN THING is on display. I mean these things don't really leave much to the imagination, do they?

But the part that takes the cake for me is when all three go to the floor to walk you through the kegels exercise. They sit there with strange looks on their faces, motionless because, of course, unlike leg lifts or side stretches, you can't actually see someone practicing her kegels (thank you sweet baby Jesus). So you're going off of what you think is right. But instead of the usual "squeeze and release" instructions, they go a step further and say things like: "Take the elevator up to the first floor, then the second, now the third, and the fourth; now back down slowly to the third floor, the second floor, the first floor, and down to the bottom." Um, ladies? I think my elevator broke and I'm somewhere in the basement. And there's a leak.

Once you get past the outfits, kegels, and extremely annoying pronunciation of the word "exhale" forty million times, you'll find that you get a nice stretch with these ladies and a soothing workout. Nothing strenuous, and if you are an avid yogi you might actually be a little disappointed because it is very basic and light.

I do like, however, how each of the Gumbies -- I mean, ladies -- are in a different trimester, so you can follow each one and do their modifications if necessary as your tummy grows larger than you ever thought possible, and I also really like the forty million side-angle stretches they do, because although they are repetitive, they really do feel good. And you'll get a great -- although unintentional -- ab workout from all the laughing you'll be doing.

I did a combination of these three videos while pregnant with Penelope and am following the same regimen this time around and I have to say, I've been feeling great. The mix of them keep me both relaxed when I need it, active when I'm up to it, and practicing my kegels -- whether on the elevator with the "Gumby" sisters or while laughing at all of it, myself included.

A version of this post originally appeared on Alessandra Macaluso's blog, PunkWife. If you are getting married or know a bride-to-be, check out her book: "The Bitch's Bridal Bible: The Must-Have, Real- Deal Guide for Brides," available on Amazon and Kindle. You can also find Alessandra on Facebook and Twitter.
Alessandra is currently working on a cookbook filled with healthy, fresh and easy recipes for babies that the whole family can enjoy (because really, who wants to cook twice?). If you'd like to get on that mailing list, you can do so here: What a Good Eater.