I have been working out with YouTube videos at home for years now. It’s a free and effective way to get in a diverse workout schedule in the comfort of your own home. That is, if you’re willing to put in the time to find out which workouts are good.
During these last eight months of my pregnancy, I’ve been less motivated than ever to pack a bag and go to the gym. On those days where my energy has been particularly low, the extra effort required to leave my house seemed impossible. Add hormones and the nesting tendency to the mix and the gym looked about as appealing as a long, barefoot walk on a bed of nails.
YouTube to the rescue! Nesting, hormonal, or otherwise - YouTube makes it easy for expecting mommas to get in a workout at home no matter how much time she has available. For those mommas-to-be who are cleared by their doctors to workout during pregnancy and want to give YouTube fitness videos a try, I may be able to help you take the guesswork out of finding a great YouTube routine.
But first, a few important caveats:
I’ve found working out during pregnancy to be what I needed to help with my energy levels, mood and believe it or not, working out even helped me through a rough first trimester by reducing morning sickness. But every pregnancy is different and you need to get cleared by your doctor before working out to make sure you don’t have complications that may make it dangerous to do so. You’re making decisions for two now - your primary responsibility is to your baby. You must give a lot of consideration to what you feel is safe, practical, and within reason for you to do without potentially harming your little one.
Here are a few quick tips I used to help me consider which workouts I should/shouldn’t do:
If you didn’t do something pre-pregnancy, don’t try it now. Because I’m a YouTube fitness junkie and therefore, had access to a wide variety of workouts pre-pregnancy, I have done barre, cardio in many forms, yoga, and weight training before I got pregnant, so those are the types of workouts that have continued to work for me. My newfound interest in pole vaulting? That’s going to have to wait until after baby’s arrival.
Put fitness goals on hold while pregnant. Pregnancy is a time to dial back your workouts and focus on feeling good. Six pack abs? Weight loss? Quite the contrary my friend. Working out during pregnancy is to help maintain a healthy mind body connection and that’s it. I used to workout for 45 minutes to 1 hour 5-6x per week and mostly did high intensity cardio. During my pregnancy I dialed this back to 20 -30 minutes 4-5x per week and focus on low intensity/low impact workouts.
Veer on the side of caution and avoid doing anything that you may question in terms of safety later. My doctor gave me good advice in my first trimester when it came to working out. She said, if at any point in your pregnancy you have complications, the last thing you want is to think back to a workout you did and think, “Oh my god, was this my fault?” Even if nothing happens, if you’re doing jumping jacks and thinking to yourself, “Maybe I shouldn’t do this…” remove the question from the equation and just stop doing whatever it is that you’re questioning. Guilt and stress is not good for baby and is the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve with workouts during pregnancy (peace of mind!). I eliminated all jumping and high impact aerobics from my routine completely the moment I found out I was pregnant, and I don’t regret it.
Just because it says pre-natal doesn’t mean it’s safe. Just because the woman in the video is wearing workout clothes, doesn’t mean she’s a professional trainer. This goes back to #3 on the list - only do what YOU feel safe doing. Don’t put decisions about your health in someone else’s hands ESPECIALLY WHEN PREGNANT, including mine by the way! If you feel that the only way you’re going to feel safe doing a workout is by consulting a professional in-person at the gym - then that’s okay!
Now that I got that out of the way…
Here is my playlist of favorite pre-natal YouTube workouts:
Studio Tone it Up - Bump n Body Prenatal Workout (30 mins) & Best Pregnancy Workout (20 mins)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNpPhZtZITc (Bump n Body)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbSgv97ZN7o (Best Pregnancy Workout)
Why I love it? The instructors in the video are actually pregnant so it makes me feel like I’m working out in solidarity. Both videos are a good combo of low impact cardio and strength training and generally, I find these videos to be a bit more challenging than some of the other pre-natal vids out there. I use these on the days that I have a little extra energy and want to get in a slightly more challenging workout.
What you need?
Here’s a link to the Belus bands I bought. They are great for travel too! Link to Amazon
Set of light dumbbells: I use 3-5 pounds
Yoga mat if your workout space floor is hard.
Prenatal Yoga Routine with Lara Dutta (30 mins)
Why I love it? Unlike some pre-natal yoga videos that I’ve found to be a bit too low key, I find this one to have just the right combination of breath work, poses for flexibility, and a few challenging poses peppered in that make me feel like I’ve gotten in a bit of cardio.
What you need?
Yoga mat and maybe a yoga block and strap if you want to modify some of the poses.
Jessica Smith Prenatal Cardio & Prenatal Strength (20 mins each)
Why I love it? Those of you who have read my other YouTube Fitness blog will know I’m a big fan of Jessica Smith. She combines cardio, barre, pilates, yoga, and strength training in a way that always leaves me feeling like I got in a great workout but didn’t over train my body. She doesn’t update her YouTube videos often but those that she has from years ago are still some of my go-to videos.
What you need?
Light weights for the strength training video. I use between 3-5 pounds.
PopSugar: Heidi Klum Prental Workout (10 mins)
Why I love it? This is my go-to workout when I’m really feeling sluggish but suspect that getting in a short workout will help me generate a bit of energy. This workout was my go-to in the first trimester when I had bad morning sickness and the thought of working out seemed really impossible. It’s just 10 minutes and it flies by and I always ended up feeling much better after doing it.
What you need?
Light weights. I use between 3-5 pounds.
Coach Kel: Prenatal Barre Workout (30 mins)
Why I love it? Low impact yet challenging. I love barre generally and was really happy to find a pre-natal barre workout that left me feeling energized.
What you need?
Light weights and a chair, barre, or countertop. I used my standing desk as a barre.
I hope you get a chance to enjoy some of these videos! If you have come across any great pre-natal videos let me know about them.
Wishing you all a safe, happy, and healthy pregnancy!