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Kathy Smith's Pregnancy Workout

Kathy made this beginner/intermediate workout during her first pregnancy in 1988. Five other exercisers in mid-to-late pregnancy join her for a 7-minute warm-up/energizer, 20 minutes of low-impact aerobics,and 20 minutes of muscle toning (minimum muscle maintenance is more like it--this routine won't build any strength unless you have never exercised before, period). Two minutes of stretching, and a 10-minute guided relaxation segment round out the exercise portion of this tape. (More on those later)

In addition, Kathy includes segments where three OB/GYN's answer FAQ's about exercising during and after pregnancy, though she wisely cautions the viewer that this is no substitute for personal medical counsel.

I found the warm-up and aerobic routines fun--even on the days I had morning sickness I could get through them without getting dizzy or queasy. The music ranges from energetic light rock to jazz and "big band" swing--and motivated me to get off the couch and move even in my last trimester when I was almost too big to do so! The toning sections were another story. Kathy didn't exercise along with her troupe-she just walked around and coached everyone else ("now make sure you keep straight like Pam's doing"). I mean, BARF! It was like being in grade school where the gym teacher made you exercise, but just stood around and counted while you were out there dying on the floor. Gym-type strength training isn't exactly my idea of a fun time, but if the instructor is in there sweating it out with me, then at least my misery has company! And the routines were boring. Safe for a pregnant women--as indeed they should have been--but aren't there some exercises out there that are more interesting than squatting behind a chair, pelvic tilts, and the same old boring arm raises (weights optional)? The cool-down stretch (2 minutes) and the relaxation were OK--but Kathy's narration of the latter included terms like "cleansing breaths" and "imagine the warmth bathing your baby in a warm glowing light." If you aren't into New Age or eastern philosophy, it's a little weird. . .

Those concerns aside, I can recommend this one to the newbie or intermediate woman who just found out she's pregnant but wants to keep exercising. At its release in 1988, it met the ACOG exercise guidelines, which were stricter then than they are now. While it didn't challenge me much in the early months of my pregnancy, it was just enough during the last half when I did well to get my feet into my aerobic shoes!

Grade: A-

Melissa Cooper

I agree with Melissa's review of this tape, it is good for beginning or intermediate exercisers or to give you a little boost of energy in your last trimester. However, as an advanced exerciser though, this tape did little for me (because this tape was made back in 1988 though, the ACOG guidelines were stricter than they are now). Another thing that completely turned me off this video was the Prego Shuffle rap song in the middle (or was it the end?) of the aerobic section. GAG! Its worse than the dork dance of Firm IV. Its Kathy and the rest of her pregnant cast dancing around rapping out this song with sunglasses on). It was the worst! I would never have done this in a million years. It would have been better if there would have been a perceived exertion check or heart rate check there instead of this stupid song.

I bought this tape with my first pregnancy and used it very little then, but since I've had two subsequent pregnancies and found that I would rather modify my Cathe or CIA tapes instead of having to tolerate this tape.

Wendy M

This is the video that got me off the sofa - and when I was four months pregnant, no less! I had tried videos before but NEVER stuck with one more than a few days. I was having a lot of trouble with backache & my midwife suggested mild exercise to see if that would help, so when I saw this video for $1 at a garage sale, I thought "Why not?"

I would like to say that if you are already exercising regularly before pregnancy, this would probably be an easy workout for you. But if you are looking at pregnancy as a time to improve yourself & you've never exercised before, this is perfect. The video is divided up into sections, making it very easy to just do a little bit when you're starting - that really helped me from feeling exhausted & overwhelmed. It starts with a 8 or 9 minute warmup that Kathy says can be done alone - and that's exactly how I did it for months! The first time I did it, my heart rate went WAY over what it should have been, so I would suggest that total beginners drop their arms the first time they do it. Kathy has some very good suggestions for modifying & I've taken advantage of all of them. I made a lot of mistakes - some of her moves, like the trombones in the first aerobics section, are complicated for klutzes like me :) What I did was concentrate on learning the footwork first, then adding the arms after I mastered the feet - this also kept my heart rate from getting too high. I also liked the woman in the purple leotard - she would misstep from time to time, & that always made me feel like I wasn't alone in having a hard time with the steps, so I didn't get frustrated.

I think it did help with my backache & I KNOW it helped with my energy level, so if you've never exercised before & you want to start during pregnancy, check with your doctor & then get this tape!

Instructor comments: I like Kathy. She explains the moves well enough so I don't get lost (and I get lost easily). Also, she's perky enough that she keeps me awake in the early AM without being so annoying that I can't face her if I'm having a bad day! Even though I haven't really exercised before & started 4 months into my pregnancy, she led you through the safety tips so well that I always felt comfortable - I never felt like I should overdo it.

Denise Patterson

This was an incredibly informative and helpful workout, way more comprehensive than any other pregnancy workout I've tried. Kathy is informative, caring and very professional. There are no "woo hoos" or anything, and I found this video to be cover all sorts of issues related to pregnancy. She even includes a quick section with wrist work to help with carpal tunnel!

There were also interviews with 3 doctors, and a nice guided relaxation towards the end of the workout. Finally, the post natal section was helpful, giving you a quick outline of exercises to do shortly after birth (kegels, easy stretches), and she cautions you not to do anything high impact until you've received your doctor's clearance.

I was in high intermediate shape before pregnancy, but unlike the previous reviewers, I quickly ended up having to leave work towards the end of the second trimester due to pubis symphysis dysfunction. There was no way I could modify my regular workouts, and most prenatal yoga was off limits because I was scared of stretching too much and causing more pelvic ligament pain.

But I found this entire workout surprisingly easy on my body, including the strength section, and did very little modification. Unlike advanced exercisers, I got a great workout from the aerobic section, and the strength section, which included lunges, was easy to modify. I felt much better after finishing this workout than before. I especially liked the four modifications for ab work; it never occurred to me to modify the typical cat pose by resting my arms on the couch (or on a chair) to take the pressure off my wrists.

Yes, the music is definitely 80s workout instrumental with some guitar riffs that bring to mind shoulder pads and big hair, but the moves are classic low impact, and the tons of arm circles would give Tracy Anderson pause, and the workout follows ACOG guidelines and is still safe to do.


Instructor comments: This is the best of Kathy Smith: professional, articulate, knowledgeable and easy to follow. It was so fun to see the Kathy I first started working out with in 1987 in a new context! And she looked fantastic pregnant! The baby she had in this workout started college recently!



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