IMPORTANT NOTE: All pregnant women should
consult with their doctor about their exercise program.
Always remember that the reviews on this page (and in the rest of the guide)
are usually not written by fitness experts, and should
*never* be used as a substitute for the advice of trained
Equipment needed: pillows, resistance band,
optional chair for balance
Note: This is yet another review of a pregnancy video
from someone who's never been pregnant. See my personal
disclaimers at the top of the "Fit for 2"
Reine Vilim's "Optimal Pregnancy Fitness"
was created with Dr. Marc Sklar, an obstetrician credited
as executive producer of the video. Not coincidentally,
this video includes a solid session of safety guidelines
for pregnant exercisers that are based on the most recent
ACOG guidelines. Reine and Dr. Sklar cover the ACOG
guidelines for exercise during pregnancy, the benefits of
exercising while pregnant, signs and symptoms of
problems, and pregnancy-related changes (like increased
blood volume, changing center of gravity, increased joint
flexibility) that should be taken into consideration
while exercising. They also explain the RPE (Rate of
Perceived Exertion) scale used to judge workout intensity
and even provide safety guidelines for use of power
resistance bands for strength training.
The workout includes a 7 minute warm up, 20 minutes
of low impact floor aerobics and moving resistance band
toning, a 15 minute floor toning segment for abs, thighs
and pelvic floor, and a relaxing stretch. There is a
heartrate check at the end of the aerobics and before the
floor segment to make sure that your heart rate isn't too
high before lying down. Because of the short length of
the aerobic section and the basic nature of the moves,
this video would be most appropriate for beginning to
intermediate exercisers or for those who want a lighter
workout at later stages of pregnancy.
The resistance band strength segment includes chest
presses, upright rows, bicep curls and tricep work. Reine
also does some traditional floor work for the thighs. The
ab exercises include seated exercises and
"rollbacks" with a pillow, which imitate the
effect of crunches without requiring the participant to
lie in the supine position. After a series of "cat
stretches," Reine leads a series of Kegel exercises
for the pelvic floor. The routine ends with a nice slow
The music is a traditional aerobic mix (the same one
in Cathe Friedrich's "Mega Step Blast," I
believe), and the set is white with some subtle pastel
lighting. I mention the set because the white background
makes Reine's movements in her navy unitard easier to see
Reine, who is 8 1/2 months pregnant in the video, has
a pleasant voice and clear cueing. She has a no-nonsense
style, and I liked the way she referred to the baby when
giving form pointers (e.g. "pull the baby back to
the back" instead of 'contract those abs").
It's likely to be more instinctive and descriptive for
women who are less familiar with exercise lingo.
Availability: this video is available from
Optimal Pregnancy Fitness, 1562 First Ave., Suite 311,
New York, NY 10028. Phone/Fax (212) 517-2394.