Pregnancy Workout

Kathy Smith
Year Released: 1988

Categories: Pregnancy/Postpartum

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