Pregnancy is an exciting time for expectant parents, filled with lots of planning and preparation. Often, the to-do list is a mile long, and it may seem as if there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to tick everything off! Make sure to enlist the help of your entire team; as the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child, so don’t be afraid to share the responsibility of getting everything ready.
It’s also crucial at this time to optimise the health of the mother. Pregnancy can be very hard on the body, so it’s important to ensure that wellness is a priority. As well as careful eating and having enough rest, gentle exercise is fundamental.
One of the best exercises that an expectant mother can practice is yoga. Not only does it help to keep the body flexible and strong, it can assist pregnant women in relieving anxiety and preparing for the special breathing patterns required during childbirth. Pregnancy yoga classes are becoming more popular, but if you would prefer to perform yoga within the privacy of your own home, a DVD is an excellent choice.
With so much choice, it can be difficult to know where to start! Fear not, we’re here to help! Keep reading to discover our pregnancy yoga DVD reviews, which will help you to find the perfect exercise regime for you and your baby!
Why is exercise during pregnancy important?
Strengthens muscles and prevents aches
As pregnancy progresses, the weight of the growing baby can put pressure on the muscles of the torso, which may lead to pain, particularly in the lower back. By gently exercising your core, you can help to strengthen these muscles, making it easier for them to cope with the increasing weight of the baby. In turn, this will reduce the amount of pain you are likely to experience.
Helps you to adapt to your changing shape and weight
Weight gain is an inevitable part of pregnancy for the majority of women. This can be a shock to your system in itself, as your body needs to adapt to your changing shape and weight. By getting regular gentle exercise, you will be able to strengthen your body and its ability to deal with this change and minimise the amount of weight that is gained during pregnancy.
Can be helpful in preparation for late pregnancy and labor
Late pregnancy and labor place intense physical demands on the body. By exercising throughout your pregnancy, you will help to ensure that your body has the stamina to support you in the latter stages and during childbirth.
Gets you into good habits for activity after birth
After your baby arrives, you will have plenty of things to do! It’s perfectly understandable that going out for a run is amongst the least of your priorities. That said, gentle exercise will help you to gradually return to a healthy weight postpartum. It’s an excellent idea, therefore, to get into good habits whilst you are still pregnant. This will help you to adjust after you have given birth.
Good for your mood and general wellbeing
As much as pregnancy is physically taxing, it can also place a strain on you mentally. Gentle exercise, including activities such as yoga, walking, and swimming, help to boost your mood and work through anything that may be worrying. Exercising with a friend and sharing your thoughts is also an excellent idea that assists your general wellbeing.
How does yoga help during pregnancy?
Develops breathing techniques
One of the most important benefits of yoga, whatever stage of life you are in, is that it allows you to develop improved breathing techniques. When you practice during pregnancy, this can help you to prepare for the specific method of breathing during childbirth. Whether you attend a class or use a DVD, this will prove invaluable during labor.
Reduces tension in the torso
Another key benefit of yoga is that it helps you to relax. During pregnancy, the pressure of carrying a growing baby can put intense pressure on areas of your body such as the lower back, hips, and chest. Regular practice of yoga provides relief from this tension and helps to manage any associated pain.
Strengthens the pelvic floor
Your pelvic floor does a lot of work during pregnancy and childbirth. It helps to support the baby as he or she grows, as well as your own internal organs. During labor, your pelvic muscles will be heavily involved in the process of giving birth. It goes without saying that strengthening these important muscles helps to promote a positive and successful labor. Your teacher or instructor will tailor yoga exercises to bolster your pelvic floor, which will pay long-term dividends.
Yoga instills a sense of peace and calm whenever you choose to practice. During pregnancy, this can help to alleviate any anxiety you may experience in relation to childbirth and parenthood. It is a safe and effective way to restore balance to your mind.
Yoga is known to improve circulation in practitioners. This is especially beneficial during pregnancy, as it helps to ensure your baby – and your own organs – are receiving the nutrients they need. It can also reduce inflammation, which is a common complaint in pregnant women, particularly in the final trimester.
It may not seem that posture is an essential consideration during pregnancy, but good alignment can actually reduce the amount of pain you experience in your back, hips, chest, and shoulders as your baby grows. Yoga helps you to maintain excellent posture during pregnancy, and get into positive lifelong habits.
Sets aside time for self-care
Self-care is important for everyone; it gives an opportunity for good-quality relaxation, reflection, and enjoyment of hobbies. Yoga practice can be an excellent expression of self-care, particularly during pregnancy. It gives you time to unwind and focus entirely on yourself. You won’t have a great deal of spare time once your baby arrives, so enjoy it while you can!
The best yoga DVDs for pregnancy
- Yoga Pregnancy: Pre and Post Natal Workouts by Heather Seiniger
- Prenatal Yoga by Shiva Rea
- Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga & Short Forms by Jennifer More
- Fit & Sleek Prenatal Physique by Leah Sarago
- Long and Lean Prenatal Workout by Suzanne Bowen
- Birth light: Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond by Françoise Freedman
- Pregnancy Yoga by Tara Lee and Amy Eastwood
- Fit Mommy-to-Be Prenatal Yoga by Hilaria Baldwin
- Yoga for Pregnancy by Shiva Rea
- Pregnancy Yoga: A Practice for Each Trimester by Cathy Louise Broda
Pregnancy yoga DVD reviews
1. Yoga Pregnancy: Pre and Post Natal Workouts by Heather Seiniger
Heather Seiniger is a certified yoga instructor, and a mother, so you can be assured that you’re in the right hands! The DVD contains two workouts, one to be used during pregnancy, and one for after you have given birth. Both are tailored precisely to your body’s needs at each unique stage.
The prenatal workout is focused on helping expectant mothers to build their strength, increase their flexibility, and develop the mental resilience required as they navigate toward labour and childbirth. It also assists in preparing the body and mind for the upcoming challenges of parenthood.
The postnatal portion of the DVD is concerned with helping new mothers get back into shape, whilst also dealing with any tension and exhaustion that may come from parenthood. The routine has been specially-developed to increase energy, reduce stress, and build strength.
Each workout is 30 minutes in length, and there are modifications offered throughout to adjust the intensity of each routine, which allows you to develop your abilities as much as you wish.
- Workouts tailored precisely to pregnancy and early motherhood
- Intensity can be adjusted
- Helps to build strength and resilience whilst reducing stress
Limited scope; only two routines included
Summary: A useful DVD for mothers wishing to have tailored yoga workouts for both pregnancy and the postpartum phase. There are only two routines on the DVD, which may be limiting for some, but it’s a great place to start, particularly if you are relatively new to yoga.
2. Prenatal Yoga by Shiva Rea
This DVD is presented by yoga instructor Shiva Rea and is split into three sections, with exercises tailored to each trimester. The stretches demonstrated are completely safe for your entire pregnancy, and are effective in helping to prepare you for labour and delivery.
Shiva Rea puts great emphasis on improving circulation, developing useful breathing techniques, easing stress and tension, and directing your focus to the challenges ahead. There is a mix of seated and standing poses, as well as floor work; you are free to make adjustments according to your unique physical limitations.
- Routines tailored to each trimester
- Gentle exercise and guided breathing to help you prepare for delivery and parenthood
- Mix of standing, seated, and floor positions
- Some experienced yoga practitioners may find the routines too elementary
Gentle routines for each stage of pregnancy, with a mix of difficulties. Maybe too straightforward for experienced yogis, but a good introduction to those who are new.
3. Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga & Short Forms by Jennifer More
This two-DVD set is focused entirely on safe and effective yoga during pregnancy. There are workouts of 15, 30, 45, and 70 minutes, which allows you to work regular exercise into your routine, even on occasions when you are very busy, or your body simply cannot manage a longer session.
The workouts are presented by experienced yoga instructor Jennifer More, the founder of Dolphin Yoga and Doula Centre in San Mateo, California, and come with the approval of Dr Jan Rydfors, a consultant OBGYN.
Each routine is safe for every trimester, and adjustments can be made to vary the intensity of your workout. There is also a handy 10-minute partner routine, so your partner can have active involvement in this important aspect of your preparation for childbirth and parenthood. It’s a great chance to bond in a relaxed and positive environment!
- 2-DVD pack
- Varied workout lengths to suit every schedule
- Partner routine to encourage both parents to enjoy the benefits of yoga
- Not suitable for expectant mothers looking for pre- and post-natal exercises in one DVD
An excellent collection of exercises with varied workout lengths and intensity adjustments. The partner workout is a novel idea that helps parents to connect.
4. Fit & Sleek Prenatal Physique by Leah Sarago
One of the key features of this DVD is that each workout is just 15 minutes in length, which helps you to integrate yoga practice around your busy schedule. The routines are presented by pre- and post-natal exercise specialist Leah Sarago, who has designed this program to be safe and helpful for women at every stage of their pregnancy.
This DVD has workouts for beginners right through to experienced yogis, and the varying intensity of exercises allows you to make progression in your own practice throughout pregnancy. Not only does this help to aid flexibility and relaxation, but it gives you a tangible sense of achievement in acquiring a new skill.
Fit & Sleek Prenatal Physique was selected by Fitness Magazine as one of the top 10 workout DVDs of 2015, so you can be assured that the instruction you receive is of the finest quality.
- 15-minute workouts are perfect for busy schedules
- Safe for all stages of pregnancy
- Varying intensity allows you to build your skill level during pregnancy
- Recognised by Fitness Magazine as one of the top 10 workout DVDs of 2015
- Some experienced yogis have noted that this DVD does not provide a sufficient challenge, although this is not the majority view
Perfect for expectant mothers with busy schedules, this DVD will allow you to build your strength 15 minutes at a time.
5. Long and Lean Prenatal Workout by Suzanne Bowen
With exercises that combine yoga and Pilates, this DVD is focused on maintaining the general health and flexibility of the expectant mother during pregnancy. It is better suited to beginners, and allows you to work your way up to moderate proficiency. For those looking for more of a challenge, small weights can be added to the wrists or hands whilst completing the routines.
The workouts on this DVD are low impact and provide worthwhile exercise is a controlled and gentle manner. The running time is 50 minutes, so it can be worked into any spare hour that you have.
- Mix of yoga and Pilates
- Suitable for beginners
- Low impact
- Weights can be added for more of a challenge
- Runtime is good for busy women, but is significantly shorter than other DVDs
A mix of yoga and Pilates poses to encourage flexibility throughout pregnancy. The run time is a little shorter than most other DVDs.
6. Birthlight: Yoga for Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond by Françoise Freedman
The creator and presenter of this DVD, Françoise Freedman, takes a holistic approach to pregnancy, with a focus on general wellbeing of both the expectant mother and her partner throughout pregnancy. The four routines contained within this DVD introduce gentle movement, fluidity, and flexibility, to address tension during pregnancy, provide focus for childbirth, and prepare for the challenges of parenthood.
There are also two bonus sections included; one to address physical issues that are unique to pregnancy, such as heartburn and bladder control, and a second that assists the process of healing after delivery. The run time is 90 minutes, broken down into four 20-minute routines, plus two five-minute bonus sections.
- Tailored to physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy and childbirth
- Generous run time of 90 minutes
- 20-minute sections can be integrated into busy schedules
- Experienced yoga practitioners may find these routines too basic
A useful DVD for expectant mothers who are new to yoga and want a gentle, accessible set of routines. The run time of 90 minutes is amongst the most generous.
7. Pregnancy Yoga by Tara Lee
With over 20 years of experience as a yoga instructor in London, award-winning Tara Lee is an expert in preparing expectant mothers for the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth through the use of yoga. The routines on this DVD were specially-developed to include breathing exercises and stretches to assist women throughout their pregnancies, from the first trimester right through the childbirth.
These workouts are suitable for all proficiency levels and stages of pregnancy, and beginners are welcome. Gentle yoga routines and guided breathing combine to give a sense of calm and strength.
- Suitable for all stages of pregnancy
- Guided breathing helps to prepare for childbirth
- Maybe too elementary for the most proficient yogis
A relaxing set of routines to help prepare physically and mentally for the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth. Great for beginners.
8. Fit Mommy-to-Be Prenatal Yoga by Hilaria Baldwin
This DVD, presented by experienced certified instructor Hilaria Baldwin, contains simple and accessible workouts for women at all stages of their pregnancy. There are three routines which cater to the specific requirements of pregnancy and childbirth, allowing you to continue exercising and feel strong at every trimester.
The first workout is concerned with good posture and alignment, which helps to relieve any back pain you may experience. The second helps to strengthen your hips for the growing baby and prepare for childbirth. The third is tailored to your emotional needs, helping you to deal with stress, alleviate tension, and focus on yourself and your baby.
- Three routines precisely tailored to the needs of expectant mothers
- Prepares body and mind for pregnancy and childbirth
- Accessible to all stages
- As with many other DVDs which cater to all proficiency, those with significant experience of yoga may find these routines to carry insufficient challenge
Perfect for women looking to improve their posture, and completely accessible for beginners, this DVD will bring balance to your body and mind.
9. Yoga for Pregnancy by Shiva Rea
If you’re looking for a DVD set that will carry you from your first trimester right through to after your baby has been born, this is the right choice. Experienced yoga instructor Shiva Rea presents routines that are tailored to the unique requirements of each stage.
The first DVD is centred on prenatal yoga. It is designed to optimise energy levels and stamina, whilst building the strength and flexibility that are required as pregnancy progresses. One of the best features of this DVD is that each trimester is represented on the same screen at the same time. Shiva Rea performs the poses for women in the first trimester, whilst two pregnant ladies demonstrate modifications for the second and third. There are also useful guided breathing exercises to help you during pregnancy and childbirth.
The second DVD is for postnatal use, and gently guides you towards regaining your strength, energy, shape, and tone after delivery.
- 2-DVD set for prenatal and postnatal stages
- Prenatal DVD has on-screen adjustments for first, second, and third trimesters
- Uniquely tailored to specific needs of each stage of pregnancy
- The pacing may be slightly slow for experienced yogis
A comprehensive DVD set that will carry you from the first trimester through to after delivery.
10. Pregnancy Yoga: A Practice for Each Trimester by Cathy Louise Broda
This DVD has unique routines for each trimester of your pregnancy, gently guiding you towards strength, flexibility, and emotional preparedness. Kegel exercises, which are extremely useful in preparing your pelvic floor for childbirth, are also included at the beginning of each workout.
Not only are the routines visually stunning (thanks to the Honolulu filming location!), but you can be confident in their safety and usefulness, as instructor Cathy Louise Broda was pregnant with twins at the time of filming.
- Routines tailored to each trimester
- Kegel exercises included to strengthen pelvic floor
- Relaxing with enough challenge to build strength
- Women looking for a more intense workout may find this to be too relaxed
If you’re looking to build strength and flexibility without intensity, this is the right DVD for you. May be too relaxed for some.