Review: Slim & Toned Prenatal DVD

Of all the pregnancy workout DVDs out there, this may be the very best. And of all the instructors I came across, I think Suzanne Bowen is my favorite. She’s warm and happy without being obnoxious in the slightest. And more than that, something about her voice and presence makes me feel totally capable of pushing and challenging myself. Even though the moves she takes you through are crazy-hard, I felt motivated the entire time.

Suzanne Bowen currently has three prenatal DVDs out there. This one (Slim & Toned), Long & Lean, and BarreAmped Prenatal, are all great. However, I found Slim & Toned to be the toughest of the three. The best price I found for Slim &Toned  is  $16.99.

Just a heads up: This page and a few others on my blog contain affiliate links. That means if you click on a link on one of my posts that takes you to another site where you buy a product I recommend, I get a small commission. I take that as a huge virtual high-five and thank you from my readers! So, if you like something I recommend enough to buy it, it would make my day if you used my link to make your purchase. But I hope you know that I have a staunch policy of ONLY including affiliate links for products that I actually own and think are incredible, as well as only linking to the best price I can find for any given product. 🙂


slim and toned is one of the best pregnancy workout DVDs
With that, let’s roll into the specifics of what you’ll find on this awesome DVD.

Lean Lower Body (runtime 20:05 and 43 calories burned)

At 21 weeks pregnant, I’m still pretty happy with how my legs look, and I think I can credit this particular segment of Slim & Toned for that. This is tough, tough stuff! You’ll need the chair Suzanne recommends since many of the moves would otherwise require too much balance work for pregnancy, so grab your chair and hold on tight. The first time I did this workout I was terrified by four minutes in because my legs were on FIRE!

I will say that the intensity calms down as the segment moves on, but it’s still a challenge to the very end. You are going to feel your entire lower body working hard, but if you’re like me you’ll feel (and then later see nice definition in) your quads and inner thighs especially. Thankfully, Suzanne includes quite a few little stretches throughout the workout, giving those legs of yours enough time to just barely recover before rolling into the next tough move. Five stars to this segment: it’s everything a prenatal workout can and should be.

Slim Upper Body and Core (runtime 18:40 and 62 calories burned)

The upper body-focused section of this DVD also delivers. Suzanne recommends light weights. You may begin thinking it feels too easy with 1–3lb dumbbells, wait until a few minutes in! You’ll be shocked at how challenging even those tiny weights feel thanks to the high reps. The first 10 minutes consist of standing work with free weights. This part targets the middle back, shoulders, and triceps especially. I appreciated all her cueing about form and posture. I think doing these moves well is helping keep my back strong and pain-free this pregnancy.

Me in my workout gear at 20 weeks pregnant. I’ve still got a bit of muscle tone even with my growing bump, and I’m pretty sure Suzanne Bowen deserves lots of the credit for that.

Minutes 10–12 take you down to the mat for modified pushups. Those “pilates pushups” were new to me and WOW did I feel them! Then, the remaining 6ish minutes has you on your mat. Here you’ll do moves targeting the core as well as upper body. Gotta love planks!
I was proud of myself by the end of this one. It wasn’t easy but it was surprisingly fun. Like the lower-body segment before it, it’s one of my all-time favorite pregnancy workout routines.

Cardio Sculpt (runtime 22:02 and 92 calories burned)

 This is one of the better prenatal cardio segments I’ve found.  She takes you through spurts of light, low-impact cardio that get your heart pumping. She then alternates with sections that feel a lot like the exercises in the Lean Lower Body segment. This way, you’re getting in both cardio and toning for a really efficient workout.

I also ought to add here (simply because I haven’t anywhere else) that while Suzanne isn’t pregnant in this one, her modifier, Leigh-ann, is. She looks to be in her third trimester. She does a great job showing modifications that will feel better if you’re farther along in your pregnancy, not just in this segment but throughout the entire workout. I felt good sticking with her for most of it at 21 weeks along.

Aligned Stretch (runtime 9:17 and 9 calories burned)

 Of all the pregnancy workout DVDs I’ve tried,  this one has the best stretch segment. It’s just shy of 10 minutes long, and I feel like all 10 minutes are full of fantastic stretches that feel amazing. The series at the beginning where you are on your mat but still using a chair felt amazing on my legs. These stretches hit muscles that I find hard to stretch not that my baby bump is pretty pronounced. Suzanne also gives you a few stellar neck and shoulder stretches. I appreciate this since I tend to carry a lot of tension through there. Suzanne is 4/4 on this DVD: every part of it is absolutely phenomenal.

So there you go!  I bought this DVD the same place I get pretty much everything: Amazon. At $16.99 it is a steal of a deal for what a great set of workouts you get. This is the ultimate pregnancy workout DVD, and I can’t recommend it enough.

The 6 Best Pregnancy Workout DVDs

Just a heads up: These review posts and a few others on my blog contain affiliate links. That means if you click on a link on one of my posts that takes you to another site where you buy a product I recommend, I get a small commission. I take that as a huge virtual high-five and thank you from my readers! So, if you like something I recommend enough to buy it, it would make my day if you used my link to make your purchase. But I hope you know that I have a staunch policy of ONLY including affiliate links for products that I actually own and think are incredible, as well as only linking to the best price I can find for any given product. 🙂

To stay look and feel my best this pregnancy, I’ve relied heavily on pregnancy workout DVDs. As far as I’m concerned, workout DVDs are awesome. They’re like having a personal trainer right in your home, ready to work out with you whenever you’d like. And prenatal pilates and barre workouts tend to be my very favorites.


prenatal pilates, barre, and strength DVDs
However, there are a LOT of options out there when it comes to pregnancy workout DVDs! This is both good and bad. Which ones were the best? Which would be challenging and fun, and which would be way too easy for my fitness level?

I read and read reviews on Amazon, which was helpful to some extent, but I still didn’t feel like I knew which ones I should buy. Before throwing down the cash on Beachbody’s Focus T25 last fall, for example, I really appreciated blogs like Dumbbells and Diapers and Dysfunctional Parrot that gave super in-depth reviews of not just the workout program overall but each individual DVD. Things like the runtime, calorie count, and what muscles each workout focused on were all really helpful and information for me and helped me decide that T25 was something worth investing in.

But nothing like this really seemed to exist for pregnancy DVDs. Yes, there were brief reviews on Amazon, but it was almost comical to see the wide variation in opinions there—”This workout was SO hard!” vs. “I’m pregnant, not dead!” for the exact same DVD.

So I decided to order any DVDs that looked good and then write the really detailed reviews I wish had existed a few months ago for other fit, pregnant girls like me who wanted the scoop and didn’t want to go through as much hassle as I did. So, drumroll please . . .

The 6 Best Pregnancy Workout DVDs

Here’s my list of DVDs that I loved and deemed worthy of keeping. Each one has a link to a detailed review where I tried to give as much info as possible to help you know if it’s a workout you might like too.


Where Can I Get These DVDs?

Each of these DVDs cost about $12 apiece (some a little more, some a little less). That’s nothing! Invest in yourself a bit and get a handful you can rotate through so that your workouts stay fresh and fun your entire pregnancy. Here are the links to the best prices I’ve found for each DVD if you’re interested in grabbing any or all of them for your own collection.




How Can I Best Use DVDs to Stay Fit During Pregnancy?

Raise your hand if you like pretty, printable, FREE posters and charts! Yeah, me too. I like having cute, bright-colored calendars, quotes, printables, and charts to help me stay on track as I work towards various health and fitness goals. I find best results come if I track my progress with huge check marks in my favorite color of marker or invest in some shiny gold star stickers. ?

Once I’d found my list of pregnancy workout DVDs worth keeping in my rotation, I put together a schedule for myself so that I could cycle through all the DVDs without getting bored.  Here is the link to the PDF version of my FREE Pregnancy Workout Calendar. Grab it so you can print it out, hang it up, and rock a fit pregnancy right along with me.

The calendar has you working out for 45 minutes a day, 6 days a week.  Two days a week you’ll focus on strengthening your upper body, two days a week you’ll focus on strengthening your lower body, two days a week are cardio days, and you’ll take one day a week to rest.

pregnancy workout DVD calendar

I also put together a Beginner’s Calendar. Maybe you weren’t working out consistently before pregnancy. Or maybe you simply don’t have the energy to do 45 minutes a day. That’s okay! We are all different. Listening to your body is crucial when it comes to exercise during pregnancy. This version of the calendar follows the same format as the Advanced Calendar but has you putting in 20–30 minutes a day of exercise instead. Here’s the link to the Beginner’s Calendar PDF—which is also free. Woohoo!

pregnancy workout DVD beginner calendar

Buying all the DVDs this calendar requires costs about $90 total on Amazon. Yes, that’s a chunk of change, but I think it’s absolutely worth it to have challenging, fun, pregnancy-safe workouts I can rotate through without getting bored for these coming months. And, of course, if you want to buy fewer, you can write up your own calendar or use mine as a blueprint. For example, you could just do, say, Weeks 1& 2 plus Week 5 because those are the DVDs you bought, and then start back at the beginning of your own personal rotation from there.

So far following my calendar has kept my pregnancy workouts fun, fresh, and challenging. My weight gain has stayed right on track as well (I’m up a healthy 13 pounds at 22 weeks. Wahoo!). I like feeling like I’m moving in a specific direction and accomplishing something concrete rather than aimlessly shuffling through my pile of workout DVDs at random. For me, following (and then finishing!) a calendar or plan takes my workouts to a whole new level. My workouts become empowering and exciting rather than routine and mechanical.

Also: don’t despair if you don’t feel up to either workout schedule during your first trimester. I was lucky enough to feel crappy but decent for all but a miserable 2-week stretch of my first trimester. But many women (including very fit ones!) just aren’t up to exercising much in those hard early weeks. If you are one of those girls, my heart goes out to you, and I’d just remind you that these DVDs and my calendar will be right here waiting for you once you start feeling better again. Keep nibbling those saltines and hang in there!

Are there any great pregnancy DVDs I didn’t mention that I need to run out and try? Or are any of my reviews dead wrong? And what do you think of the calendars? Let me know in the comments!