When you’re carrying upwards of 20 extra pounds, the last thing you may be in the mood for is exercise. But in a pool (or any other body of water, for that matter) you weigh just a tenth of what you do on land. Which means bobbing weightlessly, feeling both lighter and more limber, can be a real treat. In fact swimming while pregnant just might be the perfect activity for expecting women, offering not only the benefits of exercise but also relief from a number of common pregnancy aches and pains.
BENEFITS OF SWIMMING WHILE PREGNANTSwimming is a gentle way to work toward your goal of 30 minutes most days of prenatal exercise — without aggravating your loosening joints. In addition to resulting in plenty of fitness-related benefits your body and your baby along with reprieve for your tired muscles and joints, swimming during pregnancy can also help:
A few tips to avoid any potential pitfalls of swimming during pregnancy:
Once your belly gets too big for your old one-piece suits, a two-piece gives your belly room to grow. If you feel self-conscious about revealing your baby belly, you can always opt for a tankini. And plenty of brands that sell regular swimsuits also offer maternity swimwear lines,
Whether or not you’ve swum for exercise before, jumping in a pool can be intimidating without a workout in mind. To the rescue: These suggested swim workouts. If the going gets tough, just float...your break will be well-deserved. And don’t forget to stretch afterward!
For NewbiesIf you swam once in a blue moon before pregnancy, most gyms with pools offer water aerobics classes, many of which are specifically designed for expectant moms. Considering swimming laps? Complete as many as you can comfortably perform, eventually working up to 30 minutes of swimming three to four days a week. Remember to maintain a moderate pace that doesn’t leave you breathless. (If your head were above water, you would be able to carry on a conversation comfortably.)
Because swimming straight laps can get a little dull, try these swim exercises to beat boredom. Pick your three favorites, and do 10 minutes of each for a full 30-minute workout:
Intermediate and advanced swimmers might set out for a 2,000-yard swim (i.e., 80 laps in a 25-yard pool.) You can try this workout using your favorite stroke or alternating between different ones:
Regardless of your prenatal fitness level, swimming can be hard work — which means it’s normal to experience some aches and pains as you take to the water with your baby belly. Ultimately, you’re the best judge of your limits. So if you feel any sharp pain, shortness of breath, faintness, vaginal bleeding, dizziness,contractions, absence of fetal movements or anything else that just strikes you as not quite right, stop your workout immediately and contact your practitioner.