Photo by Jared BoshnackI've always loved swimming, so in addition to competing on my High School Swim Team, over the summers I made some extra cash as a lifeguard at the local pool. Every summer a woman, who we all called "the swimmer," would put on her sleek racing suit daily, her cap and her goggles — and she would swim. Laps upon laps upon laps. Really ... it was ridiculous. Then one year, halfway through the summer, we realized she was swimming pregnant; that is, until a few weeks later when she "effortlessly" gave birth.
Fast forward ten years and I found myself pregnant and in the pool four mornings a week, doing 75 laps a day. What the hell was I thinking?
So it turns out swimming is amazing for pregnant women. Not only does it allow you to work all of your muscle groups — but you no longer feel 30 pounds heavier. Like any exercise you do, pregnant or not, you need to start out slow if you've not been exercising regularly. But really, there isn't much to it. I gave myself a time limit and wouldn't get out of the pool until the time was up. Usually about 45 minutes. I mixed up my strokes to keep things fresh and made sure to always bring my few essentials with me.
- A good one-piece bathing suit. I preferred a straight-up racing suit — not because I was training for a triathlon, but because they hold up in the chlorine day after day and you do not need to buy maternity; just buy a few sizes bigger than normal. By full-term, in that picture above (taken about six hours before I gave birth), I was wearing a size 38 suit. You can see a breakdown of sizes at SpeedoUSA.com.
- A kick-board. My legs have always been my biggest problem — so focusing on them while swimming was a must. You can buy these pretty much everywhere ... especially now that summer is coming.
- Cap and goggles. I know, those caps are a pain to get on and not very flattering. But if you are serious about the exercise, swimming with your hair in a ponytail just doesn't cut it. And really, who are you trying to impress at the pool?
- Pull Buoys. If you are going to exclusively use your legs by working with a kick-board — then it's nice to equal out your workout by moving those arms. I know I hate underarm flab — so at least this felt like it was helping! Throw the pull buoys between your legs and swim, using just your arms, while your legs float behind you.
Oh ... and don't forget a towel!
Do you think you'll jump in the water and get your pregnant swim on?