Swimming during Pregnancy

Keeping fit during pregnancy means that I have to listen to my body, and be flexible during a workout (walking during a run?! It’s recently become a reality!).  While I’m thankful I can still run at 33 weeks pregnant, I’ve started to realize that I can’t run as frequently as I’d like.

Most recently, I added swimming to my workout routine – and honestly, I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner.  Swimming is an easy way to build fitness, strength, and flexibility—without risking injury.  The water provides enough resistance to maintain cardiovascular fitness, while the buoyancy of the water helps reduce the risk of injury (and with this belly, I’m extra buoyant).  Swimming also improves circulation, increases muscle tone and strength, and builds endurance.  If you swim, you’ll burn calories, feel less fatigued, sleep better, and cope better with pregnancy’s physical and emotional challenges (oh, I’m emotional).

While swimming is a sport that may come naturally (I’ve been casually swimming for 28 years), it’s important to stay safe in the water.  Drink plenty of water before, during, and after the swim; and don’t push yourself too hard – if you need to catch your breath, take a few moments to pause and regroup.  If possible, alternate between a variety of strokes, including freestyle, breaststroke, and backstroke.  For example, swim 10 laps of each stroke at different speeds, for a total of 30 laps.  The varied speed will improve fitness and the variety of strokes will keep boredom at bay.

My good friend, BB, is a triathlete, mother, and one helluva swimmer; BB shares some of her favorite swim (pregnancy) workouts.  Each workout can be modified based on your comfort level and fitness.

300-500 free warm up
12×50 – 4x (1 swim, 2 kick)
3 or 4x(50 easy, 2×100 medium, 100 fast; 15 seconds between each thing)
300 easy
300-500 free warm up
6×150 – 2x (50 swim/100 kick, 100 swim/50 kick, 150 swim)100 easy free, 2×50 fast, 200 easy free, 4×50 fast, 300 easy free, 6×50 fast, 400 easy free, 8×50 fast
300 easy

Swimming is my new favorite workout and helps keep me fit (and the baby safe).  Do you swim during pregnancy?

What’s your favorite pregnancy workout?



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  1. I am 13 weeks pregnant, and have been loving swimming. I live in Florida, and have been finding it is just too hot to get in an good running distances right now. Swimming helps me feel so much better about workouts, without all of that pounding!

    • Congrats – so excited for you! I imagine its really hot in FL right now; I’ve loved swimming – it’s such a great workout!

  2. I’ve been swimming throughout my pregnancy as well. It is especially nice during the summer when the outdoor pools are open! I’ve found walking at a high incline on the treadmill to be a really good low-impact activity as well that is much more challenging than just normal, flat walking.

    • Swimming is such a great workout! I’ve also been walking on the treadmill at a fast pace on incline, it helps mix things up too.

  3. I love swimming, even though I am not good at it. I am still learning and I still don’t understand swimming lingo. I can see what a huge benefit it would be to a pregnant runner though. It is a great source of cardio. I am still gasping for air after only a couple of laps!

  4. With both of my pregnancies I was limited as to what I could do. With Twins, they are very strict about what you do, I knew I had to listen, I did not what pre-term babies. I think the better shape you are in when you get pregnant the more you can do, and the easier your labour is. Labour is kind of like preparing for a marathon, um or ultra marathon. I am glad you are able to get in some pool time, I think the baby must love the water too, it’s quiet and the weightless feeling has got to soothing.

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