Although you may feel tired and ungainly when you are expecting a new baby, pregnancy is no time to stop exercising. Regular exercise provides numerous benefits to help you stay fit and toned. While your increased weight may make some exercises difficult or painful, water exercise provides buoyancy that helps ease the impact of movements and provides cushioning.
Regular exercise helps your body build bones and muscles, as well as giving you energy. Staying in shape reduces your risk of certain joint and muscle injuries. However, even women who exercise regularly may have difficulties continuing certain activities that require strenuous movements or precise balance, such as downhill skiing, bicycling and kickboxing.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends pregnant women exercise at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Unfortunately, the changes in your body may affect your ability to perform certain exercises. Hormones during pregnancy cause your ligaments to relax, increasing your risk of injuries during jerky, bouncy or high-impact motions. During pregnancy, your heart rate may increase, and your growing abdomen may cause back pain and loss of balance.
Exercising in the water during your pregnancy can help you maintain strength and muscle tone, while reducing the stress on your joints. Perform your water aerobics in a pool with a depth that allows you to stand with your shoulders slightly above the level of the water. Drink plenty of water during exercise and perform basic movements, using the weight of the water to provide resistance. Exercises like leg lifts, marching movements and arm curls can provide beneficial results. Water aerobics instructors often use various tools, such as paddleboards, hand fins and weights, to increase the difficulty of water exercises.
Water exercise during pregnancy can help prepare your body for labor and delivery. It may increase your stamina and muscle strength, as well as promote restful sleep. Other common benefits of exercising while pregnant include increases in energy and improvements in posture and mood.
Avoid exercising in warm water that makes you feel hot and uncomfortable. Move slowly and carefully, avoiding any movements that jar your body or create pain. Pay attention to your body while performing your water exercises. Notify your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms, including vaginal bleeding, dizziness, chest pain, uterine contractions or a decrease in fetal movement.