I love the peace, solitude, and feeling of flow that I get from of a nice run out in nature. But fourteen weeks into my pregnancy, running quickly left the picture. I was hobbling down my road and I couldn’t even get a quarter mile without limping! I saw my incredible chiropractor for my intense hip pain, and he said no more running until the pain disappears and my hips get stronger. Many of you mamas know that pregnancy does all sorts of funny stuff to our hips.
With a very painful injury, I took the leap of bravery and signed up for a gym membership at Equinox because they have a heated salt water pool in their basement. I went to Athleta and bought an adorable swimsuit, ordered goggles and a swim cap online, and hit the pool for laps at an off hour when I wagered the pool would be empty: around 10:30 AM on a weekday.
I took a swimming class in college for one credit, and that was the only previous experience I had swimming for exercise. I had no remaining knowledge or confidence of how to breath properly in the water, and it was apparent as I faked my way across the pool this time, breathing up and forward instead of side to side. Remember the trick we teach three year olds? Blow bubbles, now listen to the fish! Yeh, that’s what I couldn’t do. 🏊🏼♀️ 🙅🏻
Nevertheless, I kept showing up to the pool because my hips kept getting better and stronger, and my heart rate was definitely getting a workout. (This happens when you don’t know how to breathe.) 🤣 Once, I showed up to the pool at my “off-hour” time, and there was a trainer giving a lady a swim lesson. As I swam laps and gasped for air, I listened to what she was instructing her beginner client–specifically on how to breathe. The following few days, I tried what she was saying, and each day, I got more and more comfortable breathing in the water. Eventually, I started showing up to swim at earlier and earlier times and didn’t mind that I wasn’t the only one in the pool, and sometimes, that I had to share my lane. In fact, having other experienced swimmers in the pool with me was what helped me learn how to swim efficiently.
As I’d get my swim equipment ready (buoy, kick board, flippers, paddles) like the rest of the swimmers, I’d watch them in the pool. How are they breathing? How hard do they kick? How fast do they swim when they pace themselves for a 45-minute swim? How do they get into the pool (they sit on the edge while they get ready, then push off the wall to jump in).
The most important tip to start swimming when you’re pregnant is to keep showing up. You will get better every day, especially if you watch the other swimmers and ask them questions like, “What’s that thing called? Oh, thaaaaat’s buoy. How do I use it?” After a month of showing up and swimming every other day, I got to be very comfortable in the pool. Enough where I can swim for 45 minutes to an hour and enjoy the whole process.
I highly recommend finding a pool to swim in while you’re pregnant, and making it a healthy habit that you can add into your life pre and post pregnancy. Swimming is excellent for your body, especially if you’re stuck in the same routine of running and spinning like I was! Don’t be afraid to try and try again when you hit the pool. The first few weeks might suck, especially if you have no idea what you’re doing, but quickly, you’ll pick up a new skill that you’ll actually enjoy for a lifetime. Maybe even with your baby!
If you’re new to swimming and want to give it a try, share your biggest fear of what’s preventing you from starting in the comments below! #beprettybrave