There is certainly no real good way to describe that feeling when you find out that you are pregnant with your first child. Whether you had been trying or it was a surprise, there is something pretty magical about looking at your positive pregnancy test.
Just a few months ago, I was blessed enough to get to see that “+” sign and share the fun news with my husband. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there was at least a solid 10 minutes where things seemed to get really real and I kind of freaked out. I was worried about what I had been doing to my body over the last 4 weeks while this seed was cooking. Did I work out to hard, did I eat the wrong foods, did drink something I wasn’t supposed to? Of course, I hop on to the internet to do a search about what to do when you find out you are expecting a baby - not the wisest decision to create ease for a first time parent. While there is a lot of interesting facts out there on the web, there is also a lot of terrifying information for a first time parent.
I knew right there that I needed guidance from my doctor but I also needed to come up with a plan that would help me feel comfortable with the changes that were about to occur. Over the past year and a half I have been very focused on getting healthy. I was able to lose 15 pounds thanks to becoming more active and eating healthier. After finding out we were pregnant and letting some of my fears subside, I was driven to come up with a plan to have a healthy, active 9 months while growing my little bundle. With the okay from my doctor, I worked on how I was going to continue exercising during my pregnancy. The big key here was to do activities that my body is used to. For me, swimming has always been an activity that has continuously helped me feel strong and lean.
I have been a competitive swimmer my whole life. After 23 years of swimming, the water and I have a love hate relationship at times. However, so far during my pregnancy the pool has been one of the most relaxing places for me. Since swimming is a nonimpact exercise, I felt the safest in the water during my first trimester. There is a certain calm that I get when I am floating along lap after lap. What is even better, I can still get my heart rate up and I am working all my muscle groups! I try to swim at least two times per week for 45-60 minutes. If you are not an advanced swimmer, there are lots of basic workouts that you can find online or on Pinterest. My workouts, while sometimes can be intense, are a great balance of sprints, endurance and recovery. Some days I feel stronger than others, but I truly believe that consistently swimming is going to help me decrease unnecessary weight gain and give me the endurance to survive however long my labor will take. And, it’s great for the baby!
I know this might sound strange, but when I am swimming, I feel it gives me some bonding time with the baby, it’s just the two of us up and down the pool. I clear my head and get to think about all the exciting things that are about to occur over the next few months and even the future of the little growing human in my belly. I know I will look back and be grateful for the alone time I had with my baby and be thankful that I made an effort to exercise to be as healthy as possible for my child.
I also hope that my time in the pool with the baby will lead to other swimming bonding moments. The day my little one is 6 months I plan to get them into a Parent-N-Me swim class. Besides swimming being a huge part of my life, it will allow for me and the baby to bond again in the water. I think it will be special to watch the baby learn their way through the water and hopefully learn to love the sport as well.
Believe me, it is not always easy to keep up this routine. There are days where I feel that all the energy I have is delivered right to my baby. There are days where I just don’t think my stomach can handle any exercise but I never let that get me down. Instead, I am proud of even the little activity that I can give me and my baby. Just remember, you know your body better than anyone else so listen to it! I have to say that at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day gives me a whole new outlook on my day. I feel accomplished, proud, and excited for my baby to join me on my health journey!
I'd love to hear your tips on keeping healthy while preganant. If you have any great tips please share them in our comments section below.