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Swimming and Water Exercise

The benefits of exercise come not from occasional no-pain, no-gain workouts but from consistent daily effort. If there's a perfect pregnancy exercise, it's got to be swimming. Swimming is a low-impact activity that works your muscles and your cardiovascular system without taxing your joints and ligaments. The risk of injury is low, you can't get overheated, and it provides a weightless feeling that's heavenly for someone who is carrying around all those extra pregnancy pounds. Unless your doctor tells you to stop exercising, you can continue swimming all the way through your pregnancy. When your prepregnancy bathing suit gets too tight, invest in a maternity bathing suit or borrow a larger-size swimsuit from a friend.

Remember to drink water before and after you swim. If it's a long workout, take short drink breaks. Like any other aerobic exercise, swimming increases your body's need for water. Be careful not to swallow pool water; it may contain bacteria.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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