By Julianne Deveraux
For Chicago aerobics instructor Julie Jones, it wasn't easy to
switch to a less active lifestyle during her pregnancy. But she soon
found the perfect alternative: water aerobics.
naturally crave the water when you're pregnant," Jones says. "Water
aerobics gives you a great workout without putting stress on your
body." When you're carrying an extra 20 or 30 pounds, she says, it's
take a load off in the pool. In fact, if you weigh 120 pounds, experts
say it feels more like 12 pounds in the water.
doing water aerobics prevented her from getting the swollen knees and
ankles. Aqua fitness also keeps your stomach muscles strong and
prevents spider veins from appearing on your legs, she says. Exercise
also helped ease her morning sickness, balanced her moods and gave her
an energy boost. "It's like a natural Prozac," she says.
Jane Katz, a City University of New York physical education professor,
agrees. Studies have shown women who exercise have an easier time in
the delivery room, Katz says. They also shed pounds faster after
Water aerobics is an ideal form of exercise
because expectant mothers can stay cool while they're working out.
This is important, since women who get overheated while exercising can
harm their baby and cause potential birth defects.
two pregnancies are alike, Katz strongly urges everyone to consult
their doctor before starting a workout routine. While water aerobics
has many benefits, Katz says certain moves aren't safe if you're
pregnant. For example, it's a good idea to avoid any type of stomach
crunches. Also, bouncing or jumping out of the water can lead to muscle
strain and back problems, she says. When in doubt, ask your instructor
if it's safe.
"There's a low-impact alternative for every
move," Katz says. In her book, Water Fitness During Your Pregnancy,
Katz outlines specific routines for different stages of pregnancy. The
workouts also incorporate the breathing techniques most women learn
during Lamaze classes.
To order the book, call 800-747-4457 or visit: The Human Kinetics Website.