But, like a marathon, pregnancy can be less taxing with the proper equipment and know-how. Using a few common athletic tips and pieces of fitness equipment, pregnant women can get through their journey with less discomfort.
Hydration1 of 10
Remember, you're hydrating for two now. It's recommended that pregnant women drink an extra eight to 16 ounces of water per day to keep mother and child properly hydrated. Water also plays a vital role in delivering essential nutrients to the growing baby, so drink up! To avoid discomfort, distribute your water intake throughout the day as opposed to gulping down multiple glasses at a time.
Kinesiology Tape2 of 10
It's not just for pro athletes with sore shoulders. Kinesiology tape can also help stabilize an expecting mother's expanding belly and ease the lower back and ligament pain that is common in pregnancy.
Stability Ball3 of 10
Your hips don't lie, and if they're too tight, the birthing process can be more painful than necessary (We know it's going to hurt no matter what, but every little bit of preparation helps, right?). Try some simple stability ball exercises to simultaneously loosen and strengthen your hips for the big push.
Compression Socks4 of 10
Have you ever seen a pregnant woman's swollen feet? Like, really swollen? If they're half as uncomfortable as they look, that's a problem nobody should have to bear. Compression socks, commonly used by distance runners, can help promote blood circulation and tame some of the swelling.
Sports Bras5 of 10
You can end up spending a lot of money on maternity bras, which can cost as much as $50 for a single bra. Fortunately, stretchy sports bras offer a cost-efficient solution. They're also ideal for new mothers who may be experiencing soreness as a result of breastfeeding.
Coconut Oil6 of 10
It's good for more than just healthy cooking. Mothers-to-be dealing with chafing or itchy skin can apply coconut oil to the affected area for soothing relief. It's also completely natural, so mom doesn't have to worry about any chemicals impacting the little one.
Sunscreen7 of 10
It's always important to protect yourself from the sun's UV rays, but it's especially important during pregnancy when the body's pigment-producing cells are in high gear, making the skin more susceptible to discoloration. It's also best to avoid sunburns during pregnancy, which can raise the body's already elevated core temperature.
Potassium and Electrolytes8 of 10
Leg cramps are never fun, but they're even worse when you're already in a constant state of discomfort. Potassium is a great way to prevent leg cramps, which is why bananas are commonly passed out at marathon finish lines. Electrolyte water is another useful option to help you avoid dreaded muscle tightness.
Inner Tube9 of 10
Depending on the weather, pregnant women may enjoy a relaxing float in the pool or down a lazy river, but an inner tube can come in handy for at-home relaxation, too. If the mother-to-be is more comfortable sleeping on her stomach, try putting together a makeshift bed by laying an inner tube on the ground with a stack of pillows on either side. Mom can rest comfortably face down with her belly in the hole of the tube.