Swimming whilst in a state of pregnancy is safe for both you and your child provided that you follow our advice. It is also a good practice to consult your midwife regarding any queries that you may have.
Your pregnancy should not deprive you of your love for swimming. This guide will allow you to enjoy your swimming sessions whilst pregnant. Read on to learn if it is safe to swim during pregnancy, the benefits of this practice and the precautions you should take.
Is Swimming Safe during Pregnancy?
Yes. It is completely safe to swim whilst pregnant. You should have a target of exercising on a daily basis to ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy. If you are new to swimming then it is advised that you first confirm with your doctor, physiotherapist or midwife.
Swimming assists in keeping you active which, in turn, makes it easy for you to adjust to pregnancy. Sometimes it may even aid in making you feel comfortable with the changes that your body will be facing.
Should I Worry about Chemicals Used in Swimming Pools ?
You might find yourself being concerned with the affects of exposure to chemicals like chlorine that are used for the pools hygienic purposes. Chemicals like chlorine are known to have harmful effects if present in abundance; however, swimming pools are generally controlled with precaution.
Therefore, provided that the chemical levels are being kept under observation (which is generally the case if it’s a public pool), there is no reason to worry about it harming your baby. Studies have proved that the chemicals present in the swimming pools do not have any harmful effects on the mother or the baby.
Benefits of Swimming during Pregnancy
1. Cardiovascular Benefits
Any form of aerobic exercise whilst pregnant aids in boosting the body’s tendency to develop and make use of oxygen which is essential for both you and the baby. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise since it utilizes both the large muscle groups consisting of the arms and legs. Though the activity proves to be of a low-impact nature, swimming actually delivers great cardiovascular advantages and enables pregnant women to feel less heavy regardless of the surplus pounds that they are carrying with pregnancy.
2. Blood Circulation and General Well-being
Swimming also aids in blood circulation, boosts the muscles strength and tone and helps develop tolerance. Swimming aids in fighting the uncomfortable back pain that is often associated with the increasing belly. The state of being pregnant pushes the spine and the shoulders to circle forward and the pelvis to move out of its aligned position; however, swimming gradually gives the muscles strength and makes the body less prone to changing that way.
3. Burning Calories and Providing Energy
If you swim, you will burn off calories and will feel less lethargic. You will also be able to get better sleep and will have a tendency to cope with the physical and emotional challenges accompanied with pregnancy. Swimming also aids in keeping your weight balanced and some women claim that it aids in making them experience less bloating.
4. Other Benefits
- The water in the pool also saves your body from overheating and gives support to the ligaments and joints whilst you exercise; thus helping in prevention of any casualty.
- Swimming gives the functioning of the heart and the lungs a positive boost and hence helps reduce swelling and fluid retention. Swimming also helps the body in coping with the aches and pains associated with pregnancy.
Safety Tips for Swimming during Pregnancy
1. General Tips
If you have not swum before, it is fine for you to swim but better if you can consult your midwife or doctor beforehand. Begin with slow stretches whilst gradually warming up and cooling down. Ensure that you do not overstrain yourself.
Whilst swimming, drinking water can easily be neglected. According to James M. Pivarnik, Ph.D of Michigan State University, pregnant women are advised to drink an 8-ounce glass prior to their swimming session, another glass after 20 minutes and one once you are out of the pool. Increase these when the weather gets hotter.
2. Tips for First Trimester
Provided you have the energy to do so, swim for a minimum of 30 minutes during the days of the week. If you start your day with the swimming session, it may help in fighting the nauseous feelings and will help keep you energetic throughout the day.
3. Tips for Second Trimester
Pregnancy does not demand of you to eliminate the swimming sessions as you grow because it actually proves to go smoothly with expectant mothers. The water’s buoyancy cuts down the effects of gravity on the body enabling you to lie on your back and carry out the backstroke without any risk of impaired blood flow.
You are less likely to require an alteration in your regimen; however, it is advised that you purchase a maternity swimsuit so that you are comfortable swimming with your growing belly.
4. Tips for Third Trimester
The third trimester lays emphasis on the breaststroke since it can prove to be the most beneficial for the body. It helps elongate the chest muscles and shortens the back muscles. When bobbing up and down for air, take help from a snorkel to relieve the pressure exerted on the neck.
After a period of 16 weeks, swimming on your back could cause a sense of discomfort since the pressure is exerted on the vena cava due to the weight of the uterus. If you happen to experience discomfort, you should quit this stroke straight away.
5. More Tips and Precautions
- Do not forget to eat healthy. You would not require extra supplementation provided that you have a well-balanced diet and your blood test results are positive.
- If you happen to train for a period of 30 minutes or more, make sure you drink enough fluids with some glucose.
- If you experience light-headedness, dizziness or feel an irregular heartbeat along with any other change in the body’s functioning that may be causing pain and discomfort, leave the pool immediately and seek help from an expert.
- If you have a history of three or more miscarriages, early labour, a weak cervix, multiple pregnancies, ruptured membranes or any heart or lung disease then you are not advised to swim.