Aches and pains are common when a woman is pregnant. There are major bodily changes occurring during your nine months of pregnancy, and most of them are not pleasant. And one thing that many first-time moms-to-be ask is if swimming while pregnant is acceptable.
The good news is that you can swim while pregnant without much worry in most cases.
But there are times when swimming may not be a good thing.
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When Swimming While Pregnant Isn’t a Good Idea
There are times when you want to swim, and times when it really isn’t in your best interest. The following situations or scenarios are when swimming isn’t recommended:
- High-risk: if you have a high-risk pregnancy, it may be a good idea to stay out of the water. The exercise may not be good for the baby. Always consult with your medical professional before partaking in a strenuous activity while pregnant – even swimming – if you’re a high-risk pregnancy.
- Extreme Temperatures: Pregnancy requires you to swim in proper water temperature. You should not swim in water that is very hot or very cold. Even relaxing in a hot tub may not be good for the baby.
These are the main two scenarios when you wouldn’t want to swim while pregnant. Another concern is chlorine, and this isn’t an issue unless the pool has been shocked improperly. If chlorine levels are sufficient and not too high, swimming is safe.
Anyone with heart issues may want to consult with their doctor before swimming while pregnant to ensure that they don’t over-exert themselves.
Benefits of Swimming While Pregnant
The good news is that water can be good for pregnant women.
1. Water Loosens the Muscles
Water is buoyant, and you weigh a tenth of what you weigh on land. You can stretch out your legs and arms and alleviate those tight muscles. It’s a very relaxing time, and the extra bit of exercise is good for you and the baby.
2. Water Relieves Swelling
Women’s feet and ankles tend to swell up when they’re pregnant. It’s understandable that your body swells since you’ve gained weight, retain more fluid and aren’t as mobile as you once were. When you swim, you’ll be submersing your limbs, which actually pushes the fluid in your body back through your veins.
Don’t worry, the fluid will go through the kidneys before being urinated.
Swimming also increases blood circulation in the body. All of this allows your ankles and feet to eliminate much of the retained fluid, leaving you feeling more comfortable.
3. Swimming is Great Exercise
Women love to exercise when they’re pregnant now more than ever before. The reason women are exercising more is that they don’t want to keep the baby weight for a long time, and they want to keep in good shape.
When you swim, you’ll be improving the muscles that help alleviate joint and ligament pain.
Exercise will help you prevent injury, enhance your sleep, and burn calories all at the same time. Of course, you don’t want to overexert yourself, but a good 30 minute or even an hour swim can provide you with great relief while also being good for the body. You’ll also feel less bloated.
Another benefit of the added exercise is that it will help improve your labor and make delivery a little easier. Added muscle tone and endurance will be needed when delivering, and if you are in labor for a long time, you’ll be glad that you decided to swim.
4. Swimming Reduces Pains and Aches
Aches and pains become the norm when you’re pregnant. The majority of women that swim while they’re pregnant state that it helps them relieve many of these aches and pains. First and foremost, the swelling is reduced, meaning that the pregnant woman no longer needs to carry such a heavy load on her legs and ankles – or her back.
Loosening up the muscles is also a welcomed benefit because it allows a woman to relieve tension, stress and even anxiety. Strengthening the muscles during swimming reduces pressure on the knees, hips and various other joints – another bonus.
Women that get hot flashes while pregnant also find that the water helps them regulate their body temperature a little further. You’ll be able to lower your body’s temperature when it’s too high, and this is a major relief. Don’t forget that swimming tires you out, so you can enjoy an overall better night while sleeping.
Tips for Swimming by Trimester
There are tips you can follow when swimming by trimester. A few of the most important tips include:
- First-trimester: During the first-trimester, you can swim 30 minutes a day (it’s recommended) to improve strength and make the following trimesters easier to deal with.
- Second-trimester: This is the trimester that many new moms will decide to stop swimming in. Adjust your swimming style to doing a backstroke and make sure that you have a maternity swimsuit so that you’re more comfortable in the water.
- Third-trimester: You’re likely to be tight, sore and cranky during your third-trimester. A breaststroke is recommended at this time as it will elongate the muscles, reduce stress on the back and even help alleviate neck pain. At this point in your pregnancy, you want to avoid doing any backstrokes.
Your body is still in a fragile state when pregnant, so there are a few things that you’ll want to watch out for at this time. If you’re currently pregnant and swimming, you should stop swimming if you experience any of the following:
All women that experience the above should immediately stop swimming and consult with their medical physician. If swimming does not provide the benefits above, you can choose to do yoga or another form of exercise that will keep you limber, healthy and happy.
But for most women, swimming while pregnant provides the most relief, is less strenuous than other exercises and is actually very beneficial all throughout the pregnancy.