Swimming, as well known, is a great exercise. It not only helps you stay fit, but also acts as a great stress buster. However, if you are pregnant, it might leave you wondering if it is safe to swim. Unlike west, it is not conventional to see a fully pregnant woman wearing a bikini and in a pool in India. So if you have any inhibitions around it, we are here to break it for you.
Swimming During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?
Yes it is. Swimming is a great way to keep yourself fit, healthy and well during your pregnancy. However, this comes with few conditions as enlisted below:
- If you have a high-risk pregnancy, or any kind of pregnancy complication, then you need to take medical advice before swimming
- You can continue swimming if you were already a good swimmer. However, start with short sessions after warming up and build the session strength gradually
- You can even learn to swim, if you are up for it and do not feel any discomfort whatsoever. Do seek your doctor’s advice though
- However, it is not a good idea to start swimming if you have not swam for a while, as you might experience muscle cramps. Hence, listening to your body would be best
What Are The Benefits Of Swimming During Pregnancy
There are multiple benefits for swimming during pregnancy:
- It is a great prenatal aerobic exercise, as it is low impact (and hence will not hurt your joints) and at the same time it is cardiovascular (improves body’s utilization of oxygen)
- It helps to tone your muscles and improve blood circulation
- It can ease the stress on your spinal area caused due to the forward expansion of your waist region
- Like any good cardiovascular exercise, it will help you feel more energetic during the day and sleep better during the night
- It helps you manage your weight
- It can reduce swelling in your limps (because of being submersed in water and increased blood circulation due to movement)
- It can help reduce your body heat if summer temperatures are soaring high
- It also helps you feel better about your body as it balances the increase in weight effortlessly
- Swimming also helps you build endurance levels and reduces swelling and fluid retention
- All the above factors cannot only help you have a healthy pregnancy, but it can also improve your labor and delivery experience
Are There Any Risks If I Swim During Pregnancy?
However, the label do not come without warnings.
- Swimming in a non-chlorinated pool is not a good idea as it increases the risk of spreading infections
- Swimming in a heavily-chlorinated pool is also not a good idea as the heavy concentration of chemicals are believed to increase chances of birth defects and may cause allergies in your child. If it is not possible for you to monitor the chemical concentration in the pool water, it might be a better idea to stay away
That said, if you are confident about the cleanliness of your pool, you can go ahead and wear your swimwear. But we urge you to take the below mentioned safety tips seriously.
Precautions To Be Taken While Swimming During Pregnancy
- Ensure to have a good warm-up and gradual cool down before and after your swimming respectively
- Start slow after pregnancy, even if you are an advanced swimmer
- Hydrate yourself continuously. Since you might not feel thirsty when in pool, create a routine where you drink well enough before and after your swim (also during your swim, if you are in pool for over 30 minutes)
- Choose the type and form of swimming carefully:
- During 1st trimester, it is beneficial to swim in the morning as it can reduce morning sickness and lethargy.
- During 2nd trimester, you can be more flexible with any swimming styles and even do back strokes without risking back injury (as you feel weightless in water)
- During 3rd trimester, it is advisable to do breast stroke as it eases back muscles and uses more of chest muscles
- Wear appropriate swimwear. There are maternity swimwear available which you might have to consider in 2nd and 3rd trimesters
- Ensure you are breathing steadily while swimming
- Just like any other exercise, a good pre-workout meal is necessary for swimming as well
- Watch out for slippery floors around the swimming pool and near in shower area
When Not To Swim During Pregnancy?
While you are swimming, if you experience any of the following, it is highly advisable to stop swimming and rush to emergency room of a hospital:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Contractions in uterus
- Fluid break
- Pain in stomach region
- Dizziness / breathlessness
Swimming can be a great way to keep yourself moving and build your endurance levels during pregnancy, and it also helps yu aoim for a natural,normal delivery. Plus, it has the added advantage of not heating you up like other aerobic exercises.
Click here to read about exercises that can help you have a normal birth.
Click here to know when you should not exercise during pregnancy.