The benefits of swimming during pregnancy are numerous. It is one of the safest and most effective methods for exercising during pregnancy. You can get some low-impact aerobic exercise in the pool by swimming some laps or even by swimming the breaststroke and improving your blood circulation and oxygen levels, which your body requires to stay healthy during pregnancy.
As you are weightless in the water, swimming works every muscle in your body. Since you can continue swimming during pregnancy, it is a safe and comfortable activity. While you are pregnant, floating in the water is a wonderful experience!
Swimming while pregnant provides many benefits, and we contacted experts to find out more.
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Swimming In Pregnancy: Is it Safe?
The good news is that swimming while pregnant isn’t particularly dangerous. A reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Lucky Sekhon, writes, “[Swimming] is a low-risk activity.”
If you’re walking on a slippery, wet deck or getting out of the pool, Dr. Sekhon advises taking extra precautions. When pregnant, using the pool stairs makes sense.
Swimming During Pregnancy – When Is It Unsafe?
It is a good idea to keep a few safety precautions in mind when swimming with an expectant mother.
Overheating can cause complications in pregnant women, so it’s not a good idea to soak in extremely hot water [and] to avoid hot tubs.
In pregnancy, chlorinated pools are perfectly safe, but you should ensure that any body of water you swim in is clean and won’t expose you to any water-borne illnesses. Lakes and oceans are not closed to swimmers because of this. Make sure there is no water anywhere that is contaminated in any way possible before you step into it.
Even though swimming is usually safe during pregnancy, you should always consult your doctor to get permission to exercise in any capacity.
These are some of the benefits of swimming while pregnant:
Low-impact exercises such as swimming can soothe pregnancy-related aches and pains, making it an excellent low-impact exercise.
A board-certified orthopedic surgeon from Austin, TX, Barbara Bergin, MD, says swimming is one of the best exercises in general. A woman who is pregnant gains a lot of weight, which increases the burden on her joints when bearing weight. This causes the joints to be more delicate while pregnant.”
According to Bergin, many pregnant women experience swelling in their legs due to pregnancy, which becomes worse after standing and walking for extended periods of time. She says non-weight-bearing exercises don’t contribute to swelling, and may even reduce it.
Related: Yoga during pregnancy
While pregnant, swimming has several benefits, including:
- Other types of exercise may aggravate nausea. Walking relieves nausea.
- Prevents overheating while exercising while keeping you cool.
- You will feel much-needed relief from the pressure applied to your lower back and your baby bump.
- Blood circulation is improved.
- Reduces swelling and discomfort in the lower limbs.
- Muscles of the core of the abdomen are strengthened.
- Ensures that there are no diastase recti.
- Provides relief from back pain.
- Fitness and flexibility can be improved.
- Pregnancy, labor, and delivery can be easier and smoother.
Which Trimester Is Best for Swimming?
All trimesters of pregnancy are safe and beneficial for swimming. Water enhances your buoyancy, making it easy for you to continue playing even if you have a growing belly; this makes it possible for you to keep playing this sport.
It is possible that swimming or wading in a lake or pool will provide specific benefits to your pregnancy in different trimesters, as well as lasting benefits.
Pregnant women can benefit from swimming for the following reasons:
- During the first trimester, alleviate nausea and fatigue.
- In the second trimester, round ligament pain associated with a rapidly growing belly can be alleviated.
- During the third trimester, reduce swelling and discomfort in the feet and ankles.
Exercise can often become more difficult as your pregnancy progresses. As a weight gainer, swimming is the only exception since the water always keeps you buoyant. As a result, getting in the water during the third trimester has unique benefits. (Just be sure you are not dilated near the end by checking with your healthcare provider.)
Later in pregnancy, knee pain is common when getting up from a sitting position, and climbing stairs. Exercises such as climbing stairs, walking uphill, and squatting may become painful or just plain inefficient if you gain weight. Staying active throughout all nine months can be enjoyable with swimming.
Swimming as Exercise: Where and How to Start
Aerobic exercise can be easily achieved by swimming laps. You can follow your regular workout if you have previously swum laps, but pay attention to your body’s signals. Swimming may take longer or slow down due to fatigue during pregnancy. Be aware of how you feel instead of pushing yourself and make adjustments as necessary.
You may try different strokes to see what feels best to you if you are familiar with them. It may be that you’d feel more comfortable with a nice, easy breaststroke for now, even if the butterfly is your favorite stroke. Also, just turn your head above the water and touch the wall instead of taking the flip turns.
As long as your doctor allows it, you are free to swim at top speed during pregnancy, but this is dependent on how you feel.
It is best not to jump into this too fast if you have never swum athletically. As a general rule, women who are pregnant should exercise caution when they are new to a particular exercise regime. Many experts recommend sticking with workouts you’ve done previously.
In contrast to that, you can also walk around in the water or even just swim for fun. In the water, you will still experience weightlessness, and any movement you make will engage different muscles throughout your body.