Many women who are pregnant struggle with the changes that occur within their bodies. Pregnancy affects hormones, weight gain, fluid retention and physical activity. Swimming is the perfect exercise for pregnant women. Below we will go over in detail why swimming throughout your pregnancy is a good thing!
This is because it helps maintain weight, increases strength, lowers fatigue levels and is an exercise that is easy on your ligaments and joints, therefore providing the ultimate relaxation for pregnant women. In this blog we will discuss additional benefits of swimming while pregnant, precautions to take and tips throughout each trimester.
Benefits Of Swimming For Pregnant Women
- Eases sciatic pain
- Keeps you cool
- Reduces morning sickness
- Improves the labor and delivery process
- Relieves nausea
- Relieves ankle and foot swelling
These are just a few of the ways swimming can help during your pregnancy. While you are swimming, your baby is floating right along with you, instead of pressing down on your sciatic nerve. Being pregnant increases your hormone level drastically. It also makes your sweat glands work in overdrive. Spending time in the water will cool you off tremendously. Many women experience excessive ankle and foot swelling.
Submerging your limbs in the water helps push fluids from your tissues back into your veins. It then goes back into your kidneys and ultimately through your urine. Swimming will help your circulation boost, which keeps water from pooling in your lower limbs. During the labor and delivery process, you will feel contractions as your cervix begins to dilate. If you are a consistent swimmer, your breathing and muscles will become stronger. This will be useful during the labor process, especially with all the endurance you have built up from swimming.
Precautions While Swimming
- Step or slide into the pool
- Stay hydrated
- Fuel up on calories
- Breath normally
- Tread carefully
- Avoid hot tubs
- Check for water safety
- Wear sunscreen
The precautions stated above are a few steps you can take if you plan on swimming throughout your pregnancy. Why should you step or slide into the pool? Your baby is not equipped to handle the bubbles that will form inside your body when you change altitudes quickly.
This is also why diving into the pool while pregnant, is a potential hazard. Staying hydrated and fueling up on calories is super important because you are the provider of nutrients to your baby. Swimming is an activity that can drain you and make you work up a huge appetite.
Make sure you drink 500ml of water and eat around 300 calories prior to swimming. Hot tub lover? Spending more than 10 minutes in a hot tub can raise your body temperature above 101F degrees. For this reason you should avoid hot tubs because it can increase the risk for neural tube defects, brain and spinal cord abnormalities and may cause miscarriages. The last precaution that may need extra explaining from the above list is checking for water safety.
You should research the body of water you wish to swim in to prevent water borne illness. Most public beaches are fine but we suggest being cautious in smaller bodies of water. Try to stick with swimming in properly chlorinated pools.
Swimming During Your First Trimester
With your doctors approval, start your day off with a 30 minute swim! This will help to fight against morning sickness, give you time to clear your mind and help maintain your pre-pregnancy body.
Swimming During Your Second Trimester
During this trimester your baby has grown, which will make your body heavier. You may feel unmotivated to workout and swim. It is important to not change your routine too much during this period. If you are experiencing more back pain than usual, we suggest doing the backstroke technique in the water. The backstroke is one of the easiest strokes to learn. This stroke will help you lie on your back and will not affect your blood flow.
Swimming During Your Third Trimester
During this trimester you may begin to experience numbness in legs and feet, intense backaches and shortness of breath. To relieve some of this stress and discomfort, we suggest doing the breaststroke technique in the water. This move does not require that much effort and is very easy on the body. Using a snorkel can also help to relieve neck pressure.
Exercising during pregnancy can be a sensitive topic with plenty of room open for argument and discussion. Many forms of exercise are considered too aggressive, thus, deeming it too dangerous to do while pregnant. Pregnancy is extremely hard on a woman’s back, pelvic floor, knees and the abdomen. Swimming is considered a very low impact sport. Didn’t swim before your pregnancy?
We suggest starting off slow and staying within shallow waters. You also can sign up for adult swim lessons! It is important that you inform your instructor if you are pregnant. Overall, swimming can be a great form of self care for expecting mothers. Self care leads to happier and healthier mothers, which leads to happier and healthier families.
We hope you enjoyed this article on why swimming throughout your pregnancy is beneficial!