Swimming and Pregnancy: Is It Beneficial?
Many expectant mothers may not know whether or not they should engage in swimming while they are pregnant. When you’re pregnant, especially in the heat of summer, a nice easy swim can make you feel much better.
Pregnant women do participate in swimming because there are many benefits for them and for the unborn child, exercise and being healthy are just two of the many. The fact is that swimming when you’re pregnant is one of the safest aerobic activities that you can take part in.
It is possible to swim every day during your pregnancy, and we recommend that you do so, or at least a few times a week. You will notice the differences almost immediately. If you were a swimmer before the pregnancy, there is no reason why you can’t keep up the same routine while you are pregnant or even swimming more than you did can keep you healthy throughout your entire pregnancy.
Check out the seven ways that swimming can benefit expectant moms and unborn babies.
Keeps your heart and lungs healthy
By swimming when you are pregnant it can help you to strengthen your heart, making it more proficient at pumping blood as it should. Which in return can improve entire body circulation and help to elevate oxygen levels in your bloodstream. Swimming also helps to strengthen your lungs when you practice the proper breathing techniques.
Helps larger muscle groups
This means your arm and leg muscles, the largest muscles in the body. Back strain, muscle pain, cramping, joint pain, all of these are part of pregnancy. When swimming, the water helps to alleviate the pain by giving you the weightlessness feeling and added buoyancy. It also helps to keep your body overheating from the added weight that you are carrying. Swimming can also help you keep your weight at a more healthy level during your pregnancy.
By using swimming as an exercise during pregnancy, you can help your body to tone its muscles from head to toe. Toned muscles can make it that much easier to get back to your normal weight after the pregnancy. You remember that girly figure you once had right?
Lowers your blood pressure and blood sugar
Unfortunately, pregnant women are prone to have high blood pressure. The added stress to the body and the added weight of the baby is what causes that rise in blood pressure for pregnant women. By taking a swim, your blood pressure can remain at a more acceptable level, thanks to the help with circulation and relief from swelling that swimming can give pregnant women.
Even if you never had blood sugar problems before your pregnancy, it is possible that you may end up with some during your pregnancy. But by swimming regularly, your insulin levels can remain normal and within the proper range and allow you to steer clear of any blood sugar problems that often arise during pregnancy.
Stress relief and aids in sleeping
You may be as fit as a fiddle during your pregnancy, but stress can still rear its ugly head. There is no better way to relieve stress, whether it is mental or physical, than to take a swim in the pool or lake or river, whichever you fancy the most. Should you decide to take a dip in the lake or river instead of a pool, check with your physician about any precautions that should be taken to keep bacteria at bay during your pregnancy. Swimming for just 20 minutes can help relieve the stress that your body is going through, and it can work wonders for any mental stress you are experiencing.
Many pregnant women have trouble sleeping for various reasons, swimming can also help eliminate sleeplessness in pregnant women. Why? Because it works your muscles, relaxes your stress, and as you get further into your pregnancy, you may find that you become more and more tired due to a variety of reasons, swimming can help you with any of these ailments that may affect your sleep during your pregnancy.
While swimming is one of the safest forms of exercise when you’re expecting, it can tire you out because all of your muscles and body parts are being used and the result is a vigorous workout that helps you sleep through the night.
The ideal amount of time for exercise is 20-30 minutes a day, every day, for pregnant women. Not a fun time, but it is doctor recommended. But did you know that swimming can help relieve labor and make it easier for you during the birth?
The reason for this is because it maintains your muscle control and aids in endurance, helping to ensure that your muscles are set to go when delivery time comes around. Pretty great that an exercise can do that!
For a pregnant woman, swollen hands, swollen ankles, and swollen legs are common no matter how healthy you are. These ailments come along with any pregnancy but swimming can help to reduce them.
While swimming, you will be submerging your limbs in the water. The water will help to push the body fluids back to where they belong, through your veins. This, of course, will reduce the swelling that you are experiencing.
Relieves morning sickness and nausea
Another exciting part of being pregnant is experiencing morning sickness and nausea. Most pregnant women just deal with it and ride it out until it fades away, but swimming can actually help reduce morning sickness and nausea. While it may not be a complete cure for the ailments, being in the water can greatly reduce morning sickness and nausea for some expectant women. The only way to find out if it will work for you is to try it and see what happens.
As with every exercise regimen, it’s best to check with your physician before beginning a new one, if you hadn’t already been a swimmer. If you can’t swim, some classes are specialized and targeted for pregnant women wanting to learn how to swim.
By all means, if swimming as exercise, while you’re pregnant, sounds good then by all means sign up for classes and learn. The results will be beneficial to you and your child.
There are, however, a few things that you should steer clear of doing when swimming while you are pregnant. They may be pretty obvious, but at least worth mentioning for the daredevils that might be lurking.
- Do not dive into the water
- Do not use a diving board at all
- Avoid hot tubs
- Avoid contaminated waters
- Be mindful of wet surfaces
While the benefits of swimming during pregnancy are many, you should not push yourself beyond your limits, do not overexert yourself. Especially when your body is in the fragile state of pregnancy, so be sure that if you experience any of the following symptoms, you stop swimming immediately and contact your physician.
- Vaginal bleeding
- Fluid loss
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
Swimming when you are pregnant may be good exercise, but it is not for everyone. If your pregnancy is considered anything outside of the norm, be sure to consult with your doctor whether or not it is an exercise you should consider participating in.