During the summer months there are all types of activities we love doing. One of the biggest activities people love doing is swimming. If you’re pregnant, you may be wondering if swimming is still right for you. Swimming while pregnant has many benefits. It’s a wonderful way to work out without putting stress on the body. It’s a low resistance activity making it low impact and gentle on the body. It works both of your large muscle groups (arms & legs) helping you to burn more calories! That alone can help you keep your pregnancy weight in a healthy range.
Swimming can also strengthen your heart. It makes the heart more efficient at pumping while improving circulation to the body. This also helps to boost oxygen levels in the blood. Since swimming has such a low impact on the body, it can help prevent injuries by supporting the joints and ligaments. It can also counteract the strain on your back from your expanding belly. During pregnancy the shoulders and spine round forward making the pelvis tilt out of alignment. Swimming strengthens these muscles while offsetting these tendencies.
Start out slowly. Be cautious not to overexert yourself. How long you swim depends on your past activity level. Swimming 20-30 minutes a day is considered safe for women who exercised before their pregnancy. Consult your doctor if you didn’t exercise prior to your pregnancy. Make sure to properly stretch & warm up before your swim session. Once you finish swimming make sure to cool your body down as well. As always during pregnancy, stay hydrated! Drink a glass of water before and after swimming. Drink more if it’s hot and humid.
1st Trimester Tips
If you have the energy swim in the early morning. An early morning swim can energize you for the day and combat morning nausea. Keep it fun by using kick boards, swim noodles, or other fun pool equipment. Check your area for salt water pools if chlorine makes you nauseous or causes skin & eye discomfort
2nd Trimester Tips
Since swimming is a low impact activity, you won’t have to limit the time swimming as you reach the 2nd trimester. Water creates buoyancy making you feel almost weightless. This allows you to do the backstroke without impairing the blood flow to the baby like it would if you were on dry land.
3rd Trimester Tips
During the last few weeks of pregnancy, finding comfort is everything. Try different strokes to see what is comfortable for your body. Use a paddle board to help support your upper body. Using a snorkel can relieve pressure on your neck when you bob up & down for air. If you have sore or tight muscles try walking in shallow water. Move your arms through the water if you want a little resistance. If you plan on doing a lot of swimming, invest in a maternity swim suit. A maternity swim suit can accommodate your expanding belly and ease any discomfort in that region. Lastly, but certainly not the least, take as many breaks as you need. It is very important that you do not overexert yourself.
With summer in full swing, who doesn’t want to go to the pool. Like mentioned earlier, swimming is a great activity for pregnant women. This is one thing you don’t have to pass up during your pregnancy. Swimming is a great way to get blood flowing and it has very few precautions. If the water is too hot or too cold avoid it. Hot water can easily raise your body temperature to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. An elevated body temperature can lead to pregnancy complications. The ideal temperature for swimming outside 78-84 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want to swim in your local lake make sure to find out if the water is clean. It’s not safe for anyone to swim in contaminated water, especially while pregnant.
Other than that, grab your swimsuit and have some fun this summer. If plain old swimming doesn’t get you excited try a low impact water aerobics class. You can find these classes at your local YMCA, local gym with a pool, or just look up local pregnancy classes. If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing, try a Watsu massage. This massage is well suited for pregnant women, especially if you can’t get comfortable on a massage table. The massage begins in a warm pool with a massage therapist holding your body in chest-deep water. The massage therapist will begin massaging and stretching the body throughout the duration of the massage. So, whether you want to get active and moving around or relax and take it easy, swimming has something for everyone. Make sure to be safe, stay hydrated, and have fun!