Life Style, Parenthood

Benefits of Swimming When Pregnant

When it comes to exercising during pregnancy, swimming is one of the safest and most beneficial choices. Pulling a few freestyle laps or maybe even breaststroke is a fun way to get some low-impact aerobic exercise while improving your circulation and boosting your oxygen levels—exactly what your body needs when you are expecting.

Swimming works every muscle in your body, and since you are weightless in the water, it’s an exercise you can safely and comfortably continue throughout your entire pregnancy. There is nothing like floating in refreshing water when you are pregnant!

We reached out to the experts to learn more about the benefits of swimming while pregnant.

Is Swimming Safe During Pregnancy?

We have good news: there really aren’t any specific dangers when it comes to taking a swim while pregnant. “[Swimming] is a low-impact sport where there is no risk of a fall or high-impact injury,” explains Lucky Sekhon, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist, infertility specialist, and board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist.

Dr. Sekhon advises taking extra caution when walking on a slippery, wet pool deck or when climbing out of the pool. It is a good idea to use the pool stairs when pregnant.

Benefits of Swimming While Pregnant

Swimming is a wonderfully soothing form of low-impact exercise that can relieve many of the common aches and pains of pregnancy.

“Swimming is a great exercise in general,”. “It takes the pressure off of the weight-bearing joints, so that would go double for a pregnant woman. Many women gain a lot of weight when they are pregnant. This puts additional strain on the weight-bearing joints of the body.”

  • Relieves nausea, which may be aggravated by other forms of exercise.
  • Helps to keep you cool while exercising and prevents overheating.
  • The buoyancy takes the pressure off your baby bump and lowers back, providing much-needed relief.
  • Improves blood circulation. 
  • Relieves lower limb swelling and discomfort.
  • Strengthens core abdominal muscles.
  • Prevents diastasis recti.
  • Relieves back pain.
  • Can improve cardiovascular health and flexibility.
  • Can lead to an easier, smoother pregnancy and labor and delivery.

How to Get Started Swimming for Exercise

Lap swimming is an easy way to get aerobic exercise. If you have swum laps before, you can follow your regular workout but listen to your body’s cues. Pregnancy can tire you out and you may swim at a slower pace than usual or take more breaks. Rather than pushing yourself, really pay attention to how you feel and adjust as necessary.

If you are familiar with a variety of strokes, try them out and see what feels best. If the butterfly is your favorite stroke, you may find that a nice, easy breaststroke suits you better for now. You also may want to drop the flip turns and instead just touch the wall and turn around with your head above water.

Every pregnancy is different, though; and if you feel great swimming at top speed, there is no reason not to, as long as your doctor agrees.

If you haven’t swum athletically before, don’t jump into this too fast. As a rule, starting new types of exercise while pregnant should be done with caution. It is often recommended to stick with workouts that you have done before.

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