Is it Safe to Swim When You’re Pregnant?

Contrary to misconceptions and myths, swimming during pregnancy is perfectly ok and can be done during all three trimesters of pregnancy. In fact, for women with a healthy pregnancy record and no major complications, swimming could be just the right exercise to keep fit and drive away pregnancy related aches and pains.

Unlike other forms of exercises which are aggressive, swimming is a low-impact cardio vascular exercise that doesn’t put pressure on the joints and ligaments. Since the water makes the body feel lighter and supports it partially, there is no exertion on the limbs and the spine.

So, if you love the water, swimming may be the just the right exercise for you. Bobbing in water and feeling weightless even while carrying a huge bulge could be a fabulous experience.

However, just to be on the safe side, it is always advisable to check with your doctor.

Benefits of swimming during pregnancy

Swimming during pregnancy has some amazing benefits for both, the mom and unborn baby.

• Swimming helps in toning up, building muscle strength and improving circulation.
• It helps you fight fatigue and sleep better.
• It’s an effective exercise keep fit and burns calories without over-exerting yourself.
• Swimming also helps maintain your pregnancy weight under a healthy range.
• Water guards against overheating and prevents injury by supporting the ligaments and joints
• Swimming relieves all your pregnancy aches and pains
• Regular swimming is believed to reduce swelling and water retention
• Swimming increases your endurances levels. This can come in handy when pushing baby during labour

Tips to follow:

First Trimester: You can swim up to 30 minutes, if you have the energy. Swimming in the morning can help you beat your morning sickness.

Second Trimester: This is the time when your belly bulge has expanded. So you may have to shop for a more comfy swim suit.
There is no need to change your regimen however. So you could continue your regular sessions.

Third Trimester: Breast stroke is the most beneficial stroke during this stage as it puts less stress on the shoulders and spine – the two areas which get mis-aligned due to anatomical changes during pregnancy.

The myth about chlorine

There is a general belief that the chlorine in the pool water could affect the unborn baby’s health. This is not true. Swimming in chlorinated pools is safe as long as permissible quantities of chlorine is added in the pool.

Swimming in un-chlorinated pools can be a risk as the swimmer could get infections from the contaminated water without a disinfectant.

Safety practices to follow during swimming

Regular v/s beginner: If you’ve been a regular swimmer before your pregnancy, you can continue swimming without much alteration.
If you’re a beginner, tread carefully into the water. Don’t be in a hurry. Start slowly before gradually increasing your sessions. Always start with stretches, then warm up and cool down.

Don’t hold your breath: When you hold your breath, you are reducing oxygen supply to the baby – which is not good. So be sure to breathe continuously.

Be alert: If you ever feel dizzy, breathless, experience lower abdominal pain or feel faint uterine contractions, you must get out of the pool immediately and seek medical advice

Take care to choose your swimsuit: Choose a good, well-fitting swimsuit that allows you to breathe comfortably. A tight suit is not can cut off circulation.

Don’t overexert: Nobody knows your body and tolerance levels better than you. So the moment you start feeling tired, its best to quit for the day.

Stay hydrated: Even though swimming doesn’t make you feel thirsty like running, it is important to stay well-hydrated. Dehydration can lead to cramping and contractions. So be sure to drink a glass of water before, after and during swimming. In hot, humid weather, you may have to drink more. Adding some glucose is a healthy option, unless there is some restriction.

Choose a comfortable stroke: Choose a stroke that you are most comfortable with. All the strokes are safe during the first pregnancy. During late pregnancy, breaststroke is recommended as it strengthens the chest and back muscles.

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