Swimming has been a popular form of exercise for centuries and is even deemed to be safe enough for pregnant women. The additional weight often causes women to avoid exercise during pregnancy and this causes them to miss out on the benefits of exercise. The buoyancy of the water helps to support the extra weight and prevents too much strain from being placed on bones and joints so that with swimming, pregnant women can stay fit and healthy.
Swimming While Pregnant
Women who have been used to swimming can continue during pregnancy. For those who are taking up the sport, you should start out slow rather than just diving in. Regardless of whether you are a pro or not, you should always start off with a warmup and finish up with some stretching to minimize the risk of injury. As you swim through your pregnancy, there are a few important things to remember at each stage.
- First Trimester: You can safely swim for about 20 to 30 minutes at a time, preferably every other day during this time. Should you suffer from severe morning sickness, then swimming during the morning hours helps to relieve this and is more effective than anti-nausea medications.
- Second Trimester: Don’t let your growing belly and weight keep you from staying fit. Most women give up exercising in this stage because workouts get harder. Swimming is a low-impact workout and can be done safely at all stages of pregnancy. You most likely will have to buy a new maternity swimsuit to maintain comfort, but you don’t have to stop exercising. The backstroke or front crawl are approved during this stage and will give you a good workout. Choose the stroke that is easiest on you and causes the least amount of strain.
- Third Trimester: As you reach the end and have the most weight gain, exercise gets typically gets harder to do. Because of the buoyancy of the water and the support, it gives you, this is not the case with swimming. Being in the water is also refreshing should your last few months fall during the summer heat. The breaststroke is the most comfortable at this later stage and works your back and chest muscles. These are the two muscle groups that become the most out of alignment during this stage. You should avoid the backstroke during your last three months, as it may cause breathing complications.
You should always consult your doctor first before starting any new exercise program, but for the most part, swimming is safe and a great way for pregnant women to stay in shape. Swimming keeps you healthy as well as your developing baby. There are, however, a few warning signs to look out for:
- Loss of fluids
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, or breathlessness
- Palpitations or irregular heartbeat
- Abdominal pain/cramps
Pregnant women can benefit from swimming because it works for several muscle groups at once and offers a low-impact cardiovascular exercise that is safe for mother and baby. You never even feel the extra weight and it seems as though you are getting fit almost effortlessly. Swimming delivers a full body workout risk of injury or unnecessary strain on your body. It also helps to increase circulation, improve muscle tone and strength and build endurance, which means you will be more than ready for labor and motherhood.