Is Swimming good for Pregnancy?
Not many know how swimming is beneficial during pregnancy as well as post pregnancy. It not only improves mother’s health but also improves baby’s health. However, during pregnancy, such exercise must be done only with proper knowledge and under proper supervision. And after post pregnancy, swimming will help the mother to regain the strength and fitness.
For the moms who want to undertake swimming as exercise, this article will help you learn about its benefits, how it should be done safely and precautions that should be taken.
Health Benefits of Swimming during Pregnancy
There are plenty of reasons why swimming is the best exercise during pregnancy. It in itself is a complete exercise for the whole body. It constitutes the movement of both legs and hands. Let’s see how it helps a pregnant woman:
The biggest issue pregnant women face is swelling of joints, hands, feet, back pain etc. When you go for a swim, the buoyancy of water makes you feel light. The weightlessness relives pressure on joints and muscles. Thus, relaxing the body to a great extent.
- Improves Cardiovascular Activity
The biggest factor that determines the health of the fetus is the heart. If the heart is healthy, the blood circulation is also healthy. When you swim for a short period of time, it stimulates heartbeat for short period which ensures that heart is working at optimum capacity. And after pregnancy, swimming will help the mother to regain the strength and endurance.
- Keeps the body temperature in check
During pregnancy, blood supply to the skin is higher which increase the body temperature. By taking a simple plunge into the cold water of a swimming pool, will bring the body temperature down.
- Prevents Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is an everyday issue for a pregnant woman. Cold water is known to be a great remedy for nausea. Hence, going for swimming every day in the morning will help you fight the morning sickness.
- Keeps the mother happy
Swimming is a type of physical exercise. When we physically do something, our body releases a hormone called endorphin. It is also called a happy hormone. So, this hormone will help the mother to stay in good mood. In addition, swimming is a great way to socialize with someone which also keeps the mother motivated.
Swimming Exercises for Each Trimester
- During the First Trimester
Starting your day with a swim can really help you with the morning nausea so try swimming for half an hour every morning. But you should check with your doctor to make sure if you can swim or not
- During the Second Trimester
As your pregnancy matures, possibly your back will start to act up. In such a scenario you should consider backstroke as your swimming style. This will help you lye on your back for long without obstructing the blood flow
- During the Third Trimester
During the final three months of pregnancy stress on your back muscles and neck pressure increases. It is best to perform the breaststroke to alleviate stress. Using a snorkel will help with the neck pressure.
What to wear while Swimming?
During pregnancy size of your belly will keep on increasing till they are bloated quite enough. So do you keep on buying new suits everytime you can’t get in them? No! You don’t need to but you can pick a two-piece suit that will fit your stomach no matter the size of it. Or alternatively, you can buy a maternity swimwear.
Swimming Strokes Recommended by Doctors during pregnancy
- Butterfly stroke
If you are not a swimming expert don’t go for butterfly stroke as it places stress on the spine besides it’s the most difficult stroke there is. So it is not the stroke to get along with during pregnancy.
- Freestyle stroke
If you have been doing it right, that is, twisting torso, shoulders, and hips as one then it is the best and easiest stroke to perform. But please be cautious about not to twist your torso too much.
Less the effort to swim the better it is for expectant mums. If you believe that then Breaststroke is one of the best strokes as it takes minimum effort to perform. It is common during pregnancy to get a tendency to misalign shoulder, spine, and pelvis. Breaststroke counteracts the tendency by expanding the chest muscles while shortening the back muscles.
Usually, with a baby in the womb, it’s advised against being on back as it compresses the inferior vena cava (a vain from the lower body to heart) but swimming on back as no such effects as effects of gravity are reduced in water
Precautions to take during Swimming
Any harm you do to your body can also harm the child you are carrying in your womb. As you can see, there are plenty of health benefits of swimming. But there are a few things that you must know, to keep you and your baby safe. So here is our list of precautions you must take:
- The first thing, you must do before you join any swimming club, consults your doctor. Understand your vitals and condition first. If anything is off the chart or doesn’t seem fit, avoid going to a swimming pool. Green signal from your doctor should be your first priority.
- Another important thing to understand is the time of your pregnancy. First few months is fine, you can swim the way you like. But once you reach to the last 2-3 months of pregnancy, not every stroke is recommended. According to experts, during later part of pregnancy, breaststroke is fine but backstroke should be avoided as it could exert pressure on the abdomen.
- It is always a good idea to have someone look over you while you are swimming because just in case if you need help, trainers are available nearby.
- Don’t go for strokes that take too much effort as straining yourself too much is not advisable during pregnancy.
- It is best if you keep out of unknown waters as they may be contaminated. Such water if accidentally taken in, can cause harm to you as well as the baby.
- After pregnancy, you can make your swimming exercise routine a little tough to regain your strength and endurance. Best way to do that is hiring a physical trainer that has experience with swimming pool exercises.
- Avoid open swimming pools as you will be exposed to heat. Indoor pools with Temperature Controlled system like that of Fitso would be a great choice for pregnant women.
Suggested Swimming Activities For A Pregnant Woman
For pregnant women, it is not advised to do heavy exercises like weight lifting or leg swing. The doctor recommends a few simple laps of swimming pool for 15-20 minutes is just fine. If you find completing a lap too exertive, you can try walking in waist-deep water for 10-15 minutes. Water creates enough resistant to raise your heartbeat and work your muscles.
Aqua yoga has become a popular activity. You can find a coach or a class that conducts aqua yoga classes for pregnant women. Make sure that aqua yoga is specifically for a pregnant woman because there are plenty of exercises that might not suit a pregnant woman.
Swimming is fun and healthy activity for anyone if done right. Especially for a pregnant woman, a healthy routine would be the key. Make a routine of exercises that you want to do in a swimming pool. Keep the duration up to 20 minutes only. And always carry a healthy snack and water bottle with you to keep yourself fed and hydrated.
If you feel any complication or discomfort during exercise, quit the activity and immediately consult your doctor.