Swimming during pregnancy can be a sensitive subject with plenty of arguments for and against. Is it essential for fitness or is it best to avoid?
Any type of aerobic exercise during pregnancy can benefit you and your baby, by strengthening your heart and making it more efficient at pumping blood. This improves circulation to your whole body and boosts oxygen levels in your blood.
But when you’re carrying upwards of 20 extra pounds, the last thing you may be in the mood for is exercise. That is why swimming may be the best solution for you. When you are in a pool (or any other body of water, for that matter) you weigh just a tenth of what you do on land. Which means bobbing weightlessly, feeling both lighter and more limber, can be a real treat.
6 Benefits Of Swimming While Pregnant
1. 30 Minutes Prenatal Exercise
Swimming is a gentle way to work toward your goal of 30 minutes workout without aggravating your loosening joints. You will burn calories, which will help you to manage your weight gain.
2. Relieves Ankle And Foot Swelling
Submerging your limbs in water helps push fluids from your tissues back into your veins (where it goes to your kidneys and then out through your urine). It also boosts your circulation, which keeps blood from pooling in the lower limbs.
3. Eases Sciatic Pain
Baby’s floating right along with you (instead of pressing down on your sciatic nerve).
4. Reduces Morning Sickness
Many women report that the cool water provides welcome relief from morning sickness and general nausea.
5. Keeps You Cool
It’s a hard thing to do when those pregnant sweat glands are on overdrive, but a dip in a cool pool can help, especially when the temperatures soar outside.
6. Improve Your Labor And Delivery Experience
Swimming helps maintain muscle tone and increases your endurance – both of which you’ll be thankful for when it’s time to push the baby out.
The pool water should be no warmer than 32 degrees C. But don’t worry, as most public pools are cooler than this, unless they’ve been heated for a specific class. You may want to ask about the temperature of the pool if you are abroad, though.
If you were a regular swimmer before you became pregnant, you should be able to continue with your usual routine.
Whether or not you are a seasoned swimmer, you should start slowly and gradually work up to sessions of up to 30 minutes long. Make sure you warm up and cool down gradually, and don’t over-exert yourself. You should always come out of the pool feeling that you could do more.
Is Swimming Safe During Pregnancy?
Should you worry about chemicals used in swimming pools? You might find yourself being concerned with the effects of exposure to chemicals like chlorine that are used for the pools hygienic purposes. Chemicals like chlorine are known to have harmful effects if present in abundance. Swimming in chlorinated pools is safe as long as the concentration of chemicals in pool water is monitored appropriately.
Swimming in chlorinated pools is safe as long as the concentration of chemicals in pool water is monitored appropriately. There is no data available that may suggest that swimming in chlorinated pools can increase the risk of birth defects. However, swimming in the unchlorinated pool can be a risk as swimmer can get infections from contaminated water.
Recently, the press has highlighted the information related to dangers of chloroform uptake by a pregnant woman while swimming in chlorinated pools.
Extensive experimentation was done and it was concluded that pools contain high quantities of disinfectant and biological by-products that can directly affect the reproductive system of a pregnant woman.
Data suggested that an hour of swim can deliver 141 times higher dose of chloroform when compared to 10 minutes shower. However, further research is being done to produce conclusive results. For best results, it is recommended to swim in pools where chlorine levels are adequately monitored.
Just Be Safe
Extra chlorine is added periodically during peak swim hours as a “shock treatment” to destroy microorganisms and decrease by-products such as THMs (trihalomethanes) through a complex chemical reaction.
Studies found relatively high concentrations of THMs in the pools, especially on days when pools were crowded and there was much turbulence in the water.
Also, as the pool’s water and air temperature rose, so did the THMs level. Therefore more THMs are likely to be formed in both water and air in those days. Therefore, it is best to avoid swimming in peak hours.