Swimming While Pregnant – Benefits, Tips & Warning Signs

Swimming During Pregnancy

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sanjana Sainani (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

When you are carrying a new life inside you, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. But then there are some exercises that can prove to be beneficial during pregnancy. Swimming, for instance, is an exercise that may make you feel light while pregnant. When we enter a pool or any other water body, we only weigh a tenth of our actual weight, and this is something that may work in your favour when you swim while pregnant.

Is Swimming Safe During Pregnancy?

Swimming is one of the best exercises for a pregnant woman as it can ease the pains associated with pregnancy. Furthermore, swimming is a highly recommended exercise for pregnant women as it helps maintain their health. That said, if a woman has a complicated pregnancy or if there is a possibility of a high-risk pregnancy, then certain precautionary measures should be taken while swimming, and it should be practised only after checking with a doctor. If you have been doing prenatal swimming, there is no reason for you to not continue, unless advised otherwise by your doctor. It would be challenging to learn swimming during pregnancy though. You should not exert the body beyond its limits and understand how much your body can give in to this exercise.

What to Wear While Swimming

As your stomach expands, your favourite swimsuit will no longer be able to hold you. A two-piece suit gives a lot of space for the growing baby, so you can buy one if you want to swim while pregnant. You can opt for a maternity swimsuit if you are not comfortable flaunting your bloated tummy. Check with your regular swimwear brand for one, as maternity swimwear is quite fashionable.

What to Wear While Swimming

Suggested Swimming Workouts in Pregnancy

There are many pregnancy swimming exercises you could try out in the pool. In fact, you should be prepared with a basic workout before you step into the water. Speak to your instructor and brief him/her about your condition and he could design a suitable regime.

If you have occasionally swum earlier, begin slowly and gradually and increase the duration and number of laps. The key is to remain comfortable during the session and work up a moderate speed that does not make you breathless. Double breast-stroke and frog kicks are ideal for beginners.

If you have been a regular swimmer before pregnancy and you have got a green signal to continue swimming while pregnant, you can continue with your daily swimming workout. Carry out 5 to 6 sets of 4 laps each using a single style or alternating between different ones to give a complete work out to your body.

Benefits of Swimming

As mentioned above, swimming is one of the best exercises for a pregnant woman and it can prove to be beneficial for your health during pregnancy. Here’s how swimming may help you while pregnant:

  1. Swimming is the perfect exercise for you to maintain your weight.
  2. It is a low-impact exercise that can benefit your cardiovascular health.
  3. Swimming during pregnancy can increase your strength, tone your muscles and improve blood circulation.
  4. It reduces the stress on the spine and surrounding muscles.
  5. Swimming helps strengthen the muscles and their functionality around the shoulders and spine.
  6. It can help you relax during pregnancy.
  7. Swimming can also improve your sleep quality.
  8. Swimming is better than other exercises since it is easy on ligaments and joints during pregnancy.

Tips for Swimming While Pregnant

Here are a few tips you should following while swimming during pregnancy.

1. Swimming During Pregnancy: First Trimester

During the first trimester, you should ideally swim for 30 minutes every day, provided your doctor approves and you have the strength. Start your day with a swim and your morning nausea will vanish, while improving your overall strength.

2. Swimming During Pregnancy: Second Trimester

As the baby size grows and your body becomes heavier, you may want to reduce the frequency. If your back is acting up, do the backstroke since it will help you lie on your back and won’t affect the blood flow too. Buy a larger and a more accommodating swimsuit if the present one is cramping your swimming style.

3. Swimming During Pregnancy: Third Trimester

If you want to reduce the stress on your back muscles, the breaststroke is the best style to use. It also works on the chest muscles and helps elongate it. Using a snorkel is also a good idea as it helps to relieve neck pressure. Be careful while walking on wet surfaces and use anti-slip footwear.

Warning Signs to Check for While Swimming During Pregnancy

If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek help and leave the pool immediately:

  1. Vaginal bleeding
  2. Pain in the abdomen or lower region
  3. Uterine contractions
  4. Dizziness, light-headedness, or breathlessness

Warning Signs to Check for While Swimming During Pregnancy

Overall, women who have had multiple miscarriages, ruptured membranes or any heart disease should avoid swimming during pregnancy or seek medical advice before starting.

Precautions to Take During Swimming

Swimming is an excellent way to get the much-needed exercise during pregnancy without straining yourself. But you must follow these precautions while swimming:

  1. Make sure you are keeping yourself hydrated enough if you are swimming for 30 minutes or more, by drinking fluids and taking glucose supplements.
  2. Do not jump or dive into the pool as this could cause harm to you and your baby.
  3. Avoid swimming if you feel unwell or feel a cold coming as this could aggravate it further
  4. Swim in pools that have clean water.
  5. Make sure you are not straining yourself too much, keep in mind that you need to be extra careful with your movements. Maintain a correct posture while swimming during pregnancy.

There are many positives one can derive out of swimming when you are pregnant. A relaxing swim in a pleasant environment is much needed to soothe the nerves and calm yourself. Take the right precautions during these sessions to get the most out of it.

Also Read: Walking During Pregnancy

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