You’ve no doubt heard that swimming is one of the best exercises you can do. Good for just about every system in the body, it can be done by people of all fitness levels. But can you go swimming while pregnant? Yes! In fact, here are 10 reasons why you absolutely should.
- Swimming is safe and low-impact. A safe, gentle exercise, swimming gives you a feeling of weightlessness as the water supports your body. Because your joints and ligaments will be supported, you’ll avoid injury.
- Time in the pool can alleviate swelling. The increased circulation you’ll get from submersing your body in water can reduce swelling in your limbs, which is a boon to pregnant women, for whom swelling is often a problem.
- When you swim, you take the pressure off of your back. A pregnant woman’s ever-expanding belly can cause back strain, curing the spine and shoulders forward and tilting the pelvis out of alignment. Swimming helps strengthen the back muscles and alleviates the pressure on your spine.
- Swimming while pregnant can help you maintain a healthy weight. It can be hard to find exercise that’s comfortable to do when you’re pregnant, but it’s important to maintain a healthy weight to stave off complications like gestational diabetes. Swimming fits the bill and can help you keep your weight in check without aggravating other discomforts of pregnancy.
- Your cardiovascular health will improve with regular swimming. Aerobic exercise during pregnancy is very good for you and your baby, because it helps to strengthen your heart and increase its efficiency. When your heart is pumping efficiently, your circulation will improve and the oxygen levels in your blood will get a boost. Swimming is a great aerobic exercise, particularly well-suited for pregnancy because it’s low-impact.
- Swimming works your large muscle groups. Your arms, legs, and core muscles will all get a workout when you swim. This can help keep you healthy and strong during pregnancy.
- Pregnant women can beat the heat by swimming. Exercising in the heat when you’re carrying extra pounds can be extremely uncomfortable and even discourage people from getting a regular workout. In the pool, the water will keep you cool and comfortable.
- Swimming workouts can be tailored for pregnancy. Don’t push yourself too hard, but swim for 20 to 30 minutes a day at most. Try different strokes to target different muscle groups, and mix up your routine with leg flutters and leg lifts while you hang on the side of the pool, kick board exercises, and treading water. If your gym offers it, consider trying a prenatal swimming class.
- Tight or sore muscles can be soothed in the pool. If you’re feeling particular sore, walk in the shallow end instead of swimming, moving your arms to give added resistance. You can even use a paddle board to support your upper body if you’re fatigued. Take as many breaks as you need: pregnancy isn’t the time to push yourself to your limit.
- Swimming can boost your energy and prevent nausea. Especially if you swim first thing in the morning, you may find that it energizes you and helps stave off morning sickness.
Of course, talk to your doctor before you begin any new exercise routine. For most women, though, swimming is a great way to promote a fitness and health during pregnancy. As an added bonus, it’s fun!
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