Swimming has long been used as a safe and efficient method of exercise and has been dubbed safe for pregnant women too. With the additional weight gained during pregnancy, it can be hard to find ways to keep fit without causing injury or problems for the baby. The buoyancy of the water helps to support the extra weight and prevents too much strain from being placed on bones and joints.
Swimming during Pregnancy
If you are already a strong swimmer, you can continue to swim through your pregnancy. If you are taking this up as a new form of exercise after becoming pregnant, then you should start off slowly. Whether you are a pro or novice, you should always warm up before swimming and spend adequate time afterward stretching. Throughout your pregnancy terms, there are a few key points to remember.
- First Trimester: During this term, you can safely swim between 20 to 30 minutes at a time, every other day. If you suffer from severe morning sickness, then swimming during the morning hours helps to relieve this.
- Second Trimester: You do not need to stop exercising as you get bigger. Most women give up exercising in this stage because they get bigger and workouts get harder. Swimming is such a low-impact workout that it can be done at all stages of pregnancy without risk to you or the baby. You may have to buy a maternity swimsuit to maintain comfort, but the exercise does not have to stop. You can even try the backstroke during this stage and get the same workout without feeling the strain of the extra weight.
- Third Trimester: As you reach your heaviest weight, exercise gets more strenuous and harder to do. This is not the case with swimming because the buoyancy of the water supports you. Being in the water is also refreshing should your last trimester fall during warmer months. During this final stage, the breaststroke is the most comfortable and works your back and chest muscles which are the two muscle groups that get most thrown out of alignment. During these final months, you should avoid the backstroke as it may cause breathing problems for the baby.
As with any new venture during pregnancy, you should consult your doctor first. For the most part, swimming is safe and a great way for pregnant women to stay in shape and be healthy. There are, however, a few warning signs to look out for:
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, or breathlessness
- Palpitations or irregular heartbeat
- Abdominal pain/cramps
- Loss of fluids
Swimming is the perfect workout for pregnant women because it works for several muscle groups at once and offers a low-impact cardiovascular exercise that is safe for mother and baby. The best part is you never even feel the extra weight as you glide through the water, getting exercise almost effortlessly. Swimming delivers full body workout without the strain or risk of injury and also helps to increase circulation, improve muscle tone and strength and build endurance. All of which will helps get you ready for labor and motherhood!