Pregnancy is a fulfilling and life-changing experience. But it comes with a considerable amount of sacrifices that you’ll have to make.
The hollandaise sauce that you like so much? Not for you. A sushi date night? You might want to rethink that menu. What about that hot cup of Joe you like to kickstart your day with? You can already feel your barista criticizing your choices from behind the counter.
Facing a never-ending list of things you have to give up, you might start to wonder about other things you’re not allowed to do. For instance, can you go swimming while pregnant?
The short answer is yes, it’s okay to swim during pregnancy. However, there are a couple of precautions you should take. We’ve gathered all the essential information to help you make an informed decision about swimming while pregnant.
Is it safe to swim while pregnant?
Have you been at a crossroads wondering whether you should continue swimming now that you’re pregnant? You can rest easy knowing that it’s completely safe to do so.
In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) ranks swimming as one of the safest physical activities that pregnant women can engage in. It’s important to note that while ACOG gives the nod to swimming, it doesn’t recommend other high-intensity water sports activities. For instance, underwater swimming or diving, surfing, and water skiing are all activities you should steer clear of.
Though deemed safe, many women also wonder whether it’s okay to go swimming in trimester after IVF. This study proves that it’s safe to participate in low-impact exercises—like swimming—during and after IVF. Based on this research, physical activity increases your chances of success for fertilization and mitigates the risk of miscarriages.
What are some of the benefits of water aerobics during pregnancy? Let’s dig in:
1. Take the load off
There’s no doubt that you’ll gain a couple of pounds when you’re pregnant. When this happens, it may exert too much pressure on your weight-bearing joints, causing pain and discomfort.
One of the easiest ways to reduce this discomfort is to take a dip in the pool. The buoyancy of the water allows you to feel much lighter, despite the tons of pounds of pregnancy.
2. No more swollen feet?
It’s not unusual for expecting moms to have swollen feet, especially when they get to the 5th month. This inflammation is usually a result of the mounting volume of fluids and blood in the body. Did you know that blood volume alone increases by a whopping 50%? That’s right.
This happens so as to soften and prepare your body for the labor process. Unfortunately, it’s also likely to cause your feet to swell.
Water immersion has been proven to be effective at reducing pregnancy-related swelling. By immersion, we mean completely submerging yourself in a pool of water like a swimming pool or bathtub.
3. Minimize risk of overheating and injury
Another benefit of swimming during pregnancy is that it doesn’t pose a risk of overheating, as other outdoor exercises do.
With swimming, you get the recommended exercise while keeping your body cool.
4. Reinforce your core
Looking for a way to strengthen your core without putting in too much work? Swimming is the perfect activity for you! Those laps you take from one end of the pool to the other work your abs, which in turn eases your birthing process.
Swimming safety for expecting moms
You should consider a few safety rules if you plan to swim while pregnant. These are:
1. Find a good pool
While you can go swimming outdoors, an indoor pool is the best option. Unlike swimming outdoors, an indoor pool doesn’t expose you to the risk of overheating. This keeps you and your baby safe.
On the same note, you’ll want to avoid hot tubs, hot springs, and saunas. Several research studies suggest that spending a long time in an environment with high temperatures poses a risk of neural tube defects for your unborn baby.
So to be safe, swim in warm waters rather than scalding hot. On that note, can you swim in the sea while pregnant? While it’s okay to engage in open water swimming during pregnancy, you have to be more cautious than you’d be if you were simply taking a dip in the pool.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Swim only at a lifeguarded beach.
- Have a swimming buddy, and don’t swim too far from the shore.
- Monitor the weather forecast and tide schedules. This way, you can avoid going swimming in precarious water conditions
2. Start from the shallow end
Before you got pregnant, you probably enjoyed making a splashy entrance into the pool. But now is not the time to try such stunts. Instead, it would be best to use the provided ladder or gently ease yourself in.
Jumping or diving into a pool can cause massive trauma that triggers placental abruption—the placenta partially or completely detaches itself from the uterine wall before you can give birth. This can obstruct the fetus’ supply of oxygen and nutrients and cause the expecting mom to bleed heavily.
3. Exercise moderation
Swimming while pregnant can be very relaxing, mainly because you feel much lighter. However, it would help if you didn’t go overboard with your pool workouts.
If you start experiencing nausea, bleeding, or pain in your abdomen, you should stop swimming and only resume when you’re feeling better.
Pool workouts you can do while pregnant
Here are a few exercise routines you can try out when you’re pregnant.
As with any other exercise routine, you should first warm up your body. Perform your warm-up at the pool’s shallow end, meaning the water should be at chest level.
Shallow-water walks and squats are excellent choices for the warm-up session. With a squat, all you have to do is flex your knees, then gently lower yourself as far as it feels comfortable. Next, rise up slowly to resume your original position.
If you choose to do a shallow-water walk, ensure you’re maintaining the correct form. This entails keeping your shoulders back, chin up, and back as straight as possible. Similarly, try not to lean too far forward or on either side.
Cross country skiing
If you don’t want to be exercising in deep waters, consider the cross-country ski routine, as it can easily be performed in shallow water.
Stretch your right leg in front as you simultaneously bring your left leg towards the rear. Your arms need to be in the reverse direction, meaning you should move your left arm to the front and your right arm to the back. Bring your arms to the stated positions at the same time when you’re shifting your legs.
The next step is to do a scissor kick, which simply means switching the positions of your legs. Essentially, you’ll take your right foot to the back, then bring your left leg to the front. At the same time, swing your arms, bringing your right arm in front and your left one to the back.
Keep alternating between the two motions until you’ve worked your muscles enough. You can move as slowly or fast as you want.
Flutter kicking is another highly recommended aqua workout during pregnancy. It engages your upper and lower abdominal muscles and your oblique muscles.
Start by grasping the edge of the pool with both of your hands. Next, assume a horizontal position by stretching out your legs behind you. Kick your legs, making little splashes at the surface. Keep your legs as straight as you can, though you can flex your knees just a little bit to cope with the resistance from the water. After kicking your legs for about a minute, relax, then repeat as often as you feel comfortable.
You can also perform this exercise with a kickboard while you flutter kick from one end of the pool to the other.
Best maternity swimwear
If you’re a self-conscious person, you may be hesitant to go swimming, given all the drastic changes happening to your body. The best way to overcome this is to choose swimwear that you’ll feel comfortable in when you swim. So, here are some of the best maternity swimsuits:
1. Polka Dots Bikini
While some expecting moms like the coverage that one-piece swimsuits provide, others don’t mind showing off their baby bump.
If you belong to the second camp, you’ll want to check out this gorgeous Polka Dots Maternity Bikini by Lukalula. This two-piece maternity bathing suit includes a tube top and low-waisted bottom. It’s available in either orange-red or black, and it comes in four different sizes: S, M, L, and XXL.
2. Maternity Ruffle Off Shoulder One Piece Swimsuit
Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your style. If you’re looking for a swimsuit with a little more pizazz, you’ll love this off-shoulder one-piece maternity swimsuit.
Available in sizes S to 3XL, this swimsuit will undoubtedly help you make a bold fashion statement. As a bonus, it’s very affordable too, so you can buy several pieces without breaking the bank.
3. Momo Maternity One Piece Swimdress
If you want to take a more modest approach to your maternity swimwear, then the Momo One Piece Swimdress is the way to go.
It offers way more coverage than a bikini or one-piece bathing suit. But what we love most is its design.
The shoulder straps are wide and adjustable, providing the best comfort. The manufacturer has also added ruches along the side seams, allowing the swim dress to grow with your baby bump.
4. Summer Mae Women 2 Piece Swimsuit
Some expectant moms feel more comfortable in a two-piece bathing suit comprising a top and maternity swim shorts.
You will love the Summer Mae Printed Top with Boyshorts if this sounds like you. The set comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, meaning you’re sure to find one that you like.
The top is relatively long, so you don’t have to worry about exposing your baby bump. Similarly, the shorts are the perfect length. They’re not too short, making you feel confident, whether basking, swimming, or bending over.
5. EastElegant Maternity Swimsuit
The EastElegant maternity bathing suit is a real winner. It has a V-neck design, which flatters your décolletage, and it comes in multiple colors and patterns, including one with leopard prints.
We’re impressed that it’s loose, as this allows the swimsuit to fit your baby bump nicely without exerting any pressure on it.
Other swimming essentials
Pregnancy bathing suits are one of the most important things you should carry when going swimming. In addition to this, it’s a good idea to take these items if swimming while pregnant:
- A pregnancy-friendly sunscreen to lather on any exposed skin, including your baby bump: The sunscreen should have an SPF of at least 30 and be the broad-spectrum variety.
- Shower supplies: The chlorine inside the pool water can leave your skin feeling dry. Be sure to carry the necessary shower supplies like a body wash, conditioner, and moisturizer.
- A water bottle: Even though swimming cools off your body, staying hydrated anytime you’re outdoors is important.
- Swimming goggles: Great for preventing the chlorine in pool water from getting into your eyes.
- Towel: To dry yourself up.
- A pool lounger: The HOLO inflatable float is perfect for your pregnancy. It has a specialized rim that offers maximum support to your back and hips.
Taking a dip in the pool is pleasantly relaxing for anybody, but more so for expecting mothers. Swimming while pregnant not only helps to keep your body cool but also takes the load off while helping to relieve back pain and swollen feet.
Nonetheless, you’ll have to be extra careful to keep you and your unborn baby safe while swimming. Remember to carry essentials like a pregnancy-friendly swimsuit, a thick layer of SPF, a water bottle, and swimming goggles.
Similarly, keep an eye on the water temperature and conditions, especially if you’re swimming in open water.