5 Surprising reasons you should NOT be afraid of swimming while pregnant

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Swimming while pregnant is not just a great way to keep cool, but has many other benefits too!

A reader wrote to us with this question recently:

"I'm currently 6 weeks pregnant. I really love swimming but I am really worried that the chlorinated water could hurt my baby. Will it?"

We wanted to help this mommy, so we did a little research of our own.

In general, swimming is an excellent form of exercise. For pregnant moms, this is especially true. Although many moms hope to be able to maintain their regular exercise regimen during their pregnancy, this is often not possible with the extra weight they are carrying. Being in water, however, is like magic! While floating in water, the weightlessness you feel has many benefits for pregnant moms.

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Swimming while pregnant: Benefits

1. It strengthens your heart

Doing aerobic exercise while you’re pregnant helps both you and your baby because it strengthens your heart which will not only improve your circulation but also boosts the oxygen levels in your blood.

2. It's a low impact form of exercise

The buoyancy of the water helps to support your joints as you are swimming. Additionally, unlike other forms of aerobic exercise like walking or jogging, there is no sustained impact on your joints.

3. Relieves backache

Being pregnant can cause your pelvis to tilt out of alignment as well as making your spine and shoulders round forward. By being in the water, it counteracts the strain on your back. Also with your baby floating along as well, she is no longer pressing down on your sciatic nerve.

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4. Reduces swelling

Swimming can actually help prevent varicose veins! While you’re in the water, the tensions in your body are relieved which helps reduce swelling. Your ankle and foot swelling is also reduced because the water pushes the fluids from your tissues back into your veins which then circulates through your kidneys and out through urine.

5. Keep cool

Anyone living in Singapore knows how tough it can be to stay cool on those blistering hot days! This is even worse when your pregnancy sweat glands are working double time. Being in the pool is a great way to keep your temperature down on those hot, hot days.

Moms, don’t worry if you can’t swim! Check with gyms in your neighbourhood, as many have water aerobics classes catering towards pregnant moms. Even just doing some basic exercises in the shallow end is enough for you to take advantage of these benefits.

Swimming while pregnant: Mythbuster!

True or false: Chlorinated water can harm my unborn baby.

False! Your body creates many natural barriers including the cervix and amniotic sac. Furthermore, the mucus plug that forms when you are pregnant helps to further insulate the baby.

Swimming while pregnant: Safety tips

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Hydration -  Especially in our equatorial climate, staying hydrated is super important. As a general rule of thumb, try to drink a glass of water before you get in the pool, another for every 20 minutes while you’re swimming and another one after you’ve completed your post-swim stretches.

Breathing - During pregnancy, it’s important to not overexert yourself. A good way to measure is by your breathing pattern, you should always be at a level where you could comfortably have a conversation with someone who is walking by the pool.

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Do NOT go in the hot tub - Having your body temperature cross 40 Celsius, especially during the first four to six weeks of pregnancy, can lead to complications for your baby including miscarriage or brain and spinal cord damage.

A quick reminder moms, the benefits of swimming are:

  • Strengthens your heart
  • Low impact
  • Relieves backache
  • Reduces swelling
  • Cooling

And safety tips to keep in mind

  • Drink lots of water
  • Monitor your breathing
  • NO hot tubs

Sources: Baby Center, What to Expect, Mother How

Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore