Swimming is a fantastic low impact exercise, making it perfect for light activity throughout pregnancy and can be a welcome respite for pregnancy aches and pains. By exercising in the pool, the water will help to support your joints and ligaments, as well as counteract any increased muscle strain from your growing bump.
If you’re looking for more advice, take a look at our guide for the top benefits of swimming whilst pregnant and how to do it safely.
Benefits of swimming during pregnancy
Low impact and gentle on your body – The water keeps you from overheating and prevents injury by supporting your joints and ligaments as you exercise, which is especially helpful for mums-to-be with round ligament pain. The buoyancy of the water also decreases the strain on your back and allows you to feel almost weightless.
Relieves ankle and foot swelling – Submersing your limbs in water helps push the fluids from your tissues back into your veins. It also boosts your circulation, which keeps blood from pooling in the lower limbs.
Reduces morning sickness – Many women who suffer from morning sickness report that swimming provides relief. Whether there’s a physiological response to the movement or the sense of relaxation that the water brings, there’s something about swimming that seems to help a lot of women feel better.
Cool water prevents overheating – Your breathing rate increases when pregnant which means you start sweating at a lower level of exertion – this is one of the body’s many adaptation mechanisms to protect the foetus from overheating. If you find this unpleasant then swimming is a great option to help cool off.
Its a full body workout – If you have limited time and want to simplify your exercise routine to focus on one sport that will boost your all-around fitness, swimming ticks all the boxes. It provides a full-body workout using all the major muscle groups, which can help you keep your weight within a healthy range. It increases your endurance and your recovery capacity, and it strengthens your heart and improves your circulation. Just what the doctor ordered!
How can swimming help you lose weight? Find out here.
How can you stay safe swimming when you’re pregnant?
- Keep hydrated – When you’re in the water, it can be easy to forget to stay hydrated. A good guideline is to drink around 500ml of water before your workout and keep a water bottle at the pool’s edge to sip throughout the swim session. This will also help ensure you don’t overheat in the pool.
- Step or slide into the pool – Your growing baby isn’t equipped to handle the bubbles that form inside the body when you quickly change altitudes under the pressure of the water. And the impact of diving into the water isn’t worth the potential risk.
- Tread carefully – A baby belly can throw off your centre of gravity, so be extra cautious and wear non-slip footwear when walking on slippery surfaces.
- Focus on your breaths – You’d be surprised how common it is to forget to breathe while you’re focusing on your form. The baby needs oxygen, so be sure to keep your breathing steady and continuous while you’re swimming.
- Get your snack on – Regardless of your workouts, you’ll need about 300 extra calories per day to fuel your pregnancy in your second trimester, 500 in your third trimester. Follow our guide for advice on what to eat before and after swimming.
There are many positives to swimming during pregnancy. A relaxing swim in a calming environment is much needed to soothe your nerves and calm yourself, but do not start it without consulting your doctor. And most importantly, listen to your body! If you’re feeling weak or abnormal, then stop swimming.
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