Swimming is a favorite form of exercise for pregnant women for various reasons. Swimming is an excellent way to stay physically and mentally fit during pregnancy. It provides a great cardiovascular workout and exercises most of your muscle groups. Many women enjoy the feeling of floating and taking stress off their bones and joints. Others enjoy the calm feelings they have while in the pool, especially during the hot summer months.
Another added benefit of swimming is that it is readily available to all fitness levels! Here are some reasons to swim throughout pregnancy:
- Available to Everyone: Swimming is one of the few exercises you can do during pregnancy, even if you have not been a frequent exerciser before pregnancy. Start with 20 mins at a time, 3-4 times a week.
- Flexibility: Being pregnant can cause a variety of weight-related problems, particularly when it comes to your joints and bones. The more pregnant you become, the more relaxin (a hormone secreted by the placenta and the lining of the uterus) your body releases. While this is of great benefit during labor, when you want your pelvis to move more freely, it can cause a variety of aches and pains during pregnancy. While in water, you feel lighter and do not have as many concerns with the bumping and jarring of being on land.
- Fewer Injuries: The near weightlessness of the body in water helps protect it from injury due to exercise, especially at the joints.
- Buoyancy and Weightlessness: When the body is in water, it feels much lighter than on the land. For example, 150 pounds feels like it weighs about 15 pounds while submerged. This feels great with the extra pounds of pregnancy! The buoyancy of the water allows the body to move around freely. Many pregnant women report feeling lighter and more limber while in water. This beneficial aspect can help make workouts easier and offer pain relief!
- Lowers Blood Pressure: If suffering from blood pressure problems, particularly while pregnant, simply being in shoulder-deep water can help decrease overall blood pressure. This is due to increased circulation and relief from swelling.
- Swelling Relief: Swimming is great for pregnancy edema! Not only does it keep you off your feet, but the outside water pressure pushes tissue fluid back into your veins and kidneys- which will eliminate the extra fluid through urine.
- Relaxation: An obvious but great effect of swimming. It is well known that exercising helps pregnant women get more rest at night. Exercising in water is more relaxing for most people because of its calming effects.