Swimming during pregnancy

January 8, 2009 0 Comments

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Can you imagine all of a sudden eliminating the extra weight your poor joints are carrying? Helping the swelling in your legs to subside and feel like you’re floating? Swimming can do all this and more for you: it is one of the best exercises you can practice during pregnancy.

Can you imagine all of a sudden eliminating the extra weight your poor joints are carrying? Helping the swelling in your legs to subside and feel like you’re floating? Swimming can do all this and more for you: it is one of the best exercises you can practice during pregnancy.  

 

The benefits of swimming

Swimming is one of the best-rounded exercises around. Amongst its many benefits are:  

  • Improving your cardiovascular performance  
  • Developing muscular strength
  • Creating resistance
  • Improving posture
  • Improving flexibility

One of the biggest advantages of swimming is that it improves the use of oxygen in your body, without putting extra stress on your heart. Now that you are pregnant, your cardiovascular system is undergoing dramatic changes. Swimming helps to make your blood-flow to your lungs and heart be much more efficient.  

Another advantage of swimming is that to practice it, you have to use the largest muscles in your body, especially if you practice breaststroke, crawl or backstroke. However, despite this well-rounded use of your muscles, your joints aren’t suffering like they do with high-impact sports in which you have to struggle against gravity in order to perform the exercise (aerobics, jogging, etc.).

 

To get started on swimming

In order to reap the benefits of swimming it isn’t necessary that you swim endless laps. If you’ve never practiced swimming as a sport, but you would like to start during pregnancy, you should do it in moderation.  

The most comfortable style you could practice during pregnancy is breaststroke. Start swimming for 10 or 20 minutes, and slowly increase the time. Try to duck your head under water and exhale air under water because this will give your neck more mobility. Besides, intense and steady breathing will help you be better oxygenated and relaxed. Little by little, you can incorporate other strokes, such as the backstroke or simply hold on to a kick-board and kick your feet.   

You can combine swimming with other exercises in the water that will be equally beneficial. Try to run in the water. The resistance of water on your muscles will help you exercise without stressing your joints. Aquaerobics is also a great exercise during pregnancy. These are low impact sports that provide the benefits of exercise.

You may also want to just play in the water, especially if it is summer. Throwing a ball across the pool and running under water to catch it can be a lot of fun and also good exercise.  

Some precautions

In general, swimming in the pool, especially if there is a life-guard, should not be a problem. However, if you are going to swim in the sea, in the river or in another natural environment where there is no supervision, you should take some precautions.

During pregnancy, it is quite normal to have leg cramps. If this happens when you are in the water, you may have difficulty swimming. That’s why you shouldn’t swim far offshore and if you do, then make sure someone else is with you.  

You should also avoid diving head or feet first, especially in the last trimester. Your belly could hit the water hard and you could hurt yourself.

Remember to take things in stride. If you are dizzy or weak, stop swimming and rest until you feel better.

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