According to several OB/GYNs, swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for pregnant women. Even though it’s a low impact activity, swimming provides good cardiovascular benefits and allows you to feel weightless despite the extra pounds added by pregnancy (which means less pressure on your joints!). Like any aerobic exercise, swimming boosts your body’s ability to use oxygen, which is good for you and your baby, and also helps improves circulation, endurance, muscle tone and strength. Additionally, the water protects you from overheating and supports your joints as you exercise, preventing injuries.
If you didn’t swim or exercise at all before your pregnancy, you should consult your doctor first to make sure it’s okay for you to start swimming. The precautions to swimming are no different than other exercises in general. Make sure you stay well-hydrated and don’t overexert yourself. It is important to remember to avoid warm pools, hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms to prevent overheating. And obviously, don’t dive into the pool!
Swimming on your back after sixteen weeks could be very uncomfortable since pressure is exerted on the vena cava due to the weight of the uterus. The breaststroke is commonly regarded as the best stroke for pregnancy as it’s the gentlest of the swimming strokes. The breaststroke elongates your chest muscles and shortens your back muscles. You can also use a snorkel, rather than keeping your head afloat, to relieve the pressure on your neck and avoid having to keep bobbing your head out of the water and putting pressure on your lower back.
Need more convincing? Swimming will also help you sleep better and make you feel less fatigued. Some women even say that they feel less bloated after swimming and for counteract nausea if you take a dip first thing in the morning. So, what are you waiting for? Dive in!