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Can I Swim While Pregnant? What To Know

katie brooker

By Katie Brooker

Dec 02, 2020

If you are a new, expecting mother then I bet you’ve googled every kind of question under the sun. Even the silliest of ones. I am 100% guilty of that.

But when it comes to swimming while pregnant, the short answer is yes, you absolutely can swim while pregnant. The benefits are undeniable and honestly, that relief in your feet will feel heavenly, trust me. 

Keeping fit during pregnancy helps reduce your risk of complications and helps prepare you physically for the delivery of your bub. So, finding some kind of exercise that feels comfortable for you and your ever-changing body is ideal but it can be easier said than done.

That’s where swimming comes in. All women will enjoy swimming while pregnant — whether you’re swimming or walking (underwater, of course) lengths of the pool or doing prenatal aqua aerobics.

Swimming is the perfect exercise for pregnancy because you don’t really have to do much work. When you’re pregnant, everything is tiring but in water you’ll feel weightless. Those sore and achy body parts will feel incredible just floating in the water. 

I can picture myself now, lying in the water, on the beach during summer. Drinking a virgin mojito.   

benefits of swimming while pregnant
Source: Mali Desha (Unsplash)

Sounds amazing! When can I start?

First Trimester:

While it’s perfectly safe to swim during your first trimester, for some women it’s just not an option. If you have ever been pregnant then you know morning sickness can kick your butt and often stops you from living a normal life. Be patient with your body. For most women morning sickness will pass by the end of the first trimester.

Second Trimester:

The second trimester is the perfect time to start swimming, only if your doctor says it’s okay. It’s recommended to try to exercise 30 minutes a day, 2 to 3 times a week. But sometimes you’ll have those days where it hurts just to walk or move around the house and that’s okay! Don’t ever feel guilty if you can’t commit, just try once or twice a week. Start slowly and see how much you can handle; you have to listen to your body and baby. 

Swimming will be such a great relief and it’s also a fun, little activity you can do with your friends or partner. 

Third Trimester:

Swimming through your third trimester is going to feel like heaven as your baby bump continues to grow and pressure builds on your body. You may find yourself swimming more than you did in the first and second trimester. 

If it were me, I would be living inside of the pool for my entire third trimester! 

Benefits of swimming while pregnant.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s recommended to do at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. To keep things interesting, it’s always a good idea to change up your exercise routine, so adding 2 to 3 days of swimming can make things a bit more fun and help to keep you motivated. 

Swimming helps to get our heart pumping and works to strengthen those muscles and loosen joints. All fantastic benefits for expecting mothers.

That’s not all, there are many reasons why swimming should become part of your weekly routine:

1. Helps to ease sciatic pain

As you float, so does your baby, releasing pressure from your sciatic nerve.

It is also a pleasant thought to think of you and your baby just floating and chilling in the water together. Nothing sounds more relaxing than that.

2. Reduces the feeling of morning sickness

For some women, the cool water can help to relieve symptoms of morning sickness.

Sometimes having any kind of distraction can be the cure for morning sickness, but for those warmer months, this works perfectly.

3. Keeps you cool

Speaking of warmer months, the cool water will feel so good on your body, especially on a hot summer’s day. When we are pregnant our body temperature rises, so we are affected more by the soaring temperatures throughout Summer.

4. Stress relief

Pregnancy is not only physically demanding, but it can make you extremely emotional. We’ve all had those days where we eat too much ice-cream and cry for no reason. More like once a week. Swimming is a great activity to relieve some of that stress when ice cream just won’t do it. 

5. Boosted energy levels

Remember the old saying “use it or lose it”? It may seem counterintuitive, but the more exercise you do during pregnancy, the more energy you’ll have to burn.

Related: Listening to & Nourishing Your Body After Baby

6. Helps to improve your pregnancy and labour experience

Swimming will help to build your muscles and endurance, both of which are very important when giving birth. Labour can take many hours and a strong body is less likely to need intervention.

Many women will also have the option to birth in a birthing pool — AKA a water birth. Now, let me tell you, this relief is like no other. Your body is in so much pain during childbirth and being able to float and make your body light in the water is incredible. Highly recommend. 

Related: Signs of Labour

7. Helps maintain a healthy and happy heart

Swimming is a low-impact exercise that benefits your health. Maintaining an increased heart rate for a short period of time helps maintain a healthy and happy heart.

pregnant woman walking on the beach
Source: Anthony Tran (Unsplash)

8. Fun way to spend time with friends and family while exercising

We know life can become quite limited when you are pregnant. No more glass (or 5) of wine after a long day at work or on a Friday night with your girlfriends. That’s where swimming comes in. Swimming is a great activity you can do with your friends or family and better yet, it’s beneficial for everyone! 

9. Helps to improve the quality of sleep

It’s pretty obvious exercise can really tire you out, even more so when you are carrying another human inside of you! When we are tired, we are more likely to get a good night’s sleep.

Related: 17 Ways To Sleep Your Way To A Healthier Pregnancy, And A Faster Delivery

10. Helps to relieve painful pregnancy related conditions

Swimming is gentle on your body, honestly you will probably feel better in the water than on land and might never want to get out. This makes  swimming extremely beneficial for women who struggle with swollen ankles and back pain. 

pregnant woman wearing a two piece bikini - green
via Analise Benevides (Unsplash)

Swimming while pregnant — tips & tricks.

After you have discussed with your doctor (of course) and you have got the green tick to swim, here are a few tips and tricks to get you feeling your best and most comfortable in the water.

1. If you’re not lucky enough to have your own, choose a local community pool that is close to home. Picking a pool that you feel most comfortable at is important. When you are pregnant, for me anyway, I felt more self-conscious with my changing and growing body. Swimming in a place where I felt comfortable was crucial and made life just so much easier. 

2. Purchase a comfortable supportive, non-restrictive swimsuit. Your body undergoes so many changes during pregnancy. Each month your body grows and pokes out more and more. Feeling self-conscious is normal, especially for first time mums. Pregnancy is so incredibly beautiful and we all know that, but it doesn’t stop you from worrying if your old swimsuit will fit over your new butt and belly. 

Picking a new pregnant swimwear that makes you feel comfortable and honestly like a boss woman is key (don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise). Hopefully, this will get you motivated, and excited to go swimming and to show off your beautiful baby bump!

3. Use goggles, flippers or floating devices. Bringing a floatie to the pool is a great idea. Maybe after doing a bit of exercise, why not take a load off and float around for a while. Taking some of that pressure off. 

pregnant woman in the pool doing aqua aerobics

4. Join a pregnancy aqua aerobics class. This could be a fun idea! Finding a local pregnancy aqua aerobics class can be a great way to meet new expecting mums and get that exercise in. Double win. 

5. Listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel right or maybe swimming isn’t the right activity for you then don’t force it. 

6. Avoid hot, direct sun. Choose an indoor pool with a good temperature to help avoid overheating.

7. Vary your routine. Keep it interesting by attending different classes and participating in different swimming challenges. This way you’ll be more likely to stick with it, because no one feels motivated when they are bored.

8. Create achievable goals and reward yourself when you reach them. This can help make exercise fun.

Make it a social event! Have a swim and then go out with your friends for (virgin) cocktails or a cute date at a café. 

The most important thing is that you are enjoying it and making it a part of your routine. You don’t want it to feel like a chore because then you’ll never want to exercise. Switch it up and invite your friends and family along. 

Disclaimer: Cake does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

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