Swimming and Pregnancy: A Summertime Delight
When I was pregnant, I just loved to swim. Trust me, I’m no Olympic hopeful, but I just really enjoyed the feeling of being in the water. When the husband (now ex) and I took a babymoon to Mexico, I didn’t want to leave the pool.
The beautiful thing about swimming, though I will tell you shortly about all the exercise benefits and so forth, is that after feeling like a ballooning blimp for months, it felt good, being in the water makes you feel light and weightless. Something you’re probably not experiencing that much right about now.
A few weeks ago, I opened the swimming pool at my house. I invited one of my pregnant friends over to swim. For weeks I had been singing the virtues of swimming while pregnant like Patti LaBelle. She seemed skeptical but agreed to try. “I’m so big, I may overflow your pool when I get in,” she joked. “Let’s risk it,” I said, “The rest of the backyard could use some watering anyway.” When she finally came over and tried it, she was hooked.
Watching her glide through the water made me jealous. Watching her face as she floated on her back, took me right back to Mexico, where I remember floating on my back staring at the most beautiful sky.
After her first swim, I offered her an all-access pass to my backyard. “Come anytime,” I said. So a few
days later, when I awoke to the sound of splashing feet coming from the backyard, I jumped up in a panic and immediately thought of the children. But when I ran to the back and saw my friend taking an early morning swim, I could only let out a big smile.
Lately, she’s been coming early in the morning for exercise and later in the day to cool off. It’s getting hot out there!
If you're worried about the effects of chlorine pools during pregnancy, don't be. There is no evidence that swimming in a chlorinated pool is risky during pregnancy. In fact, most healthcare professionals insist that the benefits of swimming far outweigh any potential dangers from chlorine exposure.
If you're still worried about the unknown factor, there are a lot of opinions on how you can minimize possible chlorine exposure. The authors of "The Complete Organic Pregnancy" recommend avoiding highly populated, heavily chlorinated pools with low ventilation (i.e.: indoors with low ceilings and no windows). And if you do swim indoors, they suggest limiting the amount of time you spend in the pool per week. So you may want to limit your time in a crowded public pool or the heavily trafficked basement lap pool at your local gym. Also taking a good shower before and after swimming can help limit reactions between you and the chlorine.
Besides for the obvious summertime benefits of hitting the pool as the temperature heats up, there are some amazing health benefits. But after you enjoy the buoyant feeling of being in the water, the health stuff seems so blah, blah, blah. But here goes:
- The reason swimming is such a great exercise is because it uses large muscle groups in both your arms and legs at the same time. It offers a low-impact cardiovascular workout, and allows you to feel weightless despite the extra pounds of pregnancy.
- It increases your body's ability to process and use oxygen, improves circulation, increases muscle tone and strength and builds your endurance.
- One of the beauties about swimming during pregnancy is that you wont really have to cut down on your routine as your pregnancy progresses, because of the fact that it is such a low impact form of exercise.
- Breast stroke during the last trimester is possibly going to be the most beneficial to you. The reason for this is because it gives a good workout to your chest and back muscles, which are the two areas most out of alignment during your pregnancy.