Advice on the many benefits of swimming whilst pregnant, plus the opportunity to purchase a range of pregnant swimming costumes
The benefits of exercising throughout pregnancy are numerous. Research has suggested that gentle exercise helps your body to prepare for and recover from childbirth as well as helping to reduce uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, insomnia, heartburn and aches.
Swimming is possibly the best form of exercise you can take during pregnancy. Even a gentle swim provides you with a great cardio vascular workout that boosts your circulation and aids the transportation of oxygen and nutrients around your body. This helps you to feel energised and also reduces water retention and swelling.
Swimming also works every major muscle group in your body so taking a regular trip to the pool will facilitate the development of muscle tone. This will help you to adapt to your changing shape and also make it easier to regain your pre-pregnancy figure after you've given birth. Swimming also begins to build endurance and endorphin responses that will make you better equipped to tolerate pain during labour.
Submersion in water provides you with a weightless environment in which to workout. This is especially beneficial during pregnancy as your joints, muscles and ligaments become particularly susceptible to injury as increased levels of the hormone progesterone cause them to soften and become overly flexible. Swimming poses almost no risk or joint or ligament injury and can actually help to reduce aches any pains by supporting your body as you move.
Swimming also provides you with the opportunity to relax - gently swimming up and down a pool can be very therapeutic while simply floating in the pool with the water supporting your body can help relax both your mind and your muscles.
How should I swim?
As long as you are experiencing a healthy pregnancy you should be able to continue a regular swimming programme for the full nine months. Current recommendations suggest that undertaking moderate exercise for 30 minutes 3 or 4 times a week is really beneficial. However, it is important that you listen to your body and don't push yourself too hard. You should always warm up, cool down and stretch out either side of your swimming session as this helps your body to prepare for and recover from the exercise.
Unless advised otherwise it is safe to do any stroke that you feel comfortable with, find most physically beneficial and enjoy. However, breaststroke is particularly helpful in improving your posture and reducing back ache by strengthening your abdominal, back, chest and shoulder muscles.
If you are new to exercise it is best to start slowly and build up the length of time you spend in the pool over several weeks. During pregnancy your focus should be on doing what feels best for you and your baby rather that pushing your body hard to improve your fitness.
Although exercising in the water will help to reduce the chances of overheating it is still important to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after you swim so as to prevent dehydration. You should also have a snack such as fruit or yogurt after you have completed your swim to keep your glucose levels up.
While the benefits of swimming are numerous it is important to be aware of some precautions that you should take. You should avoid diving and spending time in jacuzzi's, saunas or steam rooms. Additionally, you should always check with your doctor or midwife before you undertake any exercise programme and keep them updated with your progress. If you ever experience any back, chest or abdominal pain, dizziness, palpitations, vaginal bleeding or fluid loss or uterine contractions you should seek medical attention.
As long as you have the approval of your health care provider, swimming regularly throughout your pregnancy will help you to cope with the physical and emotional changes that preparing for a new baby brings.
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