There are countless benefits to exercising during your pregnancy. It has been associated with many positive outcomes that affect both you and your baby. When you maintain a healthy weight during your gestation, your baby has a lower chance of being born preterm, and you have a lower chance of experiencing complications such as gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. However, when your belly is so big you can’t even see your toes, it can be difficult to decide which exercises are safe or even plausible. Activities such as sit-ups and running are obviously out of the question at a certain point, but there are certainly alternatives to stay in shape while you’re expecting. Swimming is an excellent, low-impact exercise that you can do throughout your gestation.

If you’re thinking about swimming during your pregnancy, you’re probably considering a pool in your area. If you’re concerned about the effects the chlorine might have on your baby, it’s understandable. Expectant mothers should be careful about any and every chemical they come into contact with. However, a recent study shows that pool water is perfectly safe for pregnant women and their babies. It has no effect on congenital abnormalities or birth complications. In fact, if you do swim for exercise during your pregnancy, you reduce your risk for complications greatly simple by managing your weight and staying active. The benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risks of chlorine in pool water, especially when research results are considered.

While swimming in pool water during your pregnancy is safe, there are a few safety precautions you should take. Before starting any exercise regimen, you should consult your health care provider about your plan. This is especially so for women who did not swim regularly before their pregnancy. Additionally, you should make sure you stay hydrated during and after your swim. It can be difficult to remember to drink water while you’re swimming in it, but you should drink plenty of water as you would with any other type of rigorous physical activity.

If you swim regularly throughout your entire pregnancy, you will maintain a healthy weight and stay energized. Being in the water will also provide relief to your joints, and the pain of carrying extra weight will be alleviated. The breaststroke is the best way to swim while you are pregnant, as it requires very little movement of the torso and midsection.

Source: Mette Juhl et al: Is Swimming During Pregnancy a Safe Exercise? Epidemiology Volume 21 Issue 2 pp. 253-258 March 2010

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