photo by Anna Demianenko via Unsplash

Swimming & Pregnancy, What You Need to Know

July 31, 2020 | by katlyn jarrow, guest contributor

If you’re expecting a baby, you’ve probably been told by your healthcare professional that keeping active is one of the best ways to have a healthy pregnancy. Pregnant women are recommended to get at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per day to decrease discomfort and build stamina for labor and delivery. Moreover, new research has found that pregnant women who exercise may produce healthier breast milk for their baby, which proves that working out while expecting can be beneficial even after giving birth. Some of the most popular exercises for expecting moms are walking, yoga, and swimming, and while most women may be hesitant to take to the water while they’re pregnant, it’s important to know that swimming can be a wonderful way to keep active, especially if you’re expecting during the hot summer months. Here’s everything you need to do to stay safe and enjoy swimming while you’re pregnant.

Treat yourself and get new maternity swimwear

Most pregnant women may think twice about wearing a swimsuit, but instead of hiding your baby bump, why not flaunt it by wearing flattering swimwear? Take a cue from fashionable celebrity mamas such as Kourtney Kardashian, Shakira, and Vanessa Lachey, who proudly rocked bikinis while in their third trimester of pregnancy. If you’d rather get a suit that covers your belly, there are new styles of pregnancy swimwear that not only flatter your curvy form, but also support your belly so you can feel more secure in or out of the water. Brands such as Oceanlily has tankini sets that offer tummy and chest support, while Maternal America and Cake Lingerie Rosewater have halter-style one-piece suits that will flatter your form. Complete your swimming ensemble with a gorgeous cover-up such as a caftan, a tunic, or a breezy t-shirt dress made out of cotton or linen. These are examples of lightweight and breathable fabrics, which are known to help you stay cool, and cover-ups made out of them will help you stay comfy while you’re out in the sun. 

Swim in safe areas

You may have been a strong swimmer during your pre-pregnancy days, but for now, make sure to swim in areas that are known to be safe. Avoid swimming in oceans as sudden changes in wave heights may create rip currents, which may increase the risks of drowning. However, if the waters near your area are relatively calm, make sure to always swim at a lifeguard-protected beach, and if you can, always swim with a buddy. You may also want to steer clear of rivers with strong currents, as well as lakes or ponds that may be home to harmful germs and bacteria. 

Not too hot, not too cold

Relaxing in a hot tub or a hot spring after swimming may seem like a good idea. But while it may feel soothing, understand that taking very hot baths while pregnant can raise your body temperature and may pose health risks to your unborn baby. Research has shown that a body temperature of 101℉ and above may cause birth defects in babies of women who have had an increased body temperature during their first trimester. You should also avoid swimming in very cold water, as this can cause shock or make you ill, neither of which will be good for your baby. Always check the water’s temperature before getting in the water so you won’t endanger your baby’s health.

Swimming can be a great way to stay active while you’re expecting. Remember to take it easy and practice moderation while working out in the water, and if you can, consider working with a fitness coach who can plan a safe pregnancy swimming routine for you. In case of any health problems or if you have a high-risk pregnancy, consult your doctor to see if swimming is right for you. 

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