Why Swimming is the BEST exercise for Pregnant Moms
Most women have difficulties at the end of their pregnancy. Their low back aches and aches and aches. They are tired. Their feet and hands are swollen. They have difficulties moving about, and exercise is hard on their joints and their bodies.
For my patients, just getting themselves to my clinic for their well mom pregnancy adjustment takes a lot of energy…and at that point, I usually ask them to go swimming. Many don’t – if they are not comfortable with swimming in the first place, it might not be a top priority for them. However, the women who do try swimming fall in love with it, and here’s why:
Women feel lighter in the water
Water is denser than air. It holds you up and when you swim, you feel light and relaxed in the water. It gives your back a break from carrying all of the extra weight in your belly and breasts. You can float and relax. It feels heavenly.
Swimming reduces back and sacral pain
Many women have difficulties walking for long periods of time in the last few months of pregnancy. Their back muscles strain to keep them upright, and their joints ache. The benefit of swimming is that women are weightless in the water and can work out with low mechanical stress on their low back, hips, knees and feet. The continuous leg motion of flutter kicking helps to gently move their sacrum and can dramatically relieve low back pain.
Water helps reduce swelling in hands and feet
Water presses gently against your skin to return excess fluid in your legs, feet or hands back to your blood stream. Women who swim regularly feel better and their feet and hands get help in reducing the extra swelling that they can experience late in pregnancy.
Swimming cools down the body
Especially in the summer months, swimming is an excellent way to cool down an overheated, pregnant body. It simply feels delicious.
If you are pregnant, give swimming a chance. I guarantee you will feel better!
If you are a comfortable swimmer, start early in your pregnancy, and go at least twice a week. Swim for distance, not time. Listen to your body and don’t push yourself too hard. Your hips and pelvis will thank you for this motion throughout your pregnancy.
If you are not a comfortable swimmer, go anyways. You don’t have to put your face in the water. Grab a flutter board and kick yourself gently to the other end of the pool, there is no race. See how many laps you can comfortably do and increase your distance slowly over time. As you become more comfortable in the water, you might decide that swimming can be an activity for life after baby as well!
Dr. Melanie Beingessner is a pregnancy and pediatric-focused chiropractor, a breastfeeding counselor, an infant massage instructor and a mom of three awesome kids.