Nowadays there is a great number of different programmes for the pregnant women both in and outside the water, compared to the times of our grandmothers or even mothers. The only question remains whether you are willing or have desire to moderately exercise and swim during your pregnancy. But first consult your doctor and find a professional swimming coach.
Although, in my wife’s and the experience of some of my friends and trainees, no matter whether it is your first or the fourth pregnancy, this modern age imposes even more worries, dilemmas, questions, the future mother keeps asking herself. Is it safe to swim while I’m pregnant? Is my baby safe while I’m exercising, swimming? Which moves, or swimming technique should I use while I’m pregnant? Can chlorine or any other water purifying chemical harm my baby? Can I this or that…?
I completely agree that you should be very careful and well informed, but first of all, try to relax. Both theory and practice agree that swimming is a perfect choice of physical activity for pregnant women. Through my experience of working with both pregnant women and babies, I can say that swimming is one of the most enjoyable activities during those nine months. Water can provide additional comfort and make you and your baby feel more relaxed. Therefore, if you are a healthy pregnant woman, feel good, try to go for a swim today, because you will need a lot of strength once the baby arrives.
My own story: My wife who has always been a hyperactive person, continued with her activities even during her pregnancy. Her job was very dynamic before her pregnancy that she used to walk and swim a lot as those two activities would calm her and were a perfect stress buster. Of course with the prior doctor’s approval, she continued these walks both on snow or sand, on the pavement, or on the hills during her pregnancy. Sometimes even more than 10km a day, at her own pace. Even then she was leading the whole group of us, and I couldn’t give up. Nor did I have a choice, I needed to follow her. Being blessed with child is really a miracle, but the miracle also includes that special challenge with the hormones. That’s why I never tried to contradict her nor have my say J. She continued to swim during her pregnancy at least once a week for about half an hour. Breaststroke technique was her favourite, but sometimes she would just get into the water and “lie around”, without any particular activity. She was always smiling after that and had a very good sleep. During her second pregnancy she was active too, and she would take our little shark together with her to the baby swimming lessons where they both enjoyed being in the water. I can definitely say that the swimming really helped her during the pregnancy to make her feel more relaxed and prepared for both child labours, and trust me, both of those were super quick! Also, both times the recovery period went rather smoothly.
What I have additionally learned about swimming as a dad, together with my wife and other pregnant women I trained, and the babies too, is that a happy pregnant woman makes both her baby and others around her feel more relaxed. Therefore, if the swimming makes you happy even during your pregnancy, just go for it!
It is worth noting what the benefits of swimming during the pregnancy are: Swimming and water environment decrease the force of gravity and in that way protect from any potential injuries, while the water pressure pushes the blood from the tissue into the veins and in that way increases the overall blood circulation. Also, swimming or any moderate physical activity during pregnancy can minimise certain negative symptoms like stress or pregnancy diabetes, etc. that may occur. Swimming is also a great way to stay in shape during this period, and an excellent cardio exercise for both you and your baby. It increases your blood circulation, muscle and strength volume, while decreasing any swelling or retention of body fluids.
Top female athletes and swimmers do not stop with their physical activities or swimming during their pregnancy. There are numerous examples for this, but I would like to mention Dara Torres and Dana Vollmer. The former Olympic 100m dolphin record holder and the mother of two boys, Dana Vollmer, managed to compete just after five months since she gave birth, and believe it or not, she almost won a medal again (she ended up fourth at the USA National Championship in 2015). In one of her interviews she said: “Putting the health of the baby first doesn’t mean sitting on the couch”. That’s why you, future mums, keep staying physically active during your pregnancy if that is something you enjoy!