Swimming during pregnancy can offer numerous benefits to an expecting mother. With water supporting the entire body, there is no impact to the woman's joints as there is with other exercises, minimizing the risk of injury. Swimming offers a great workout for large groups of muscles and the cardiovascular system, which benefits both mother and baby. Regular swimming during pregnancy can help reduce a woman's stress and improve her mental health. It can also keep her from becoming overheated while exercising, particularly during the summer.
As a pregnant woman's body grows and gains weight, high-impact activities like running can become very hard on her joints. Swimming during pregnancy offers a way for her to continue exercising without this type of impact, since her whole body is held up by the water as she moves. The associated feeling of weightlessness can also be a great relief after carrying around additional weight all day. Not only is this typically more comfortable, it also significantly decreases the chance of injury.
There is a variety of health benefits to be gained from swimming during pregnancy. It exercises almost the whole body, toning the muscles in the arms, legs, and back. It burns calories and can help a pregnant woman maintain a healthy weight. Circulation is also improved by swimming, improving oxygen delivery to the entire body including the developing child. Swimming can greatly improve one's endurance; this can be particularly helpful to a woman during labor and delivery, which tends to be very physically demanding.
Another benefit that is often gained from swimming during pregnancy is mental and emotional health. Following a regular routine can help the mother relax and reduce her stress levels. It may make her feel more positive and help her to worry less. She may also find it easier to sleep well, which can in turn contribute to her feeling better mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Many women find swimming during pregnancy to be a very pleasant experience simply because of the coolness of the water. Those who are pregnant during the summer, particularly during their second and third trimesters, may feel overheated due to the extra weight they are carrying, and swimming in cool water can offer a period of relief. Pregnant women may also run a greater risk of their bodies overheating in general, and getting their exercise in a cool pool or lake can help minimize the chances of this happening.