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Swimming During Pregnancy

by Jane Wangersky | May 7th, 2013 | Pregnancy

woman at poolPregnant women are often advised to get some exercise by swimming. There are plenty of reasons to follow this advice — once you find a swimsuit that’ll fit you — but there are also a few warnings you’ll need to be aware of.

Swimming gives you a break from carrying all that weight around. The feeling of floating, and the water itself, can be soothing. There’s no better way to cool off on a hot summer day. It’s low impact exercise, the best kind during pregnancy, when (according to the Center for Disease Control) connective tissues stretch all too easily, and you need to be careful not to injure your joints. And you don’t have to worry so much about losing your balance.

However, that’s not to say all water activities are safe during pregnancy. You’ll need to consider the following.

Though swimming is approved for pregnant women, scuba diving is not. The CDC says “Scuba diving can create gas bubbles in your baby’s blood that can cause many health problems.”

If you’re experiencing diarrhea — a result of the pressure on your intestines as the baby grows — you need to stay out of the pool. There’s no way to avoid leaving behind (so to speak) a small amount of matter that could infect others. With this in mind, you should also avoid swallowing any of the pool water, in case others may not have been so considerate.

Another concern is that pool chlorine can be harmful to the developing baby, at least when it combines with dead skin cells and some skin and hair care products. To inform yourself on this issue, read this article.

Ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to use a hot tub, and as with swimming pools, stay out if you’ve got diarrhea.

As with any exercise during pregnancy, take frequent breaks, and stop if you’re getting too tired. The CDC says “You should be able to talk while exercising. If not, you may be overdoing it.”

If you’ve taken all these things into account and want to hit the pool, go for it — as soon as you find that swimsuit.

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