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Swimming when pregnant can be a very safe and effective form of exercise. Generally, pregnant women should be able to swim well into the third trimester, although they may need to modify their routines toward the very end of the pregnancy. It is important to rest if fatigue sets in or cramps are experienced, and to stay hydrated by drinking water, because exercise, even in a pool, can contribute to dehydration. Patients should always consult their doctors before embarking on a new exercise regimen when pregnant, as there may be special considerations to think about.
People who want to exercise during pregnancy may want to consider swimming when pregnant to stay fit, develop cardiovascular strength, and relieve stress. Unlike many forms of exercise, swimming is gentle on the joints and will not exacerbate joint pain and swelling. Being in the water also relieves weight, can help with swelling, and eliminates concerns about balance issues and falling, although women do need to be careful getting in and out of the pool.
Women swimming when pregnant may want to work with a swim instructor to develop a safe swim routine. Generally, all swimming moves are safe, although diving should be avoided, and women may have trouble later in pregnancy with moves requiring an arched back or powerful explosions of muscular energy. In addition to swimming, women can also lift weights in the pool and perform stretches. Women may find it easier to make deep stretches in the water.
One important safety precaution for swimming when pregnant is to always warm up first. Women should ease into the pool and do some gentle stretches to open up their muscles and get comfortable in the water. Gentle laps can help women get ready for more vigorous aquatic exercise. After a pool workout, it's also necessary to cool down to prevent muscle soreness and tension. Women should also avoid entering the a swimming pool after their waters have broken to limit the risk of infection.
After swimming, women should not enter a sauna, steam room, or hot tub, even if they are accustomed to doing so after a workout. Research suggests that hot environments can be potentially harmful for a pregnancy. If women are concerned about chills after swimming when pregnant, a thick insulating robe can be kept by the pool to warm up with after getting out of the water. Changing into dry clothes as soon as possible after swimming and wearing a swim cap to protect the hair will also help women avoid colds and discomfort.
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