One of the most fun ways to beat the heat in the summertime is to go swimming. But you’re pregnant this summer. Is it safe to go in the water?
This is actually two questions: “Is being in a pool, lake, or the ocean safe while you are pregnant?” and “Is it safe to swim while you’re pregnant?”
Is Being in the Water Safe?
Any body of water can become contaminated, which would mean that the water would be unsafe for anyone. But a pregnant woman has an immune system that is a bit more vulnerable, which could increase her risk of an infection from contaminated water.
However, swimming in a pool can be considered safe, according to a Danish study from 2010.1 It found no indication that swimming in pool water was associated with any adverse problems in pregnancy.
However, use your good judgement. Check on the water quality if you are going swimming in a lake. Ocean water is usually considered safer than water in a lake, but pay attention to any news of beach closures. And even with a pool, if the water looks dirty or smells funny, stay out.
Keep an eye on water temperature. Stay out of the hot tub or hot springs. Water that is over 104 degrees can cause an increase in your body temperature which raises the risk of miscarriage or certain birth defects.
Is Swimming Safe?
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends swimming as a good exercise during pregnancy: “Water workouts use many of the body’s muscles. The water supports your weight so you avoid injury and muscle strain. If you find brisk walking difficult because of low back pain, water exercise is a good way to stay active,” the group stated at its website.
Swimming is good for pregnant women for several reasons. The water helps support your larger-than-usual body weight. Exercise in the water helps your circulation and helps reduce swelling of your ankles and legs. It also helps you feel cool in hot weather.
But exercise in the water is not just swimming laps. Most community pools or health clubs that have a pool offer water aerobics or water exercise classes. You can also find some good recommendations for a water workout here.
You should always practice water safety wherever you swim. Never swim alone and be cautious about bad weather if you are swimming outdoors. Keep hydrated: You sweat even when you are in water. Also take care while getting into or out of the water. Your center of gravity has changed and this raises your risk of slipping and falling when you walk on wet surfaces.
Don’t go diving, either kind of diving. Enter the water feet first and don’t jump into the water from a height. If you were a scuba diver before your pregnancy, most experts say to avoid it during your pregnancy.
Other than that, go get wet! The last one in the water is a rotten egg!
Juhl M et al. Is swimming during pregnancy a safe exercise?