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The Importance of Aquatic Exercise while Pregnant

posted Oct 2, 2015, 12:35 PM by Sandy Karlek   [ updated Oct 2, 2015, 12:58 PM ]


Why is it so important to exercise in the water during your pregnancy?

  1. Often prenatal women experience postural changes and weight gain that result in back pain. Aquatic exercise is a low-impact way to strengthen the muscles around your joints and back relieving your pain and giving you more energy to get through the day. It will reduce fatigue and improve your quality of sleep, too! 
  2. Circulation problems due to increased plasma can lead to swelling, cramping and hypotension. The hydrostatic pressure of the water makes breathing easier, increasing circulation and keeping your heart healthy while reducing your aches and pains that often occur. The increased blood flow will make you look even more radiant! 
  3. Increased weight can impact blood pressure, respirator system and joints. Maintaining your fitness goals will help burn calories and manage your weight as well as help you get back in shape after birth. The cool water will help maintain your body temperature allowing for a harder workout without the fear of overheating. 
The overall goal for prenatal exercise is to maintain general fitness through your pregnancy. Exercise should be done at least three times a week with a mild to moderate intensity level.

The ideal water temperature should be 82-84 degrees. Exposure to heat will not only cause dehydration, but will decrease the amount of blood volume reaching the fetus, so drink plenty of water before and during exercises.

Exercising in a chlorinated pool is not harmful to you or your baby as long as the concentration of chemicals in pool water is monitored appropriately. Swimming in an un-chlorinated pool, however, can be a risk - you can get infections from contaminated water.

General guidelines that need to be followed:

  • Start exercising slowly and gradually increase difficulty and intensity. 
  • Don’t push yourself too hard, and slow down if you begin to feel too hot, dizzy or faint.
  • Prevent dehydration, which can raise your body temperature.
  • Get immediate medical advice if you experience any of the following signs:
    • Bleeding or spotting 
    • Vaginal leak 
    • Dizziness 
    • Shortness of breath 
    • Uterine contractions 
    • Pain of any kind, especially chest or abdominal 
    • Persistent nausea and vomiting 
    • Sudden swelling of hands, face and and/or feet

Women with medical conditions such as heart disease, asthma and others, or have history of recurrent miscarriages, early labor or premature births, should ask their doctor first before embarking in an exercise program. When in doubt, ask your doctor.