April 30, 2012
Can I go swimming during my pregnancy?
It's summer! And what always goes with summer? Swimming. But now that you've got a little bundle growing inside you, your question is "Can I go swimming?"
Fret no more. The answer is YES!
Swimming is a good cardiovascular workout for pregnant women.
In fact, swimming is one of the best forms of exercise, more so during your pregnancy. The great advantage is you are almost weightless in the water. This makes it an ideal workout for pregnant (or overweight) women without the stress from your enlarging midsection on your joints, back and legs.
Swimming is a good cardiovascular workout. A cardio workout exercises the muscles of your heart, making them more efficient in pumping blood throughout your body. A lap or two across the pool can increase your heart rate much more than running on a treadmill for more minutes. However, if you have not been swimming for quite some time, it is necessary for you to start slow, just like in any exercise. You can work yourself up to the point where you sense your heart pumping a little faster. This will then tell you that you are indeed giving your heart a workout. There are fitness centers which offer this kind of exercise. A fitness coach can guide you to attain your goal in the most efficient way.
If you have been regularly swimming, you might have to cut back a little as your abdomen grows in size. By how much? Your body will give you the signals. It is difficult to state the length of time, or distance which is ideal for you because each one of us has a different response to pregnancy changes.
Diving is not recommended. The sudden impact of your body against the water may create a certain pressure that may give unwanted results.
As your abdomen increases in size, there may be strokes that become uncomfortable to do. Listen to your body's signals. In particular, backstroke may be as uncomfortable as lying on your back in bed because of the heavy uterus compressing on your large abdominal aorta. At worse, this can become an obstruction to the proper circulation of blood leading to loss of consciousness.
For the next question—in a pool or at the beach?
Definitely, if the waves on the beach are furious, do not dare challenge it. For one, your balance is out of whack especially on the last three months. Secondly, you wouldn't even do that if you weren't pregnant. In short, be as careful as you were, and even more.
The concern with a pool is that the chlorine used to disinfect the water may affect your baby. As far as I know, there is no data about chlorinated water causing congenital defects. In fact, going into unchlorinated water is more dangerous as far as getting infections is concerned.
The advice I give my patients about activities during pregnancy is to listen to your body. You are the pregnant one. You can best gauge what is not comforatable to do. You are not in an endurance test to find out who can do the most even while pregnant. Enjoy your pregnancy. It is a prelude to the most important job of all—MOTHERHOOD.
If you have questions for Dr. Malu, you can email her at email@example.com.
Dr. Ma. Luisa V. Torralba-Mangubat is a Fellow of the Philippine Obstetrical & Gynecological Society, Philippine College of Surgeons and International College of Surgeons. In addition to this, she is also a Fellow in Aesthetic & Medicine Surgery of the Philippine Academy of Medical Specialists and a member of the Philippine Academy of Non-Surgical Aesthetics. For personal consultations, her clinic hours are as follows:
Asian Hospital and Medical Center, Room 722
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Tel. (632) 771-9340
Medical Center Manila, Room 337
Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Tel. (632) 528-1173