Can I swim during pregancy?
Many individuals believe that swimming is the domain of fishermen or for people from the coastal areas. It is also true that many other people might not have seen the sea during their youthful periods and could easily get scared when they see the sea, let alone attempting to dive into it.
Why do people swim?
There are various reasons for swimming. Many people swim because they want to reduce weight, while others swim because of health benefits to their hearts and lungs. As you swim, the whole body gets some form of exercise, and this involves all the muscles of the body. Some other people might swim, because they get the chance to be with their good friends at the beach or at the pool.
Experts would want to swim, because they enjoy the feeling of floating and sliding through the water, especially during the hot season and a dip in the water makes a lot of differences and keeps you cool.
For others, it is a wonderful recreational period for them and the family moving to the beach and enjoying the pool fun after working the whole week.
Regular swimming builds endurance, muscle strength, makes one stay powerful with a lot of stamina and increases the strength of the heart, including its vessels where blood passes. Swimming can increase the rate of heart beat and simulate the muscle activities.
This fitness exercise is easily accomplished in the water. After walking for a long time, swimming a few laps can help you cool down, move blood through your muscles to help them recover quickly and help you relax as you glide through the water.
Pregnancy and swimming
Swimming is, in fact, one of the best forms of exercises that is documented and even more so during pregnancy. The good news about swimming during pregnancy is that there is no additional stress and strain, which is placed on the body and joints while you are exercising. The main caution is that one should not overdo it.
There are some individuals who had developed the habit of swimming before getting pregnant, and there is nothing wrong if they continue swimming. This would rather be an advantage to them as it will give them some welcomed relief from the heat. Remember that pregnancy can generate a lot of heat.
Swimming is such a great exercise during pregnancy, without putting extra weight on the pregnancy. During swimming, one uses a lot of large muscle groups in both arms and legs at the same time. This reduces the strenuous work on the heart and makes one feel weightless, despite the extra weight of the pregnancy.
You would be surprised to be floating with the pregnancy, and this also increases the body's ability to deliver oxygen to the muscles and helps build endurance.
It is a way of preparing the body to cope with the hard work of labour. You would have the strength and power to push the baby out without feeling so tired during delivery
However, if you have not been swimming before pregnancy and you are desirous of swimming as a form of exercise, you should remember that the body would not tolerate it on a regular basis, and you cannot simply dive into the pool.
You will have to start off slowly, being careful not to overdo it. Don't forget that you also need to warm up before swimming, as well as spend a few minutes stretching and cooling down after the session.
Swimming is obviously a good exercise, and it's a lifetime sport that has beneficial effects for the muscles, bones and generally for the whole body.
Swimming is good and it depends on what you are looking for during pregnancy. It is a healthy and soothing activity that should be continued for a lifetime. The health benefits are enormous and are worth the effort it takes to get to the sea or the pool.
Prof. E. Y. Kwawukume is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist and the Chief Executive of Women's Health Foundation-Ghana