Exercising in the pool is the ideal exercise option when you are pregnant.
It is well known that exercise is important for a healthy pregnancy. Obstetric colleges world-wide encourage pregnant women to engage in regular moderate intensity exercise.
Research has demonstrated that there are many benefits that come from exercising regularly during pregnancy, including better functioning placentas and better neonatal outcomes (seen in birth weight and brain activity scores).
As well, the mother will be stronger and fitter and therefore better able to cope with the physical demands of pregnancy and labour and new motherhood. And, importantly, exercise helps maintain a healthy weight.
But did you know that exercising in water is recommended by the obstetric colleges to be one of the safest and most appropriate forms of exercise for pregnant women? This is because of water’s unique properties:
- Buoyancy - Buoyancy supports the growing body, reducing impact through the pelvic joints and pelvic floor and enables a comfortable and safe work-out. For this reason, it is the best exercise environment for women who have back pain or pelvic girdle pain or pelvic floor issues.
- Thermoregulation - As water dissipates body heat 25 times faster than air does, the water helps regulate body temperature so that overheating doesn’t occur when you are exercising. Pool temperature can be up to 32°C for moderate intensity exercise.
- Hydrostatic pressure - Studies have shown that the hydrostatic pressure of water assists the cardiovascular system facilitating blood flow to the baby. Amniotic fluid has been found to increase. Hydrostatic pressure also helps to reduce swelling by forcing extra-vascular fluid into the circulation. This can help swollen ankles, carpal tunnel syndrome and varicose veins.