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Here’s How To Do Your Pregnancy Workout In The Pool

When you're pregnant you might struggle to find the motivation to get some exercise – especially in your last trimester.

Getting regular exercise isn’t just beneficial for your overall baby growing health, it’s also a mood booster.

Swimming is the perfect exercise for pregnancy because the water helps to support your increased weight.

Benefits Of Swimming

Growing a tiny human inside of you can be hard on your body. Your growing bump can throw off your centre of gravity, and can put a lot of stress on your lower back.

Water greatly reduces the usual stress on your musculoskeletal system and supports the weight of your growing baby – which means the weight on your lower back is lifted.

READ MORE: Why I Love Pregnancy Aqua Aerobics

Your body also pumps blood easier when in water than on land which can help to reduce pregnancy-related swelling (oedema) and takes pressure off your bladder.

Swimming is also a full body workout. The water provides 12 times the resistance to your muscles as air does, which means you'll get similar strength training benefits to lifting light weights.

And better still: you won’t sweat while going through the exercises, because you’ll constantly be in the cool water.

Feeling Free

You can do the same exercises in the pool as you would do at the gym. The only difference is, that in the pool it’ll be low impact and a lot safer on your joints.

You have a lot more freedom to move around in the pool without worrying that you might fall. You might also find it easier to move, as your growing bump feels weightless.

Because every pregnancy is different, make sure that you get the go-ahead from your doctor or midwife before attempting any exercise routine.

READ MORE: Pilates During Pregnancy

Staying Safe In The Water

Although this can be an exercise regimen you could follow up until your due date, there are still a few things to keep in mind to keep yourself and your baby safe.

  • Start slowly – Try to pace yourself – begin with small workouts and then build your sessions up to 30 minutes. 

  • Breathe – Avoid doing any strong twisting movements in the pool, to prevent straining any ligaments.

  • Be careful around the pool – Your baby bump can throw off your centre of gravity. Be extra cautious when you walk around the pool on slippery surfaces like tiles or the changing room floor.

  • Be water safe – Be sure that the water you want to swim in, is safe to prevent water-borne illness. There is no evidence that swimming in a properly chlorinated pool is a safety concern during pregnancy. The chlorine used in pools kill bacteria that can be hazardous to humans. It's better to swim in a chlorinated pool than a smaller pond or other bodies of water you’re not sure of.

  • Breathe – Don’t hold your breath. Your baby needs oxygen so be sure to keep your breathing steady and continuous while swimming.

  • Keep hydrated and fuel up – You might feel like you’re not sweating because you're in the pool, but you’re still exercising which can dehydrate and overheat your body. Drink enough water before, during and after your swim and eat a nutritious snack at least 30 minutes before and again after. 

READ MORE: Yogalates: Exercise For Pregnant Women

The Pool Workout

Like mentioned before, the same exercises you do in the gym can be done in the pool. Make sure the water level is about chest height to provide resistance that makes these moves beneficial.

Resistance Training In The Pool

  • Warm up – always warm up for about five to 10 minutes before working out to get those muscles loose and to prevent injuries. Walk comfortably about 15 to 20 times in the width of the pool while also swinging your arms.

  • Squat – Stand with feet a bit wider than shoulder-width with your toes pointing 45 degrees outwards. Bend your knees and lower your torso into the water (like you want to sit on a chair) as low as you feel comfortable. Keep it there for one breathe and get back up. When you’re standing upright again, squeeze your bum, but don’t lock your knees. Repeat this 12 to 15 times.

  • Back leg-curl – Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and arms straight out in front of you (not locked) in the water, palms facing down. Draw the right heel up toward your bum, while you push your hands and arms down towards your pelvis still keeping it straight, but not locked. Lower your foot again to its standing position and raise your hands to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Do 12 to 15 reps on each side.

  • Two-sided leg-lift – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hands on your hips, or one hand holding onto the side of the pool. Lift your right leg in front of you, keeping it straight but not locked, while you breathe out. Lower it again while breathing in. Lift the same leg to the side, keeping your toes facing forward. Lower it again to the starting position while breathing in. Repeat 12 to 15 times on each side.

  • Three-way water pushing – Stand comfortably in the pool, legs shoulder width apart and your arms straight in front of you, palms facing down. Take a breath. While breathing out, push the water towards your body. Move your arms so that it’s hanging next to your body, palms facing away from your body. Take a breath and push the water upwards while breathing out. When you’re at the top, take a deep breath, turn your palms to the front keeping your arms straight next to you inline with your shoulders. While breathing out, bring your arms to the front at the starting point. Repeat this 12 to 15 times keeping our arms straight, but not locked, the whole time.

  • After resting for a minute, repeat the exercises again for another set. The fitter you get, the more sets you can do. Only do as much as you feel comfortable doing.

READ MORE: Is All Exercise Safe During Pregnancy?

Cardio

End your workout session by getting your heart pumping to boost circulation.

  • Flutter-kick – Rest your chest and arms on a flutter board or pool noodle and flutter-kick to the other side of the pool. Once you get there, flutter-kick back to where you started. Do this for about five to 10 times. 

  • Treading water – For this, you’ll have to be a bit deeper. Tread water using only your legs. If you do need a little support, hold on to a pool noodle like riding a horse. Tread for 30 seconds, rest 30 seconds. Repeat this 10 times. The fitter you get, the longer you can “work” with shorter rest periods (i.e. 40 seconds tread, 20 seconds rest).

READ MORE: 10 Pregnancy Exercise Tips For The First Trimester 

Cool Down

It’s important to always cool down when you’re done with your workout. Walk around the shallow end of the pool a couple of times while breathing in and out calmly. End it off with a good stretch session.

Will you be working out this summer? Tell us how you'll get your heart pumping in the comments below.


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