Hard cheeses and charcuterie. Adult beverages. Sushi. Pregnancy is a special experience, but it’s not without sacrifice. And when it comes to summer fun, moms-to-be may want to think twice about jumping in the pool while pregnant. You can still swim and reap those benefits, but you need to take the stairs getting in.
OB-GYN Tiffany Pham tells Romper in an interview that she cautions her patients to be extra careful around the pool while they’re expecting.
“During swimming activities, it is recommended that pregnant women take extra precautions in order to avoid slipping or falling around the swimming area. Jumping or diving into the pool should also be avoided,” she says. Apparently these moves can have too much of an impact, and can cause issues with your placenta.
“During pregnancy, trauma to the abdomen can result in a condition called placental abruption, which can have deadly consequences,” says Pham. “The placenta itself is attached to the wall of the uterus. During episodes of trauma, the placenta can become detached from the wall of the uterus and lead to preterm labor, preterm birth, contractions, vaginal bleeding, and even ultimately fetal death due to blood loss.”
Pham adds that placental abruption can happen with really any kind of belly trauma, and pools just pose more of a risk than other areas because they’re slippery. That’s why preventing slip-and-fall accidents is important, and she recommends wearing water shoes around the pool for just this purpose.
However, as long as pregnant pool-goers are careful, the benefits of swimming while pregnant can far outweigh the risks. For many moms, it’s a comfortable way to get in some cardio without adding stress to your joints.
“Swimming can help to decrease swelling in the legs by increasing circulation in the lower extremities during exercise,” says Pham. “It can help reduce back pain, sciatic nerve pain, and decrease pelvic pressure during exercise, as the pressure on these areas tend to be alleviated while you are in the water. Swimming overall is an excellent form of exercise to maintain fitness levels during pregnancy without further straining your joints and musculature, with the added benefit of pressure relief on specific areas of the body that tend to get strained during pregnancy.”
Besides, Pham adds that maintaining a regular workout routine during pregnancy can improve your overall fitness and muscle tone. That can “help to decrease the discomfort and also aid in the delivery process when you are in labor.”
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends pregnant women get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, meaning it’s enough to get your heart pumping and break a sweat. Pham suggests 30-minute workouts four to five days a week, listening to your body along the way to ensure you rest as needed.
Tiffany Pham, D.O., OB-GYN at Partners in OB-GYN Care at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women