Can You Swim After Giving Birth? It Depends


Giving birth is a life and body-changing process, and sometimes, the only thing you want is to return to your pre-delivery activities. But, with a slew of recovery symptoms, and trying to acquaint yourself with this new post-baby bod, it's not always an easy transition back to normalcy. Will the pain ever subside? (Yes.) Will you ever feel rested again? (Doubtful.) And, most importantly, with summer looming on the horizon, can you swim after giving birth?

Let's not joke around — recovering from birth is no easy feat and it should not be taken lightly. As Mayo Clinic noted, post-delivery symptoms can include sore breasts, constipation, vaginal bleeding, "after pains," and hot or cold flashes. Emotional post-delivery symptoms are no picnic either and could include "baby blues," or postpartum depression. Add this to the actual daunting task of caring for a newborn on very little sleep, and you may wonder how you're still standing.

The truth, as Mayo Clinic mentioned, is that it took your body many months to prepare for birth, and it will take some time to recover from that process. If your baby was born via C-section, it could take even longer to recover from than if your baby was delivered vaginally.

So while you're eager to get back to the pool, you may have to wait a bit. According to Karen Pelone, Nurse Manager of Labor & Delivery at Providence Tarzana Medical Center, most obstetricians recommend six to eight weeks postpartum to recover before resuming swimming. Before this time period, Pelone mentions in an interview with Romper, there is a risk of infection for women recovering from either form of delivery.

Brian A. Levine, MD, of CCRM New York, suggests waiting until lochia (post-delivery vaginal bleeding) has stopped before getting back to the pool. But, after your lochia has subsided, Levine encourages women to swim post-delivery. In an interview with Romper, he says that swimming is a terrific, low-impact, aerobic activity. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that after having a baby, and when cleared by their doctor, a woman should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.

After you have your baby, check with your doctor about getting back to the pool — you may be able to swim sooner than you think. (And indulge in a pool-side margarita.)