The aquatic environment helps reduce weight bearing on all joints, which helps reduce joint and back pain. Learn safe exercise techniques to strengthen core muscles: abdominals, pelvic floor, back and leg muscles.
Benefits of Aquatic Fitness During Pregnancy:
Delivery Benefits: Maintaining a good level of fitness helps ensure you are prepared for the physical demands of childbirth. It has been reported that those who exercise often have easier, less painful labor. Aquatic exercise is something you can do at all stages of your pregnancy allowing you to maintain a consistent routine.
Core Strength, Stability, Posture: Working out in water provides resistance to the abdominal and lower back muscles which helps maintain correct posture. Aquatic exercise better prepares your abdominals for how they are used in real life compared to land-based exercise. Water allows a larger variety of isolation exercises for the abdominal muscles because the pregnant body can move in ways not possible on land.
Greater flexibility and balance: Providing assistance for upper and lower body motions, buoyancy is able to help enhance flexibility of tight and imbalanced muscle groups. This allows improved range of motion with less discomfort than if attempted on land.
Low Impact: Exercising in the water significantly reduces the stress on your joints, bones, and muscles because of waters unloading property of buoyancy. This is a very safe and effective way to exercise for those who are pregnant as they can control the level at which they work.
Reduced Swelling: Hydrostatic pressure helps reduce swelling. Research has shown that just being in the water can reduce swelling as effectively as drugs. One study found water aerobics had diuretic and edema-relieving effects similar to static immersion. For some women who develop edema of pregnancy, Aquatic fitness may be a good option for relieving this condition.
Improved Circulation: Varicose veins and hemorrhoids develop as a result of venous pressure; exercise in the water has been shown to reduce this venous pressure. The combination of water pressure and movement of the muscles helps return blood from the veins in the lower extremities. The hydrostatic force of water also produces an increase of uterine blood flow that is essential to grow a healthy baby and placenta.
Cooling: Pregnant women have an elevated core temperature and must be cautious about overheating themselves and the fetus during exercise, especially during the first trimester. Water that is an appropriate temperature (80- 85 degrees F) help cool the body effectively during exercise.
Increased Metabolism: An appropriate diet during pregnancy is important for the mother’s health and for proper prenatal development. Since aquatic fitness allows you to safely remain active at all times throughout your pregnancy, it is easier to ensure your weight gain is "all baby" (baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid.) Not only are you more comfortable during your pregnancy, if you exercise regularly it makes it easier to regain your original figure after delivery!
Eases Gastrointestinal Problems: Movement with gravity aids digestive system function which sometimes becomes hindered by the presence of a fetus.
Social: Last but not least, aquatic exercise is a great way to help you get out of the house and meet other expecting Mums with similar interests and hobbies.
Get started with any of these easy-to-master moves. All of the exercises are considered safe to do during any stage of pregnancy — just check with your health care provider as you would before starting any new exercise.