Women with normal, low-risk pregnancies are encouraged to exercise consistently through their pregnancies and after giving birth. Any form of exercise when pregnant can be advantageous, but the aquatic environment provides additional benefits for the pregnant woman.
A woman’s body go through many physiological and structural changes during pregnancy. Some of the changes include weight gain, changes in body alignment and posture, increase in heart rate, decrease in lung capacity, blood volume increases, swelling and decreased venous return and sometimes even edema.
These changes can affect the woman’s physical activity performance. Incorporating water exercise can help ease on her body, reduce back and hip pain, etc., while maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle.
Benefits of Water Exercise During Pregnancy
There are so many great benefits of water exercise during pregnancy. I’ve listed most of them below. You can read more about the benefits of aqua fitness in general in my other article Here.
Here are some of the benefits relating specifically to pregnant women:
- Hydrostatic pressure of the water increases blood circulation and flow, this help to reduce swelling and edema, a phenomenon that some women experience also during pregnancy.
- An increase of metabolism which results in better weight regulation, also easing constipation.
- The water is a safe environment for pregnant women since there is no risk of falling. Also, the reduced fear of falling leads to a more complete and enjoyable experience.
- Strengthening the muscles, especially the core muscles, can decrease joint pain specifically in the lower back hip. Also, strengthening the abdomen and core muscles help to support the growing weight of the uterus and maintain proper posture.
- The buoyancy of the water allows exercising in different body positions that are difficult to impossible on land as the belly grows. For example, horizontal body position; supine or prone (lying on the back or stomach) can be done very easily and safely in the water.
- The viscosity of the water allows for slower, more controlled movements, and help in preventing injuries that might occur from fast ballistic and uncontrolled movements.
- The cooling effect of the water helps in avoiding fetal heat stress.
- The water has a soothing and relaxing effect. When immersed in the water with comfortable temperature, people tend to be more calm and relaxed. This can help mentally and emotionally, reducing any feelings of stress and anxiety in pregnant women.