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Swimming While Pregnant 2022: Benefits & Tips to Stay Safe

Mitchelle Morgan

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kimberly Langdon, MD

swimming while pregnant

A pregnant woman isn’t allowed to do some things. Are you pregnant? Say goodbye to your favorite wine, and also gone are the days you could take two or more cups of coffee.

Since pregnancy has many don’ts, it might seem like everything you like doing isn’t allowed. Well, not everything. It’s all about finding out what’s safe for you and your baby and what to avoid.

Take swimming as an example: can you swim while pregnant?

This article is a chance to get ample information about swimming while pregnant. Swimming can help you keep your shape in check. Once you have all the facts, you can make a good decision. Pregnant women also need to consult with their healthcare professionals on this matter.

Is It Safe to Swim While Pregnant?

Good aqua workouts help your body in many ways. It’s a form of aerobic exercise that you can enjoy no matter the time. However, is swimming good for everyone? Can Pregnant Women Swim in Pools?

You’ll be glad to know that there’s no need to stop swimming when pregnant. The ACOG (The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) recommends swimming while pregnant as a safe water workout[1]. So, you can start swimming if you’ve been searching for good aerobic exercise.

Swimming while pregnant is good, but you must avoid any diving, scuba diving, or strenuous water activities like water skiing. It’s better to stick to doing laps across the pool. Plus, you can do water yoga and other less stressful activities during your swimming sessions.

Women who undergo IVF must try to lower their activity levels. Such restrictions are for your health and benefit. However, this puts you at risk of gains and endurance reduction. Swimming is a great way to sustain your muscle tone.

Swimming while pregnant is a safe exercise that you can do every day. It’s a fun way for expectant moms to bond while enjoying their swimming sessions. The aerobic exercise focuses on a pregnant mom’s whole body, not the sensitive core area.

But, when swimming while pregnant, caution is necessary and crucial. If you have any medical conditions or pregnancy complications, it’s better to relax on the pool deck. Still, swimming is good for easing pregnancy aches since it’s a low-impact exercise. However, it’s not for all pregnant women.

Therefore, when you confirm your pregnancy, speak with your healthcare professional about swimming while pregnant. When you get the green light to start swimming, do so in a safe environment.

Swimming During Pregnancy Precautions

Beware of Pregnancy Fatigue

Listen to your body and exit the pool when your body feels tired. Pregnant moms can feel tired easily[2] and are better off not participating in strenuous activities. Only swim in calm waters and note if it’s clean before taking part in any open water swimming.

Find Out Bacteria Levels in the Pool

Ask for any reports on the bacteria levels to determine the water quality. Pregnancy leads to changes[3] in your immune system and hormonal levels. This leaves you vulnerable to diseases caused by bacteria in the water. So, always find out the bacteria levels[4] before swimming. In general, avoid ponds and lakes if you are going to submerge your head. 

Consider the Water Temperature

Pregnant water must avoid hot tubs or other spots with warm water. Since you have a baby growing in your belly, your body temperature must not rise above 39°C. While hot water can relax the whole body, it’s better to skip it when pregnant.

The first trimester is the riskiest when you indulge in hot water dips. As your body temperature rises, your baby is at risk of developing abnormalities[5]. If worse comes, you can get a miscarriage[6], so steer clear of hot water in hot tubs when you want to stay active.

The normal pool temperature is ideal for pregnant women who enjoy low-impact exercise. The cool water is also a good way to ease pregnancy aches as your baby bump grows. But, the water shouldn’t be freezing.

While you usually might enjoy open water swimming in frigid conditions, maintaining an ideal body temperature is crucial during pregnancy. So, swimming in cold water while pregnant must never happen. So, swimming in cold lake water while pregnant poses many risks for you and your baby[7].

Always go swimming while pregnant in a normal pool and move at a slower pace. Such swimming is completely safe for you and your baby. Start slowly during the first trimester and pace yourself when you reach the third trimester.

Is Chlorine Harmful?

Being safe is crucial for the health and well-being of pregnant women. So, naturally, you might wonder about the chlorine in the pool. You can put your mind at ease since it doesn’t negatively affect you or your baby.

A 2010 study[8] showed no harmful effects because of swimming in chlorinated pools. The pregnant women participants who did enjoy swimming in chlorinated pools managed to stay active. That reduced their chance of preterm deliveries.

However, remember to only swim after consulting with your doctor. Also, wear appropriate pregnancy swimwear that’s comfortable.

Benefits of Swimming While Pregnant

Swimming during pregnancy is among the safe exercises that you can do. It’s crucial to stay active while pregnant for your health and well-being.

Water aerobics and other forms of exercise are good for pregnant moms. Some of the benefits of swimming during pregnancy are:

Maintaining Good Weight

Weight gain[9] happens during pregnancy. It’s important to do some exercise to maintain your shape from the first trimester to the third trimester. Pregnancy swimming is a good water aerobic exercise to maintain muscle tone.

Pain Relief

As your pregnancy progresses, it’s not uncommon to experience aches and pain in your body. Swimming while pregnant can help alleviate round ligament pain.

Round ligament pain occurs when the ligaments in your body[10] start to soften and stretch. As this happens, you start to experience frequent irritation and require ways to alleviate round ligament pain. Try swimming for sciatic pain relief, especially during the second trimester.

As you approach the end of the third trimester, swimming can prepare you for birth. Some pregnant women opt for a water birth as a safe way of giving birth.

Improved Sleep Quality

Taking part in aqua aerobics is good for pregnant women because it improves sleep quality. Like many other forms of aerobic exercises[11], it helps relax your body as you go through changes. Start with a warm-up each time to stretch your muscles before swimming. Doing so can ease pelvic pain or hip pain for expectant moms and improve women’s health.

Safe Form of Exercise

Swimming is a safe form of exercise for pregnant women during the first trimester, second trimester, and third trimester. Many benefits come with it, and it’s a great way to ease sciatic pain. Start swimming during pregnancy to boost your health.

Improves Blood Circulation

Swollen limbs[12] occur during pregnancy because of excess blood in your lower limbs. It can be painful to stand or walk for pregnant women because of poor blood circulation.

One solution that improves blood circulation is swimming in good water quality.

Ease Morning Sickness

Morning sickness can start during the first trimester. This causes you to experience nausea and vomiting because of many triggers, including food odors. Spending time in the cool water of a swimming pool can ease morning sickness.

Tips for Swimming Safely During Pregnancy

When you get the green light from your doctor to swim while pregnant, here are a few tips that can help improve your experience.

Drink Lots of Water

Have a water bottle with you at all times to stay hydrated. While swimming is a great way to relax your whole body, it’s important to avoid dehydration while pregnant[13]. Therefore, pregnant women need to drink water often and steer clear of sugary and caffeinated drinks that can cause dehydration. 

Instead, have healthy drinks with lots of vitamins to supplement your body. You should also consider protein supplements to improve your health and boost fetus development.

Wear Comfy Swimwear

Wear a comfy swimming suit for expectant moms. Start slowly and listen to your body when swimming while pregnant. If you notice any issues like vaginal bleeding or blood on your urine, head to the doctor immediately.

Apply Sunscreen

Outdoor swimming pools expose you to the harsh sun rays. That is why it’s crucial to wear sunscreen to protect your skin. Swimming works to keep your body healthy, while sunscreen prevents sunburns and skin damage.

Walk Carefully

It might not be best to swim while pregnant in your third trimester. During that period, your baby bump is big, and areas around the pool are slippery. If you still want to relax in the cool water, have someone there to offer support. Remember to always warm up your body before you enter the pool.

When to Stop?

Swimming can be entirely safe for many pregnant women. However, you need to know when to stop based on your body. Swimming at a slower pace is the best, especially as your pregnancy progresses.

But, when you feel nauseous, in pain, or notice any vaginal bleeding, exit the pool. While swimming leaves you in great form, overdoing it can harm pregnant women’s health.

Avoid swimming if your doctor is against it, and never swim in extremely cold water while pregnant. Also, make sure your swimming sessions are not longer than half an hour. Do so only 3 to 5 times a week and mix it with other forms of exercise like walking.

The Bottom Line

Is it safe to go swimming while pregnant?

Swimming while pregnant has many benefits for your body. It improves blood circulation and alleviates round ligament pain. However, it’s better to speak with your doctor about this form of aqua aerobics. It’s not safe to do if you’re experiencing pregnancy complications. Chlorinated pools are your best place to swim while pregnant.

You can go for a swim during all three trimesters but do so at normal water temperature. Avoid hot tubs or any hot water that can increase your body temperature. Also, keep a moderate pace and exit the pool if you feel tired.


+ 13 sources

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  1. ACOG. (2022). Exercise During Pregnancy. Available at: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/exercise-during-pregnancy
  2. Mortazavi, F., & Borzoee, F. (2019). Fatigue in Pregnancy: The validity and reliability of the Farsi Multidimensional Assessment of Fatigue scale. Sultan Qaboos University medical journal, 19(1), e44–e50. https://doi.org/10.18295/squmj.2019.19.01.009
  3. Erin, D., (2017). Immune system changes during pregnancy are precisely timed. Available at: https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2017/09/immune-system-changes-during-pregnancy-are-precisely-timed.html.
  4. US EPA. (2013). LEARN: What Affects Human Health at the Beach. Available at: https://www.epa.gov/beaches/learn-what-affects-human-health beach#:~:text=A%20sign%20recommending%20no%20swimming,polluted%20water%2C%20usually%20while%20swimming.
  5. Konkel L. (2019). Taking the Heat: Potential Fetal Health Effects of Hot Temperatures. Environmental health perspectives, 127(10), 102002. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP6221
  6. Li, D. K., Janevic, T., Odouli, R., & Liu, L. (2003). Hot tub use during pregnancy and the risk of miscarriage. American journal of epidemiology, 158(10), 931–937. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwg243
  7. Gundle, L., & Atkinson, A. (2020). Pregnancy, cold water swimming, and cortisol: The effect of cold water swimming on obstetric outcomes. Medical hypotheses, 144, 109977. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mehy.2020.109977
  8. Juhl, M., Kogevinas, M., Andersen, P. K., Andersen, A. M., & Olsen, J. (2010). Is swimming during pregnancy a safe exercise?. Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.), 21(2), 253–258. https://doi.org/10.1097/EDE.0b013e3181cb6267
  9. CDC. (2022). Weight Gain During Pregnancy. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pregnancy-weight-gain.htm
  10. Cicilet S. (2017). Acute groin pain in pregnancy: a case of round ligament varicocele. BJR case reports, 3(3), 20150517. https://doi.org/10.1259/bjrcr.20150517
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  12. Baciuk, E. P., Pereira, R. I., Cecatti, J. G., Braga, A. F., & Cavalcante, S. R. (2008). Water aerobics in pregnancy: Cardiovascular response, labor, and neonatal outcomes. Reproductive health, 5, 10. https://doi.org/10.1186/1742-4755-5-10
  13. Auman-Bauer K. (2021). Hydration can impact pregnancy and birth outcomes Available at: https://www.psu.edu/news/research/story/hydration-can-impact-pregnancy-and-birth-outcomes/#:~:text=The%20study%20also%20sought%20to,lower%20birth%20weight%20z%2Dscores.
Mitchelle Morgan

Medically reviewed by:

Kimberly Langdon

Mitchelle Morgan is a health and wellness writer with over 10 years of experience. She holds a Master's in Communication. Her mission is to provide readers with information that helps them live a better lifestyle. All her work is backed by scientific evidence to ensure readers get valuable and actionable content.

Medically reviewed by:

Kimberly Langdon

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