You are entitled to take time off for yourself to attend prenatal sessions and classes related to pregnancy (among other things). Water creates an ideal environment to exercise as falling isn’t a risk and in comparison to exercising on land, it can reduce the post-workout strain by at least 50%. Swimming is beneficial to pregnant women since water can be used as a medium of rehabilitation, fitness and recreation. This medium is now gaining popularity for its benefits and many therapeutic qualities. Pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue, aches and even extreme pain of shifting pelvic muscles can be soothed by hydrotherapy and aquatic exercises.
Exercising on land during pregnancy can sometimes feel awkward since it can get a little difficult to balance your body with the sudden weight gain, adding increased pressure on the spine. Being in water reduces your body weight by 80% since you float at your neck. The 4-sided resistance and buoyancy of water allows you to flex and stretch the body in ways that aren’t possible on land.
Here is a video of a pregnant woman practicing her aqua-therapy exercises:
WATSU (WaterShiatsu) is another therapeutic treatment that pregnant women can derive pleasure and relaxation from. This form of therapy utilizes warm water (35°C) to relax the body and aid in:
- Reducing stiffness
- Aches and pain
- Anxiety and prenatal depression
- Banishing insomnia.
Watch these beautiful pregnant women receive Watsu sessions from Holly Hancox, a trained professional:
5 Benefits Of Aqua-Therapy During Pregnancy
- Research has shown that just being in water can reduce swelling as effectively as drugs. For women who develop edema (swelling) during pregnancy, aqua-therapy would be a good option to provide relief from the condition. Hydrostatic pressure (the pressure of water working with gravity, from all directions on a body) increases circulation and moves bodily fluids upwards.
- Hydrostatic force produces an increase of uterine blood flow, resulting in a healthy baby and placenta. The combination of water pressure and movement of muscles helps return blood from the veins to lower extremities while reducing pressure on the veins. This can be used a preventive method to avoid the risk of varicose veins or hemorrhoids that can be developed during a pregnancy.
- Aquatic exercises can be practiced at all stages of pregnancy, allowing you to maintain good levels of fitness and a less painful labor. This will ensure your body is well prepared to meet the physical demands of childbirth. The water provides resistance to the abdominal and lower back muscles to help correct and maintain good posture while strengthening abdominal muscles.
- Apart from sticking to an appropriate diet during pregnancy, aquatic fitness allows you to stay active through any stage of pregnancy in safety. This will make it easier to ensure your weight gain during pregnancy is just the in-utero development (baby, placenta and amniotic fluids). Along with speeding up your metabolic rate, the movement along with gravity encourages digestive system functions which can be hindered by the baby growing inside you.
- According to a study, in comparison to the exertion with land-exercises, aquatic exercises have shown reduced changes in fetal heart rate. So, it’s not just beneficial to you but also to your baby.
NOTE: Pregnant women must be cautious about overheating themselves as they already have an elevated core temperature. You can relax in an outdoor pool that is heated by the sun or in a hot water tub, provided the temperature is between 80-85° F to cool the body and relax effectively.
Although aqua-therapy helps in reduction of common pregnancy symptoms, consult your healthcare provider, gynecologist or midwife before commencing or signing up for prenatal aqua-therapy sessions as each pregnancy is unique.