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Antenatal Swimming

Water is the source of life and is absolutely unique. It is precious all over the world, as nothing can survive long without it, so can therefore be described as the catalyst found in all life forms. When searching for life outside of our solar system, the pressence of water is the first thing to be investigated. If water is found, then there may be a chance that life, in whatever form, will exist.

Water becomes important to us from the moment that we are conceived, the fertilised egg is about 95% water and for the next nine months the Fetus develops, while cusioned, protected and moving around in a watery environment and as such has a natural affinity with it. The journey from conception through to birth is an ever-changing magical experience where the happiness and health of a woman is of vital importance.

Keeping our body fit through exercise natuarally helps us to feel good both physically and mentally, and swimming during pregnancy is a gentle and relaxing way to ensure this. We feel better emotionally after exercise, due to the production of serotonin in the body, and endorphins which are neurotransmitters produced in the brain. These have an effect of regulating mood, appetite, sleep, muscle contraction and pain, and some cognitive functions including memory and learning. The more that we take care and look after our bodies the better they will function and this is also important during pregnancy and birth.

A recent study by Kansas City University of Medicine has shown that staying fit while pregnant can help with the physical demands of pregancy, labour and motherhood. Exercising while pregnant also prepares the Fetus for the stressess of birth as the Fetus becomes familiar with the increase/ decrease in heart rate.

Swimming is a great way to stay fit and healthy right through pregnancy, as swimming will strengthen muscles, in particular the abdominals and back muscles. Swimming is one activity that is unlikely to cause any injury during pregnancy. The nearly weightless environment that is created by the water's bouyancy provides a safe place for working out the large muscle groups and the cardiovascular system.

It will increase the maternal aerobic capacity which means that the body will be able to transport oxygen more effectively to the working muscles.

Swimming is recommended as an activity by both doctors and midwives.

Swimming and the supportive nature of the water can help to relieve lower back pain as the weight of the growing Fetus is supported by the water and will also assist making a woman feel more comfortable as her body changes shape.

The wash of the water over the woman's body as they move through the water will ensure that she does not overheat. Raising the core temperature too much can affect the Fetus adversely. Swimming can be sustained for a longer period of time than exercise which is land based, because of the cooling effect.

The massaging effect of the water will help to relieve stress and reduce blood pressure, providing a sense of well-being. As the water pressure assists the blood to circulate around the body there may be less swelling of the hands and feet.

Water gives a great opportuntiy for relaxation by either floating or by being supported with woggles. Lying with eyes closed and allowing the water to gently rock and move the body gives time for inner thoughts and a bonding between woman and Fetus.


The Course Instructor is Mandy Parfitt 

If you are interested in this course please see the contact section for details of how to contact us   


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