Swimming is a great way to recover after pregnancy and childbirth. Learn how swimming postpartum will help you safely regain your pre-baby body.
Congratulations on the arrival of your baby!
A few weeks in and the parenting journey is teeming with new experiences, night feeds, and mountains of diapers.
But as you adjust to your new baby, you’re eager to get back your pre-baby body. Even if you have stuck with the pregnancy weight gain guidelines, it will still take time for your body to return to pre-pregnancy shape. You start to think about when and how to ease back into exercise safely.
This is a guest post by Nikos Vasilellis, the Founder of Nereids Aquatic Coaching. Nereids Aquatic Coaching company helps children and adults to overcome their fear of water by focusing on their strengths and helping them enjoy the aquatic environment safely.
Is it Okay to Go Swimming after Giving birth?
Exercises can help improve moods, strengthen your body, and help quickly recover after having your baby. Even when you’re unmotivated or feeling exhausted, you can do simple, regular exercises for a start to get your body moving. One such exercise is swimming.
Swimming is a low-impact form of exercise. It’s also an incredibly effective way to tone muscles without straining ligaments and joints, which stay soft up to six months after giving birth. Since swimming is a non-weight bearing exercise, it’s the perfect activity for burning calories and losing the baby weight.
Safe and gentle postpartum pool workouts to engage in include:
- Aqua jogging or walking
- Swimming laps in slow, comfortable moves
- Enrolling in aqua aerobics classes
Swimming will help you get back in shape after childbirth fast as it works your upper and lower body as well as your core.
Keep off the swimming pool, though, until your postnatal bleeding stops and stitches well-healed if you had a C-section. Remember to check with your doctor first before you engage in pool workouts.
Once your doctor clears you for exercise, start swimming gradually. Meanwhile, pay keen attention to your body during and after a swim. Simple, moderate workouts are the way to go. You’ll feel great as you tone your body.
When Can I Swim After Giving Birth?
It’s often recommended to go swimming after four to six weeks have elapsed to ensure that your cervix is completely closed. Postnatal bleeding has ceased almost entirely. And the risk of uterine infection drastically reduced.
However, your type of birth will determine how soon you’ll get back to swimming.
1. If you had a C-section:
Recovering from a C-section takes longer than vaginal birth. You’ll need to wait until your post-delivery vaginal discharge entirely ceases. After six weeks, you need to get the thumbs up from your doctor to resume any exercise to ensure that the incision is healing properly.
2. If you had an episiotomy:
You should wait until the stitches completely heal to start swimming. Usually, it can take up to four weeks for that to happen. Returning too soon in the pool can lead to possible infection.
3. If you had a natural vaginal birth:
It can take seven to ten days for your post-delivery vaginal discharge to taper off. But to completely stop? You’ll need two to four more weeks. After which you can resume your water-based exercise.
If you’ve undergone a C-section and your wound is taking time to heal or is infected, it’s risky to resume full water-based exercises even after the recommended six to eight weeks elapse. At this point, it’s best to seek your doctor’s advice on when to safely begin swimming.
Even with your doctor’s approval, it can take you longer to get back in the water. Especially if you’re still cramping or experiencing pain in your incision, a routine check-up can help restore peace of mind.
How to Lose Belly Fat after Pregnancy with Swimming
If you want to burn more calories and get back your pre-baby body after the arrival of your new baby, swimming is your best bet. Swimming consistently works all your muscle groups, including legs, arms, and glutes. It supports all your joints, providing a challenging all-over workout.
Losing belly fat after pregnancy with swimming boils down to being willing to gently swim at least half an hour daily – equivalent to an hour of out-of-the-water exercises, which burns up to 250 and 300 calories. Swimming is, in fact, an ideal alternative to running on dry land.
Advantages of swimming over running include:
- You exercise in a liberating, weightless environment.
- It’s a low impact exercise. You can do it while pregnant or even when you are 98 years old.
- It’s fun and engaging, as you can choose different swimming techniques to try.
- It’s a total body workout. Swimming engages different muscle groups to burn calories.
To tone up your tummy, incorporate aqua-gym style moves into your pool sessions. Remember to go easy on things at first, though. You’re a new mom, so it’s better to perform gentle core and pelvic floor strengthening exercises as you ease back to exercising.
The great thing about swimming? It helps build lean muscles and shape up your pre-baby body quickly. Every time you swim, water provides consistent resistance. So the more you swim, the more calories you burn, and the closer you get to the goal of a leaner body.
To achieve maximum effectiveness with resistance training, you can try bodyweight resistance exercises in water, such as squats and lunges. If you are not comfortable trying out these exercises, enroll in group aqua-aerobics classes, and train under a qualified instructor. Also remember to fuel your body with the proper nutrition to support your postpartum recovery journey.
Swim Your Way Back to Pre-Baby Shape!
Swimming after giving birth – and achieving incredible results while at it – takes several swimming attempts to find what works best for you. Pace yourself and listen to your body. Consult a doctor if you feel any pain or experience any bleeding.
As with any exercise, remember to drink water before, during, and after swimming.
Even with many things baby-related, managing to swim a single lap in a pool, as a new mom, is a feat worth celebrating. So, take your time and relax in the water. Enjoy yourself. And soak your endorphins. You’ll soon be surprised to see your body steadily shaping up – soaring your confidence.