Swimming in Chlorinated Pools -- Is It Safe?

Cynthia Dermody
Pregnancy
6

Summer Safety Guide

swimming while pregnant

Photo by my2luvbugs

Swimming was a non issue during both of my two pregnancies. My son was a May baby, so that bump was covered in sweaters and bulky clothes most of the time.

My daughter was born in December, so I was sporting a small tummy and a few extra pounds over that summer. But I was way too busy chasing a toddler to plan a vacation or shop for a maternity bathing suit, so the desire to swim just passed over me that year anyway.

But many mamas in their second and third trimesters might be wondering about not only their water attire but other rules and warnings concerning swimming, especially in pools loaded with chemicals. Is all that smelly chlorine safe for your developing baby?

Christina Johnson, a certified midwife and spokesperson for the American College of Nurse-Midwives, has that and other answers:

Can pregnant women swim?

Certainly! It provides an ideal form of exercise involving minimal impact on joints. Women should start out slowly, stretch before and afterwards, and stay well-hydrated while swimming, drinking plenty of water before, during and after their workout.

Moms will also want to wear flip-flops in public locker rooms or poolside to avoid contracting a contagious foot fungus. Women should avoid saunas, spas and hot tubs during pregnancy, and water that is very cold. 

Is swimming in chlorine safe for the baby?

Chlorine and salt-water pools are safe as long as chemical balances are checked frequently and properly maintained. 

So, none of those chemicals will get up ... there? And I don't have to worry about breathing all the fumes?

The chemicals will not reach the baby as long as the mother's membranes are intact, as the cervical mucus plug and bag of waters provide protection to the fetus. A mother should avoid swimming once her bag of waters has broken, if she has vaginal bleeding, or if she is in active labor experiencing cervical dilatation. 

Heavily used public pools may contain higher chemical levels, so it would be better to swim in well-ventilated areas.

And, of course, women with chronic health problems should consult their health care provider prior to initiating a new exercise regimen.

Did you swim while pregnant? Did the chlorine or salt water make you nervous? What precautions did you take?

Read More