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Can you swim while pregnant?

Can you swim while pregnant?

By ZONE3 athlete, Kim Morrison
Swimming opens up a world of freedom, exploration, and weightlessness - the ideal environment for a soon-to-be mother like myself!
I was sea swimming in November in my cosy and a bobble hat, taking on the Her Spirit Winter Swim Challenge, just before that life-changing morning in our kitchen when we were delighted to see two lines on the pregnancy test. My pro triathlete swim training quickly shifted to a more leisurely pace in our home Jacuzzi Swim Spa and local swimming pool. I was unaware of any research into whether extreme cold temperatures (the North Sea off the Norfolk coast) were safe for our baby, so I stopped going!

  • Is it okay to swim while pregnant?

Absolutely, the sense of weightlessness is amazing!

  • Is swimming in cold water safe while pregnant?

I haven't found enough research to support super cold sea temperatures, and I have not received an answer from my local midwife, so I have avoided open water in the winter and spring months.

  • Is swimming safe during the third trimester?

I'm in my third trimester, and I feel better when I start the day with a 2km swim in the local pool or end the day with a relaxing evening swim in our Jacuzzi Swim Spa - it complements the morning dog walk nicely. I did have sciatica just before my third trimester, but keeping my swimming going has helped to relieve the pressure on my lower back and helped me feel better overall, both mentally and physically.

  • Is it safe to swim in the sea while pregnant?

I've been avoiding sea swimming during the winter and spring, because of the temperature but I'll be back in the sea during the summer!  We live right by the North Sea and are also enjoying our 'babymoon' soon, so you'll be able to find me enjoying the salty water.

  • What should I wear to be as comfortable as possible while swimming while pregnant?

Because they stretch, thankfully I haven't needed to buy a new swimsuit for swimming. However, I am now going to go browse the Zone3 website in order to treat myself to a slightly better fit now I'm in my third trimester!

  • Are there any swimming strokes, drills, or aids I should avoid?

Using fewer swim aids has been a fantastic change to my swimming routine.  Training as a professional triathlete, I used to use a pull buoy, large and small paddles, swim parachutes, and sensory gloves to train. To mix up the set, I now simply bring a pull buoy to the pool which helps me focus on swimming for fun and fitness.

  • How long can you safely swim for while pregnant?

It all depends on how much you used to swim before getting pregnant. Everything I do now, in my third trimester, is at a much lower volume and intensity than before. For example, instead of swimming up to 22km per week with varying intensities, I now swim 6km per week with no high-intensity work. This helps me to keep moving without putting too extra strain on my body.

Please note, everyone’s pregnancy experience is completely different, so please contact your GP before taking on any exercise or if you have any questions at all!


Follow ZONE3 athlete Kim on Instagram (@kimmoreasons) to keep up with her training, racing, and how she manages it all while raising her children!


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