While pregnancy can be awesome, it's also a little unnerving. You've heard all the wonderful stories about blissful pregnancies and eating for two, and you've got a few horror stories that you'd like to un-hear but can't. You're receiving unsolicited advice from everyone: your mother-in-law, the old ladies at church and strangers in an elevator. Still, the best advice is to listen to your doctor or midwife and do what makes sense for you. Eating healthy and exercising moderately are two points that most professionals agree upon. If you own a pool or just love to swim for exercise, here are some things you need to know about swimming pool chemicals and pregnancy:
Is Swimming While Pregnant Good Exercise?
The benefits of swimming while you're pregnant are significant. The water provides a buoyancy that makes you feel better and better as your pregnancy progresses. Swimming also provides low-impact fitness that's easier on your joints while they relax and expand in preparation for childbirth. As with any exercise regimen, always check with your doctor or midwife first; don't try to do more than you were doing before you got pregnant. Regular breaks and adequate hydration are more important than ever while swimming, so take extra care to drink lots of water.
Pool Chemicals and Pregnancy
The big question most pregnant women ask is:
"Are pool chemicals safe during pregnancy?"
Well, the easy answer isn't "yes" or "no." Several studies conducted on the subject have shown inconclusive results. Some feel that overexposure to chlorine-saturated air could lead to allergies, asthma or other issues. About the only thing they do agree on is that they need more studies to be sure. However, there are some things you can do to minimize your exposure to some of these chemicals.
Don't Handle the Chemicals Yourself
If you own a pool, it's time to get someone else to do the maintenance work on it. Shocking the pool or restocking the chlorine exposes you to a higher concentration of chemicals, and that's a risk you don't need to take. Now is the perfect time to delegate some of these jobs to someone else!
Less is More
Can pool chemicals make you sick? Generally, too much of anything can make you sick. When considering swimming, less time in the water is advisable. While pregnant, consider limiting your time to 30 minutes per session. Also, it's best to wash that pool water off sooner too. Take a full shower and wash your hair when you're done; don't just rinse off.
More is Better
If you are swimming in a public pool, one way to deal with pool chemicals is by swimming only in outdoor pools. The open air lets the chemical fumes dissipate faster. If you are looking for an indoor pool, find one that has the highest ceilings and good ventilation.
Switch to Saltwater Chlorination
As a safer alternative to pool chemicals that can make you sick while there's a baby on board, many pool owners have installed a salt chlorinator. These pools do have chlorine, but you won't have to mess around with chlorine tablets or liquids on a regular basis. Many people also believe that the salt is safer and easier on your skin and hair.
If you are wondering if pool chemicals and pregnancy really go together, what most experts will tell you is that the benefits of swimming typically outweigh the dangers. Your healthcare provider will clarify the burning question "Are pool chemicals bad for you?" once and for all. If they say it's alright, then get your favorite swimsuit and grab a towel to enjoy a refreshing and healthy swim.