Is it Safe to Swim While Pregnant When Pool Has Bleach & Chlorine?

Young pregnant woman in swimming pool
It is safe for a pregnant woman to swim in a pool. (Image: Andriy Bandurenko/iStock/Getty Images)

Swimming is one of the safest exercises you can do during pregnancy, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Swimming in a pool with bleach and chlorine can be safe and beneficial during pregnancy. As long as you are not limited by certain health issues, both you and your growing baby can benefit. Consult with your doctor before exercising during pregnancy.

Safety

Swimming in a pool with chlorine and bleach is safe. Dr. Mark Nieuwenhuijsen of the Department of Environmental Science and Technology at Imperial College in London says there is no scientific evidence that a woman can be harmed during pregnancy by the chemicals in pools or their by-products. These by-products form when chlorine mixes with organic matter such as skin cells and body care products. He looked at studies in other countries that linked birthing issues with these by-products and found the results inconsistent and inconclusive. He notes that pools must be disinfected properly to get rid of dangerous pathogens, but pregnant women should shower before swimming to remove loose organic matter.

Benefits

Pregnant women should aim to participate in at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity, such as swimming, on most days of the week. Regular exercise is beneficial for both the mind and body. Exercise can reduce common pregnancy discomforts such as constipation, aches and pains, tiredness, sleep problems and even varicose veins. If that isn't enough, exercise also can prevent pregnancy-related health complications such as gestational diabetes and pregnancy-induced hypertension.

Swelling

Swimming can help prevent or reduce one major uncomfortable problem with pregnancy: swelling. During pregnancy, a woman's body produces 50 percent more fluids than usual. This in conjunction with retaining water can cause swelling in the limbs, hands and feet. This swelling can be uncomfortable, but swimming can help. Using a pool to exercise or relax in can help reduce swelling by reducing the affects of gravity on the fluid in your body.

Precautions and Considerations

It is safe for most pregnant women to exercise, but you should consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program during pregnancy. Some women with health complications such as placenta previa, lung problems, heart problems, cervix problems, preeclampsia, ruptured membranes or a history of preterm labor may have to avoid exercise. Follow your doctors guidelines for swimming in a pool.

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