Extensive Benefits of Aquatic Therapy During Pregnancy
Aquatic therapy can have great benefits for pregnant women. Every woman has a different experience during pregnancy and many women even have radically different experiences each time they’re pregnant. The most common pregnancy symptoms, such as fatigue and body aches, can be managed with hydrotherapy.
Is Hydrotherapy Safe During Pregnancy?
Hydrotherapy is generally safe for most women during pregnancy, but the temperature of the water shouldn’t be extremely hot. The water creates buoyancy, which helps support a woman’s body, and the sense of weightlessness takes the pressure off the pelvic floor and other joints. Pregnant women can also do exercises that would be more risky to do on land.
Each pregnancy is unique. Consulting with your healthcare provider before you begin hydrotherapy is essential to ensure that it is the right thing for you.
What Does Hydrotherapy Look Like During Pregnancy?
Hydrotherapy during pregnancy can involve different exercises done at an appropriate pace. Women can start with warm-ups like squats to warm the legs and hips or knee-ups for the core. Pregnant women can do gentle cardio such as walking, jogging and jumping. Though these exercises are high-impact on land, when done in the water, they provide low-impact alternatives.
Aquatic therapy can also incorporate tools such as floaties or noodles, enabling women to do stretching and strengthening exercises with the necessary assistance. Hydrotherapy allows pregnant women to do these exercises without fear of falling, overheating or putting the baby at risk.
Benefits of Hydrotherapy During Pregnancy
A woman’s body endures many changes during pregnancy, the effects of which can cause many different physical ailments. Aquatic exercise can be extremely beneficial during this time. Not only does the water help relax and soothe aching muscles, it eliminates the uneasiness many feel when walking around. The buoyancy of the water can be rejuvenating, while increasing energy and flexibility and decreasing the risk of falls. These have all been cited as common benefits of aquatic exercise. Other medical benefits of aquatic therapy include:
- Reduces swelling in the legs, ankles and feet. The hydrostatic pressure of water naturally increases circulation and decreases swelling in the lower extremities.
- According to some studies, less fetal heart rate changes occur during exertion during water exercise than land exercise.
- Controlling pregnancy weight by keeping up with exercise during pregnancy is safe and suggested in order to help the weight come off faster after pregnancy.
- Exercising in water versus land decreases the chance of falling. Water is a safety net and is the ideal environment to work out in.
- Water therapy can help reduce back pain as a result of weight gain. The best way to avoid lower back pain is to strengthen muscles in your core and legs.
- Hydrotherapy during pregnancy can assist in managing symptoms like aches and pains commonly associated with pregnancy.
- The low-impact exercise strengthens the pelvic floor by contracting and building the muscles. Pelvic floor strengthening can help prepare the body for childbirth.
- Aquatic therapy exercises can also improve your overall mood, energy and mental health.
Very similar to land, there are a few things to keep in mind when performing aquatic therapy and exercise during pregnancy including drinking plenty of water to keep you hydrated. It’s also important not to push your limits or overdo it and receive the go ahead from your doctor or clinician before using aquatic therapy.
Sarah who is 36.5 weeks pregnant states, “My ankles and hands are so swollen, it really makes it hard to stay active because all I want to do is put my feet up. I noticed that after I got out of the water my ankles were decent. I felt really good. And it feels good in my hips and other areas where I’m carrying so much extra weight, it just takes the pressure off. It feel really great.”
Columbia Physical Therapy in Kennewick, WA specializes in aquatic therapy for pregnant women using their HydroWorx 500 Series. From their facility, this video shows a pregnant woman performing exercises to strengthen her muscles and take the majority of her body weight off of her back:
Contact HydroWorx for More Information
Aquatic therapy for pregnancy can be a great way to deal with the associated symptoms while getting exercise. If you want to learn more about hydrotherapy during pregnancy — from how it works to what benefits it provides — so that you can offer it at your practice, contact us today!