View Full Version : Swimming and pregnancy

August 21st, 2014, 03:29 PM
I am currently 23 weeks pregnant and am still pretty active. I will do some sort of workout at least 5 days/week. Mainly running and swimming. The last 3 or 4 weeks or so, I have noticed that I am struggling with the swim workouts. Barely make it to 1000-1500 yards. I break down my sets within the workout a lot and take more than plenty of rest in between. I understand the processes/dynamics that have changed due to the pregnancy (great article below), which explains the symptoms I am having at about 1000 yards into a swim: tingling in legs and arms and fatigue. I am assuming that is caused due to lack of oxygen getting to my muscles. My main question is if there is anything I can do differently/adjust so I can stay in the pool a little longer than I have been.


Little bit of background on me: endurance athlete > marathoner, ironman distance events, etc. I like the long stuff. I have to admit that with swimming I am more a steady/long, than fast/short type of swimmer, but that is mainly due to the endurance events I am training for. Maybe that is why my VO2 is suffering faster during the swim now that I am pregnant. When swimming, I probably do 90% freestyle and right now I don't use any equipment, since that takes even more energy for me.

Any advice is welcome!

Bill Sive
August 21st, 2014, 10:24 PM
You should be here.


August 21st, 2014, 10:41 PM
I swam and ran through 3 pregnancies and had 3 healthy and large babies. My advice is to discuss this with your OB. Every person and pregnancy is different. I'd explain the fatigue to your doc and let them advise you accordingly.

August 23rd, 2014, 07:53 PM
have a 14 week old and swam until the day I delivered. I swam with a heart rate monitor because I tend to just "go".
It helped me a lot although towards the end, only a 25 "float-freestyle" would make my heartrate skyrocket. Everyone is different though and I talked a lot to my OBGYN about working out throughout pregnancy.
I encourage you to talk to your doc about it and find a way to stay active but not overdo it. That's the most important thing during pregnancy.

August 25th, 2014, 02:35 AM
You should be here.


Hi there "mvanrooden",

I'm Danielle, and I've been writing the workouts for the Expectant and New Mom's for the past 2.5 years here at USMS. I've heard from many women since I started about this same thing you are describing. One woman described it to me as hitting a wall and feeling as though they could not literally take another stroke.

You are in excellent shape from the description you give about yourself and your training background - so in addition to what the others have said about talking with your OB, I will add in this advice:

1.) Make your warm-up longer, and be sure to include at least a 50 or a 100 of some easy Backstroke and/or Breaststroke, as doing 90% Freestyle can wear you out

2.) If you feel this sudden onset of tingly legs or dizziness, stop swimming for a while and just float on your back, lightly kicking and focus on your breathing. You can even do a light pulling action like you're swimming Elementary Backstroke while doing this, if you want.

3.) If you still feel tingly or dizzy, stop and stand up - do some water-walking for a little bit until you feel back to normal, then try swimming again, starting off with some easy Backstroke, while focusing on your breathing.

4.) Every pregnant woman comes to a point in their pregnancy where they can no longer do any kind of "strong" swimming, and descending sets become near impossible. If 23 weeks is that point for you, don't fret, but keep swimming nice and slow! Even slow, short workouts will benefit you as your progress in your pregnancy. I always say, "a short swim is better than no swim!" You could even use the time in the water as "me time" where you can zone out on all things baby - thinking about fun stuff like decorating the nursery, places you want to go for stroller walks after the baby is born, etc.

In my workouts that I post in my forum, I do mix up the workouts with strokes, drills, kicking, build sets, descend sets, moderate sets, vertical kick sets, etc. I write 3 levels of workouts - ranging from 2200 yards up to 4500 yards. You don't have to do my workouts exactly as written - you can always alter them to your preference or shorten them if needed.

If you have any specific questions, please let me know!

Happy Swimming-through-Pregnancy!
--Coach Danielle