Exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight, reduces the risks of heart attack, stroke, other cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer.  It boosts mood and reduces depression through the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that make you feel happy and well, as well as other mechanisms.  Exercising during pregnancy is a good idea for all these reasons and more; it is often stated that people who physically fit tend to have a better pregnancy and labour because their heart, lungs and muscles are stronger and more able to cope with the extra work.  Unfortunately many women are concerned about the safety of exercising during pregnancy.

Is Swimming A Good Form Of Exercise During Pregnancy

Is Exercise Safe During Pregnancy?

A study from October 1998 published in the American Journal of Public Health found that exercise is safe during pregnancy in normal circumstances and that women who exercised vigorously were more likely to continue their pregnancies to full term.  It is important, however, for women to check with their doctor or midwife before undertaking a vigorous exercise programme, although during a normal healthy pregnancy it would be unlikely that a health practitioner would advise against it.  In certain circumstances, for example in placenta previa or when there is a higher than average risk of premature labour vigorous exercise is not recommended so it always worth checking first.  If you did not exercise regularly before you were pregnant it is unwise to start an intensive programme when you become pregnant.  Start gently and build up slowly; avoid overdoing it.

What Type Of Exercise Is Best During Pregnancy?

Swimming is an ideal form of exercise whilst pregnant and there are many reasons for this.  The first is that it is important to avoid overheating as there are risks involved because the unborn baby is unable to regulate it’s own temperature.  Swimming is one of the few forms of exercise where it is very difficult to become overheated, as long as the pool water is not too hot.  If you swim often or for prolonged periods of time it is of benefit to wear swimming ear plugs to prevent swimmer’s ear.  Antibacterial ear plugs are more effective as they actively kill the bacteria which cause swimmer’s ear.  It is worth protecting yourself against ear infections in order to avoid needing to take antibiotics when you are pregnant.

Why Is Swimming Better Than Other Forms Of Exercise During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy the hormone relaxin causes relaxation of the maternal ligaments; this is to allow the pelvic bones to move and aid passage of the baby into the outside world, but it can also lead to instability during walking and running making the mother more likely to fall, particularly during the later stages of pregnancy.  Any activity which increases the risk of falling should be avoided due to the risk of trauma to the unborn baby.  Swimming is ideal in this situation as the body is floating in the water so the pelvis and hips are supported, any discomfort during movement is reduced and exercise is made easier.

Many women are uncomfortable during the third trimester due the size and position of their pregnant bump.  Breasts are often engorged and tender.  Swimming is usually more comfortable than jogging or other forms of exercise because of the support offered by the water which stops the breasts and abdomen bouncing and causing discomfort whilst exercising.  The chlorine in the water is safe and won’t harm your baby.


Swimming is an excellent form of exercise during pregnancy.  It has many advantages over other forms; you are less likely to become overheated, your body is supported and more comfortable, you are at lower risk of injury from falling and you will benefit from the reduction in cardiovascular disease and obesity.  Just make sure you wear your ear plugs to protect yourself against swimmer’s ear.


Author Bio: Dr Toby Bateson is an Emergency Room Doctor as well as being the MD of ZenPlugs and the inventor of the ZenPlugs Molded Ear Plug System.  He lives in Cornwall, UK with his wife and two small children.  His website is at www.zenplugs.com.

Many women experience swelling and pain in the legs during the pregnancy period, most commonly in the third trimester of pregnancy. In fact, an estimated 75 percent of women are affected by swelling of the legs, which can be concerning, and at times, irritating too.

Pregnancy foot

Before you freak out, understand that this condition is easily preventable, and taking just a few simple steps will help keep you at bay from swelling of the legs and help you enjoy and savor every moment of your pregnancy period. Read on to find answers to some commonly asked questions and some great tips to help keep your feet swelling-free.

Are swollen feet a sign of a serious problem?

Swelling of the feet is a common problem for women, especially for those in their second and third trimester of pregnancy- according to the Mayo Clinic, due to the pressure of the uterus that’s growing, the return of blood from your feet and legs may becomes difficult, and may leave you with swollen and painful legs.

There may be several other reasons that may contribute to foot swelling during pregnancy- the University of Maryland Medical Center points out at how temperature and weather changes may also be responsible for changes to your feet, and may be the cause of shape and size changes during pregnancy.

Swollen feet, however, are not always linked to minor pregnancy changes- they may also occur due to more serious conditions. Pregnancy-induced hypertension, also known as preeclampsia, which occurs in around 10 percent of pregnant women, can lead to excessive swelling of hands, feet and the face. Proper bed rest is recommended to women suffering from preeclampsia. If left untreated, it may lead to development of complications, including weakened nervous system, kidney problems etc., which may turn severe for both the mother and the baby.

Why exactly do feet swell?

Swelling of the foot may be due to different reasons, even during pregnancy. Some women experience foot swelling due to the release of the hormone Relaxin, which causes ligaments of the foot to stretch out and lax, which makes the foot appear as though it is growing.

Swollen feet during pregnancy may also be due to water retention- to provide liquid for the development of the baby and to regulate blood flow, the body requires more fluid, which causes water retention and therefore foot swelling. This type of swelling occurs most commonly in the third trimester of pregnancy, and causes the foot to spread, making it look wider.

Weight gain during pregnancy may be yet another reason behind the swelling of the feet- to absorb the extra weight during pregnancy; your foot may stretch and widen, and then swell with extra pressure.

Women experiencing foot swelling during pregnancy may have different experiences- some may notice their foot size getting slightly larger, while for some it may increase to a whole size permanently. Some 25 percent of women are lucky enough to not experience foot swelling at all!

Is foot swelling during pregnancy permanent?

Foot swelling that occurs during pregnancy usually goes away after childbirth; however, in some cases, the foot swelling, which causes the feet to grow one shoe size larger, may remain permanent.

Dr Albreski adds how pregnancy is a crucial period not just for the reproductive system, but also for the feet, since the weight gain in pregnancy puts an extra pressure on the feet. He also notes how many a times, pregnant women do come with a complaint regarding an inflammation of the foot called plantar fasciitis, it is usually temporary.

Plantar fasciitis is basically a common foot problem, especially noticed in women over the age of 40 years. It is characterized by pain which occurs due to weakening of a thick band of tissue on the bottom of the foot, which usually acts as a shock absorber for the body.

How can I ease foot swelling and pain?

Foot swelling and pain, regardless of whether it occurs during a pregnancy or due to strain from standing or walking, can be best treated by taking good bed rest. Wearing good, supportive shoes that cushion the foot during standing and lessen the strain on the foot is recommended. Avoid wearing open sandals and flip flops- they are the worst footwear choices when it comes to pregnancy. Avoid wearing high heeled and tight shoes.

Pregnant women, who experience flattening of the arch of the foot, which leads to pain in the heel, foot and arch, can benefit by wearing ready-made orthotic inserts.

Choosing a good pair of socks is of importance too! Avoid wearing socks that are too tight as they encourage swelling. Also use breathable cotton socks that promote circulation. Cut off your toenails every week and remove calluses with a pumice stone. Moisturize your feet regularly and drink good amounts of water every day to prevent water retention and therefore swelling. Do simple foot exercises to improve the flexibility of your feet and take good rest, especially during pregnancy.

Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Case School of Medicine and University Hospitals of Cleveland, Dr Marjorie Greenfield, has also suggested following these simple tips to prevent foot swelling and pain during pregnancy.

  • Swim/immerse your body in a cool bath- this will reduce swelling
  • Lie on your left side or elevate your feet while sitting
  • Avoid consumption of very salty and spicy foods

How do I pamper my feet during pregnancy?

Pregnancy doesn’t have to be hard on your body; infant, it’s your time to get some much-needed pampering. Follow these simple tips to pamper your feet during pregnancy.

  • Soak your foot in Epsom-salt baths- they help reduce swelling and tension in the foot.
  • Trim your toenails regularly
  • Moisturize your feet every day
  • If sitting for longer durations of time, use a short stool to elevate your feet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Drink lots of water and follow a healthy, nutritious diet.

This article is supported by SimplyFeet, a foot-care products specialist based in UK. Their motto is to provide superior comfort alongside strong support with Orthaheel shoes for women, the ideal product for would be mothers with sore feet.

Image courtesy of satit_srihin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There are a large number of people who abstain from eating fish for a number of reasons. Some find making fish dishes a cumbersome affair while some others feel they can obtain protein from animal meat sources as well. However, the species of fish and shell fish offer a number of health benefits. Apart from protein, fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It helps in fighting age-related macular degeneration.

The Omega-3 fatty acids including DHA and EPA help to prevent cardiovascular diseases. These healthy fats go a long way in fighting heart arrhythmia which is known as the main cause of sudden cardiac collapse. The healthy fats may also help in stroke prevention. Pregnant women also gain from eating fish during pregnancy. In the early stage of infancy the pregnant women should intake 8 ounces of seafood per week. If they do, their kids are likely to have better visual and cognitive development.

Fish is also beneficial for older adults. They can preserve bone density better by consuming fish regularly. The studies conducted suggest that the presence of various oils in fish help the bone sin human body from losing mass. The American Heart Association says that people should take two servings of fish per week.

The proponents of fish rich diet say that people can pick and choose from various types of fish available. It is easiest to eat canned salmon and tuna. Those who cannot stand the strong flavors of some fish species can try mild flavored ones. The species like salmon and Pacific mackerel are rich in healthy fats.

A review of nearly 50 research papers conducted over almost half a million people has found that people following Mediterranean diet have less chances of developing various heart ailments compared with others who follow traditional meals. This is not a new discovery as such. The doctors said earlier that diet rich in fruit, fish, fresh vegetables and olive oil help the followers fight heart diseases better than people consuming meat and dairy products. The new study has been published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The researchers analyzed the effects of Mediterranean diet on disorders like diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure.

The study says a Mediterranean diet helps fighting metabolic syndrome in the followers. The lowering of cardiac diseases risk is contributed to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the ingredients f the diet. Demosthenes Panagiotakos the lead researcher said “To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first work that has systematically assessed, through a large meta-analysis, the role of the Mediterranean diet on metabolic syndrome and its components. Our results add to the existing knowledge, and further demonstrate the protective role and the significance that lifestyle factors, and mainly dietary habits, have when it comes to the development and progression of the metabolic syndrome.”

Another study indicates that children whose mothers eat poorly during pregnancy can develop Type 2 diabetes when they grow up. The popular Mediterranean diet does not recommend frequent drinking and restricts intake of red meat to two times a month.

It seems that the age old saying on apples is true. A new research suggests that eating Apple everyday do wonders for your heart and it really keeps the doctor away. It is applicable to women at least. The study found that women taking dried apples everyday a year were able to lower their cholesterol level including the harmful LDL cholesterol. The findings of the study have created a sensation in the health community. Apple consumption by women also boosts the levels of good HDL cholesterol in their system found the research.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says a lot of foods can impact the cholesterol level in human body. While foods with trans fats and saturated fats can hike your cholesterol levels, the foods with healthier fats like Olive oil can reduce your cholesterol level. The researchers wanted to assess the long term impact of Apple consumption on people’s cardiovascular health.

The researchers took 160 women in the age range of 45 to 65 for this purpose. The researchers found out that women who took dried apple each day witnessed a 14 percent drop in their total cholesterol. The women also had lower levels of lipid hydroperoxide and C-reactive protein, two substances that often lead to cardiac disease. Even though dried apple contains several hundred calories the women did not put on weight. They lost some flab on the contrary.

Jessica Shapiro a dietician said “Apples really are an amazing fruit for many reasons. A large reason apples are so good is the fiber. Apples have both soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble is found more in the skin, and the pulp is more soluble fiber.” Apples also enrich body with antioxidants and other healthy ingredients. However, she thinks that fresh apple offer more health benefits over dried apples.

Welcome to thepregnancycare.com. This is a health and pregnancy related website. Here you can find suggestions and advice relating to health, fitness and pregnancy care.