Benefits of Aquatic Therapy for Pregnant Women

Benefits of Aquatic Therapy for Pregnant Women
By Amy McClaskey, PTA

If you are an expectant mother in need of a low-impact way to exercise without increasing pain, our aquatic therapy program could be a great solution for you! Aquatic therapy is a popular form of exercise for people with various conditions, but it’s a great low-impact recreational therapy that women can turn to for easing pregnancy pain, too!

Here is a summary of the benefits:
⦁    It's safe since you're in water and buoyant – allowing for positions that may be uncomfortable or put you and/or baby at risk.
⦁    May help to reduce swelling in legs, ankles and feet.
⦁    Helps to improve your posture and body awareness in and out of the water.
⦁    It's relaxing and stress-reducing.
⦁    Provides pain relief from aching muscles/joints.
⦁    Sessions are held at Eagle Pointe Place (Dubuque) in heated pools at safe temperatures for pregnancy

Safer exercising 
Ligaments have increased laxity during pregnancy, which can lead to considerable pain while performing traditional exercises. It can also make pregnant women prone to injury during regular workouts. Aquatic therapy relieves some of the excess stress on the ligaments. It also provides a safer environment for exercising, as there's no risk of falling.

May reduce some pregnancy side effects
One of the most common side effects women experience during pregnancy is swollen ankles, legs, and feet. The water pressure from aquatic therapy can help boost circulation and thus decrease some of the swelling. It allows pregnant women to experience less discomfort in their extremities.

It's relaxing!
Women struggle with weight gain during pregnancy, both physically and psychologically. Aquatic therapy offers a weightless sensation that can help temporarily alleviate such struggles. That feeling of weightlessness alone creates a relaxing experience, especially for women further along in their pregnancy. 

Pregnant women may feel reduced pressure on their spine and joints during aquatic therapy. When done consistently, this form of exercise can also strengthen the muscles without putting the body through pain.

Provides pain relief
By improving circulation, reducing swelling, and minimizing stress, aquatic therapy provides significant pain-relieving effects. Constant muscle strengthening and stretching, without the added bodyweight, prepares women for additional weight gain. Additionally, because of the hydrostatic pressure's efficiency, aquatic therapy provides benefits that last much longer than the effects of using traditional compression garments.

An alternative therapy that works
Aquatic therapy is uniquely ideal for pregnant women. However, that doesn't mean it's as easy as jumping in a pool and moving around. For it to work, it's always best to seek professional guidance from one of our providers and follow a dedicated program that caters specifically to your needs.

Our Physical Therapy Assistant, Amy McClaskey, is certified in aquatic therapy for pregnant women and would love to help you find the perfect way to stay active and alleviate some of your pregnancy ailments. Call 563-583-4003, option 3, to schedule your session(s) with Amy!

Sources: Amy McClaskey, PTA, and the National Institute of Health