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Is it safe to swim for exercise while pregnant?

Swimming is a wonderful way for pregnant women to exercise, and it's generally considered very safe. But check with your doctor or midwife before you take the plunge.

If you swam consistently before you got pregnant, you should be able to continue. If you didn't exercise at all, you should still be able to swim now — you'll just need to start slowly. Do some gentle stretching beforehand, do a few warm-up and cool down laps, and don't overexert. You'll learn how to work out at the appropriate intensity by listening to your body.

The water itself poses no risk to you or your baby: Research hasn't found any health hazards for healthy pregnant women from the bacteria, chlorine, or other chemicals in pools. But do skip the hot tub and sauna, as overheating can hamper the development of a growing fetus, according to various studies.

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